Saturday, June 11, 2011

Street Harassment, Pixie Cuts, Fighting Hate, and Joan of Arc

Growing up, I always had long hair. Like, super long. Like, down to my baby-ass long. It was something of a trademark, my hair: trailing behind me melodramatically as I threw a hissy fit; what I gnawed on nervously while filling out a long-division worksheet; the bane of my existence. Until I reached high school, when I somehow talked a Supercuts stylist into hacking it into a respectable bob, I always had long hair. Even as an adult, I have, for the most part, kept my hair relatively long. That is, until two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago, I hacked off more than fourteen inches of hair—which I donated to locks of love—and had my mane snipped into a flattering pixie cut. My new cut is cute. It’s feminine. It has allowed me to become reacquainted with the Goody barrettes I’ve not used since the mid-eighties. Long story long, I loves it.

What has come as a shock, in addition to feeling the wind on my scalp, have been some of the anonymous—and offensive—remarks made by some men folk around town. Shouts of “Lesbian!” “Lesbo!” “Queer!” and “Faggot!” to be specific; ugly words when used in the pejorative; hateful when not uttered as part of discursive reclamation. Granted, I don’t live amongst society’s cream of the crop—heck, I don’t live among the cream of the crop of NASCAR fans—so it is hard to take any “slight” from these Rhodes Scholars to heart. None the less I was annoyed for a few of reasons.

First: I was annoyed that in the twenty-first century, some moronic fools still feel as though it is acceptable to use homophobic slurs against someone. Homophobia is as bad as racism, which is bad as sexism, which is as bad as able-ism. You’re not making this straight-lady ally feel bad about herself when you say things like that—you’re just proving yourself to be heinously ignorant.

Second: I was annoyed that by virtue of being a woman, on a public sidewalk, with a hairstyle, I was somehow open to verbal assault. Unless I know you or I kicked your grandmother in the throat, there really isn’t a reason to shout at me in the street; if you want to yell at me, do it to my face so I can pepper spray you.

Third: Having short hair does not make me a lesbian, just as having a tan doesn’t make me a Latina. Only ignorant, pathetic cowards believe they can make snap judgments about you whilst speeding forty miles an hour in the opposite direction.

So, in summation: Street harassment and homophobic slurs are muy no bueno. Just because someone is on a public street with a funky hairstyle doesn’t mean that they are asking to be yelled at, nor is it an invitation to show others how close-minded, ignorant, and cowardly you are. Snap judgments, in addition to being ill-informed, are best kept to one’s lame-ass self.

Final thought: Not unlike Joan of Arc, with short hair, I, too can kick some ass.