Being a woman with short hair in Pakistan is not an easy task. I remember the first time I decided to chop my mid-back length hair, I was terrified. While an average person would think that getting a hair cut should not be that big of a deal, but not in desi households.
Raise your hands if you’ve had long discussions with your parents seeking permission to get a haircut
My problem was that from mid-back length, I was going with a pixie cut. Imagine the horror on the faces of my parents, the pure and utter disappointment as if I was a villain from one of those Hum Tv serials, plotting the demise of a family.
Btw, I’m sure you know that’s Iqra Aziz and not me. Just trying to highlight the haircut difference here. She also recently underwent this major transformation and had to actually justify getting her hair shorter
So while I was deciding whether or not to get the haircut, I was also going over a couple of different excuses that I could tell my parents that would make them scold me less. Here are the list of excuses I came up with:
- It was for a group project. We wanted to experiment how people react to women with shorter hair.
- The barber just cut them this short. I asked him for shoulder length hair, but you know how they want to experiment and don’t listen to the customer.
- The third was actually a feasible idea. I was talking to my brother a few days before this adventure and he told me that he had donated his hair for cancer patients, which is why he was supporting the bald look in those days.
That really struck a chord. If the hair that I want cut can actually be used, what more could I want? I started looking for such ventures in Pakistan. I came across Wigs for Cancer Patients and contacted them right away
However, they only worked in Karachi. So the only option I had was to simply get the haircut and face everyone in the world
I never thought that shorter hair would be that big a deal. BUT, I was wrong. Here are all the weird things that I had to put up with after the transformation.
1. “Tum aik buri musalmaan ho”
This is the favourite and easiest target for anyone who does not approve of anything that you are up to. Instead of saying that they don’t personally agree with the choice, they will bring up highly personal religious beliefs in between.
2. “Maa baap ki izzat ke baaray mein socha hai?”
People will look at you and think that your hair represents your family’s honour. Let’s put aside all the individual achievements and talk about how hair is a measure of izzat in this day and age.
3. “Tarbiyat mein koi kami reh gai ho gi”
This one is an aunty favourite. Hair = tarbiyat by maa baap.
4. “Koi emo phase hai kya yeh?”
Are you ok? People usually cut their hair when they are depressed. They remember the Britney Spears break down phase and quickly associate shorter haircut with that.
5. “Break up hua hai kya tumhara?”
A haircut represents a fresh start and that fresh start can only come after a break up. Right!
6. “Larki kharab ho gai hai”
If she can get her hair shorter, she can do anything. Loose character definitely!
7. “Lesbian ho kya?”
This was definitely a shocker for me. While a haircut might be a statement for some, it is not something which should be generalized. And someone’s sexuality is a highly personal matter, don’t understand why people would ask this blatantly.
8. “Tum toh full tomboy ho abb, bro scene yaar”
Repeat after me, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A TOM BOY.
9. “Phir bhi, hua kya tha?”
Just needed a simple haircut, sorry.
10. “Feminist ho bari, hain?”
Feminists don’t have attire or haircut specifications, I’m sure. Anyone can be a feminist, even guys.
11. “Dost ki shaadi aa rahi hai. Haw haey, tumharay toh baal baray chotay hain. Kya karo gi?”
Will attend the wedding like everyone else. Easy!
12. “Larkiyon ko larki lagna chahiay. Lambay baal hi achay lagtay hain larkiyon pe”
If people cannot differentiate a woman from a man then a trip to the eye specialist is a must.
Here’s a video of Iqra Aziz talking about her experience after the hair cut
Same was the case with model, Eman Suleman. She also felt that she took a major leap of faith by cutting her hair short
I detested my long hair, I felt as if it was consuming all of my energy. I wanted it gone, but every time someone would convince me otherwise. ‘It’s psychological,’ they explained. ‘You won’t get any work,’ or ‘have you lost your mind,’ they said. So I kept it, for a very long time, even though I didn’t want it, I kept it. What I hated more than my long hair was the lack of control I had over my body (had kya, have) something as little as getting my hair cut. Anyhow, yesterday, I woke up and thought, you know what, screw your beauty standards (but not all, because I adhere to most of them). I booked a careem, which ended up at a different location, far from my house, so I cancelled it and was charged 150 rupees, (this is a recurring problem that needs mentioning) booked another one which thankfully arrived at the right location, then I went to this wonderful old man a friend had suggested. I fell in love with him, the instant I saw him. I think it must’ve been his floral shirt, high waisted loose blue jeans and a big buckled belt to keep those high waisted loose blue jeans from falling. He was sexy. And so, I saw him, I fell in love with him and I told him, ‘do what you must,’ and so he did and Taadaa. I think I look lovely. Everything about this caption seems wrong, khair, jo bhi. ALSO, the mystery hair dresser told me not to reveal his name on instagram, he’s too old and tired. However, he did say I can give his number to a selective group of people. Hmmm.
Let us know if you’ve had similar experiences in the comments below.
Cover image via: woman.rambler.ru