Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lorde + Gender

I shouldn't be writing this late, but hey, that's what insomniacs do. I recently finished planning my class for tomorrow morning, and then I gogo danced three high-energy songs because I felt guilty about eating a cheeseburger for dinner and not exercising today. The cheeseburger was supposed to be a reward for eating healthy so far this week, but now I just feel bad about it. Maybe I can (further) associate my irrational anxiety regarding cardiovascular diseases with unhealthy foods and then I'll eat only good things all the time. Maybe that sounds eerily like a recipe for an eating disorder and I've just creeped myself out and I'll stop with this subject now. Cheeseburgers are delicious. Delicious, I tell you!

What I really wanted to write about was how Joe and I went to see Lorde Tuesday evening! For the uninitiated, Lorde is a 17-year-old New Zealand singer who is fabuzarre. This is a portmanteau I have created specifically to describe Lorde, since no regular adjective will do. Her music reminds me of Lana Del Rey mixed with The Postal Service. Basically her entire record is my jam right now, especially "White Teeth Teens" and "400 Lux." You should check it out.

Anyway, the concert was at The Cosmopolitan, at their flashy rooftop pool venue. Just about as over-the-top Vegas as you can get. She was fantastic--I want her to teach me all her dance moves. And her voice was perfect. Unfortunately, the crowd was not. Many people were simply there to get wasted on top of The Cosmopolitan, and it seemed they either didn't know who Lorde was or actively disliked her. There was a lot of slurred shouting, a lot of stumbling/falling women in heels.

I don't mean to suggest I had a bad time. On the contrary--it was blissful. The weather was idyllic, the music was lovely, the neon was glittering. Joe and I took a picture that, at least according to Facebook likes and comments, appears to have reached the equivalent personal, non-famous level of the now-infamous Ellen Oscars Selfie. (What can I say? We're beautiful people.) I love live music. It makes me happy. I just wish the rest of the crowd had loved live music, too.

The other thing I wanted to write about is my haircut.

That's a picture from over winter break. (Me rocking late-90's-chic with the lovely Ashley and the lovely Meg.) I chose this one because it was right after I got a haircut, so my hair was at its shortest in recent memory. Incidentally, this was also my favorite cut in recent memory.

I've been getting my hair cut (both in Chicago before I left and in Vegas) at the Aveda Institute. (The cut in the picture above was actually from a salon in Gurnee.) Generally I would recommend their services to anyone. The students I've encountered in both locations have been friendly and professional, your business gives the students an opportunity to practice their hair cutting and styling skills, and because they're students, it's far cheaper than an average salon. Everyone wins.

The thing is, they never want to cut my hair short enough.

Initially I thought this was because they were students. I can imagine that if you're in the process of learning, you might be afraid that you'll cut it too short and then your client will be angry. However, this doesn't hold up. First, there are instructors running all over the place; if a student doesn't feel confident enough to complete a certain cut, the instructor will do it and show them how. Second, they have to learn to cut men's hair as well, so they can't be too terribly unfamiliar with pixie cuts.

I'm beginning to suspect that it might unconsciously have to do with gender. This morning when I was getting my hair cut, I asked them to take my bangs a little shorter, and the instructor snapped, "I think that's a good length for you." Then, when she was showing the student how to cut the back of my hair, she said, "be sure to cut it this way so it looks nice and feminine." These comments made me uncomfortable.

If I wanted my hair to look traditionally feminine, I wouldn't have chopped it all off in the first place. I chopped it off because I was moving to a hot place. I chopped it off because I'm lazy--it's far easier to get ready in the morning this way. Most importantly: I chopped it off because I think it looks fucking sexy that way. I love how I look with short hair. I don't think the hairstylists were actively judging me for getting rid of my fertility markers or anything ridiculous like that. I think it's simply an example of how gender norms are still ingrained in society, an example of why we still need feminism.

Okay. Time to turn off critical brain. I need to sleep. G'night.

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