I Cut My Hair Down To Two Inches And Was Reminded How Much My Family Believes In Gender Norms

Up until I was 16, my hair was always longer than shoulder length. Even though I wanted to cut my hair short, it was my mom’s rule that I wait until after my quinceañera because she was afraid I wouldn’t look pretty in the pictures.

So, like an obedient daughter, I respected her and asked her to book my hair appointment after my quinceañera. However, what my mom didn’t know was how short I was planning to cut my hair.

Just a few months after my quince my mom took me to get my haircut. Instead of cutting off only 3 inches like she expected, I cut it like this:

CREDIT: JESSICA V. GARCIA

As I was getting my haircut, the hairstylist kept asking me if I was sure that I wanted her to keep going shorter.

CREDIT: Julie Weingard via Giphy

She was probably more nervous than I was. She kept reminding me that it would take months for my hair to grow back and that once she cut it there was no going back. Despite her hesitation, I told her I was positive about the haircut and she proceeded.

My mom’s first reaction was, “Oh no, está muy corto,” which was then followed by my dad’s remark: “Pareces niño.”

CREDIT: JESSICA V. GARCIA

My parents, along with my grandparents, began to joke around that I looked like my brother. They would call me by my brother’s name to tease me and would tell me, “Pareces niño” every chance they got.

These types of comments were also made toward my brother every time he let his hair grow out. I kept hearing them tell him, “Córtate el pelo porque te pareces a una niña.” Although this was only a joke in the eyes of my family, the repetition of this phrase reinforced rigid gender norms, specifically in regard to hair.

To my family it was the norm for women to have long hair in order to look beautiful and for men to have short hair in order to appear masculine.

Although my family didn’t find my haircut to be feminine and beautiful, I owned it and I even went shorter.

CREDIT: JESSICA V. GARCIA

At the time I was the only girl in my family to have hair that short, but now my younger cousins are getting short haircuts too and they love it. Perhaps to them I looked like a “niño,” but I felt good — as every girl should with long or short or even no hair.

Just do you, boo. ??✨

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