Thank you everyone for your comments to yesterday's posts. It's clear that many of us see or have felt the peer pressure of the die-hards at the long hair forums. All of us who have or want to have long, healthy hair need to educate ourselves on the dangers of various methods or treatments, or we might be where I was before I joined LHC. Before LHC, I was blow-drying, heat styling and colouring, and I always had to cut my hair once it got below APL, because it would just be too thin and broken, and often I had a lot of split ends.
So don't get me wrong, I was not complaining about the Long Hair Community. I love the place. They have given me so much advice and support. Sometimes though, a vocal few make it seem as though there is only one "right way" and for a new member, it can be hard to see past that. I think some of that stems from the fact that people who make the less popular choices are quiet about it.
I just believe that once we are educated, we need to decide for ourselves what is going to be best for us. In my case, I know I'm sacrificing what could be a longer ultimate length by colouring my hair. However, thanks to LHC knowledge, I make other healthy choices that keep my coloured hair the best it can be.
Ideally, that's what a support forum should be; a place to get the information we need, but to be able to then make our own choices once we have the information and still feel supported.
Well, I suppose that if I were to get a perm on top of my hair colour and then use a curling iron every day, I would get little support, but if I were doing all of those things, I would have to know that I would not be having healthy long hair. I don't even know if I would have healthy chin length hair if I did all those things.
Just when I was feeling a bit frustrated yesterday by a yet another new member feeling apologetic over a hair choice, again thinking that there was only one way to grow long hair, I was frustrated once again by the media.
Yesterday on the Today show, there was a topic about long hair on older women. It was inspired by the article from the New York Times that I cited last week. The author of that article was on the segment as well as a "hairdresser to the stars", interviewed by Meredith Vieira.
I don't ordinarily watch that show, but I did get a link from LHC and watched the segment.
It was a 2-part piece, first with a two-minute packaged report that was all about older women wearing longer hair these days. The rest of the segment was a live discussion hosted by Meredith Viera. One of the guests was the author of the New York times article, who is 56 with long salt and pepper hair. The other guest was a hairstylist who agrees that times are changing and older women often look good with longer hair.
It was meant to be a positive piece about long hair on older women. I think. At least it started that way. The woman from the Times talked about her experiences and her conviction to wearing long hair. The hairstylist noted that many women have a softer look when their hair is longer.
However, things began to change. The hairstylist made it clear that by long hair, she meant hair that is no longer than collarbone length. She also made it clear that some sort of face framing layers are a must for older women. Finally, she said that grey hair and long hair do not go together. In fact I think she was against grey hair at all, to be honest.
There was also a very strong hint that in order to wear even the "acceptable" length of long hair for older women, we must be physically fit and not overweight. Well, currently I'm about 20 pounds overweight, which I'm not happy about, and if I cut off my hair and went for a short cut, I'd really be feeling bad about myself.
So in short, according to this expert, women who want long hair in middle age can have long hair, but only if we satisfy certain conditions.
You can see the Today show segment here, as long as it's still up and running.
I was so delighted by that article last week, but not so delighted by that TV segment. Is there ever going to be a day when an expert will come out and say that women should just wear our hair in the way that makes us feel beautiful? Is there ever going to be a day when society just accepts and respects individual style? I don't know, but if I ever hear tell of it, I'll let you know.
'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.