Hair and Presentation

Questions and discussions about gender, gender roles and identity.
Sam W
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Re: Hair and Presentation

Unread postby Sam W » Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:05 am

Hi Raffles,

Ugh, how frustrating! I will say that some people really do seem to hang their gendering of people on, like, one feature, which can be super annoying if you're trying to signal your gender in other ways. With keeping your hair short, are you worried about the validity in terms of your own feelings about your gender? Or is it more that if you grow it out, you're worried people will point to that as "proof" you aren't how you say you are?

Raffles
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Re: Hair and Presentation

Unread postby Raffles » Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:40 pm

A little bit of both, I think. A part of me says that I should be happier and never want long hair again if I were really agender (which I know isn't true). The other part of me is definitely worried that people will be even less willing to see me as an agender person if I have long hair again.

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Re: Hair and Presentation

Unread postby Mo » Fri Nov 20, 2020 5:18 pm

One thing that can be so hard about trying to create gender (or lack-of-gender) cues through presentation is that there's no way to know what cues any particular person will notice or focus on, or how they will interpret them. One person might have a very different read on your gender depending on how long your hair is or how it's styled, while another might be making assumptions about your gender based on other factors entirely. I think if someone's determined to disrespect your identity and look for "proof" that you're making it up (or whatever gross thing they're going to say), they will do it no matter what your hair looks like. People like that will latch onto something like hair or clothes as an excuse to be jerks, but they're just excuses; in the end if you change your hair they'll just choose something else to point to as a "reason" to invalidate your identity.
Is there a way to wear your hair that feels best or most affirming to you, aside from how anyone else reacts to it?

Raffles
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Re: Hair and Presentation

Unread postby Raffles » Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:43 pm

That's a very good point.

I think part of the problem is that I'm not sure what I want to look like. I really don't think I'll know what I want until after I have it, which is time consuming. I'm trying to enjoy experimentation, but I'd really love to get to a point where I feel like I'm affirming my own identity through my presentation, if that makes sense.

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Re: Hair and Presentation

Unread postby Alexa » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:09 am

Hey Raffles,

I hear that. I feel like I'm always chasing the appearance I think I want for myself -- and once I settle on an aesthetic, I've already outgrown it and have to keep evolving. Every time you learn something about your presentation -- even when it's something you don't like -- you're a little bit closer! I hope you find that overall, you get closer to something that feels like an authentic presentation with time.

Do you feel you're closer now than you have been in the past? Not just the immediate past, but over the course of your whole self-discovery journey thus far?
Alexa K.
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Raffles
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Location: Southwestern USA

Re: Hair and Presentation

Unread postby Raffles » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:45 am

Looking back, it's kind of funny. Up until about 7th grade, I was a super happy kid and happy with how I presented. I identified as "tomboy," wore exclusively t-shirts and boy's shorts/pants. I had long hair that I rarely brushed, but insisted that it stay long. As I got to later middle school and high school, I felt a lot of pressure to conform and wanted to be feminine.

I'm pretty lost now in terms of what I want to look like, and it doesn't really help that my wardrobe is mostly from high school. I feel incredibly guilty about buying clothes and feel weird about buying clothes without first being able to try them on because pandemic.

So I guess I'm not all the much closer? I think that trying to change it has made me realize how far away I am and how confused I am, if that makes sense. I think a lot of my presentation preferences are complicated by how I am perceived because my dysphoria is pretty much entirely social.

Sam W
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Re: Hair and Presentation

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:21 am

I feel you on the feeling weird about getting new clothes thing. I only just got rid of the last thing in my wardrobe that was from a high school (which I have not been in for over a decade) a few months ago. I wonder if it might help to think of new clothes as an investment in your well-being, since (ideally) they'd help you be perceived correctly by others and feel more at home in your own presentation.

This may sound a little silly, but sometimes using things like Pinterest to collect images can help you figure out what styles or clothes you're interested in trying. It's a low-stakes way of window shopping and noticing patterns in what you like.


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