Emma González and the Power of the Female Buzz Cut

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A woman shaves her hair, and the world pays attention. It's a choice that still prompts all the questions, no matter how inappropriate those questions are. Why did you do it? What does it mean? How do you feel? That's because hair is powerful. The way we present ourselves says something about how we’re feeling inside, so we ascribe meaning to such a striking choice, especially when it challenges traditional gender norms.

As Rose McGowan explained in her recently released book Brave, which features an image of the actress shaving her head on the cover, a buzz cut was her “battle cry” against sexist stereotypes. "I broke up with the Hollywood ideal, the one that I had a part in playing,” she wrote. "The ideal version of a woman that is sold to you by every actress in every hair commercial telling you, 'this the secret to being beguiling, the secret to getting a man to want you.' Long, glossy Kardashian-esque hair that says, ‘f*ck me, big boy.' As if that's all we are and all we can be. Hair. Hair is what I broke up with.”

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In a similar act of resistance, Sinéad O'Connor revealed that after record executives told her she’d look “much prettier” with long hair, she walked into a barber shop to shave it all off.

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“People asked me, ‘Are you taking a feminist stand’? No, I wasn’t. It’s Florida. Hair is just an extra sweater I’m forced to wear,” González revealed in an interview.

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Despite her no-nonsense reasoning, Gonzalez clearly recognizes the visual power of the cut. In a recent Twitter post, she wrote, “When you got work to do but your hair's gettin too long #StonemanStrong #BaldiesGetTheJobDone #MarchForOurLives,” alongside a video of her shaving her head with clippers.

A buzz cut just a haircut. Yes, it is utilitarian, a no-frills style that means business. For a woman, such practicality can be revolutionary.

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