With the shutdown of hair salons amid COVID, I decided to allow my grey hair to grow out and embrace female aging. I had just enough confidence to make this decision, but not enough to know my value as a human being would not dissolve.
Surprisingly, I’m happy to report that 6 months & 3 inches later, I feel no less valuable.
I developed a grey patch of hair when I was 11 and have been dying it every 3.5 weeks for more than 20 years. I’ve spent over 2000 hours dying my hair.
As a child, so I wouldn’t get made fun of. As a teen and in my 20s so I’d feel conventionally attractive to potential partners, and now in my 30s out of fear of premature age discrimination that disproportionately impacts females.
A landmark study by 3 economists in 2015 found women are more likely to experience age discrimination at younger ages than men. This notably happens around 40. A woman’s ability to reproduce should not be a factor in employability. nber.org/papers/w21669.…
In my late 20s, I moved back to San Francisco from New York and had a female coworker around my age with grey hair. It was the first time I noticed a woman confidently own her premature greying (aging) and I was shocked. I had never even considered the option to not dye my hair.
I’m grateful to this woman who was one of my first role models for gracefully aging naturally. Importantly, I’m empowered and stand on the foundation built by body positivity thought leaders — @bodyposipanda, @jamilajameel, and many others.
I’m lucky to have a supportive & loving partner who says my grey hair “looks cool” and believes I shouldn’t have to apply carcinogens to my head to look a certain way. nih.gov/news-events/ne…
Even so, every morning when I brush my teeth, I look in the mirror and cringe. My insecurities take over my thoughts, and I consider dying my hair. But every morning I decide against it, for 2 reasons:
1. I want my young niece to grow up seeing a woman confidently own her aging. I never personally knew a female who didn’t cover her grey hair growing up. To me, feminism means choice, and I want every little girl to know she has the choice to age naturally.
2. I can dye my hair today and then what happens in 3.5 weeks when the grey starts showing again? And 3.5 weeks after that? And every 3.5 weeks for the rest of my life? Too many lost hours to fighting a losing battle of upholding unrealistic beauty standards.
Lastly, thank you to @heylauragao and @sbadalich for demonstrating the power of honesty and vulnerability on Twitter. I wouldn't have been able to share these thoughts without your inspiration!
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