About Marianne: My blog ADVENTURES IN THE BALLPARK is not a blog about baseball. Although in my life, there is an outfield, a dugout, and a concession stand (stocked with Skinny Cow treats.) My last name is Ball, and my life often feels like a game, so I write about the wins and losses, strikes and pop flies that occur in my ballpark. I scribble about grown-up babies, seasoned parents, chasing wellness, chasing God, and dropping the meatloaf in the dish water. And I write limericks. Because this game of life is goofy.
I’m happy to be a guest here today, because I have a touchy subject to discuss and I’d like as much input as possible.
I started a journey about two months ago that is making be me feel a bit anxious and unsure. It’s also making me feel brave (at times) and irritated. I’m actually all over the map with it.
I’ve stopped coloring my hair.
On the surface, this might not seem like a traumatic decision, but it’s opened so much dialogue that has surprised me.
Most of my women friends are appalled I’ve done such a thing. Other acquaintances clam up and walk away from the topic – like I’m going to reveal that they too are hair painters, and God forbid anyone know. It’s just been weird.
I asked a few men what they thought about women coloring their hair, and they shrugged and stared off blankly for a moment. Then they said, “I don’t know,” or “I don’t care,” or “I’m not touching that.” They’re not thinking about it.
This surprised me too. I thought we women were dying our hair for men – so we would be more attractive and give the illusion of youth and sex appeal. But I’ve come to a different conclusion.
We women dye our hair because we’re in competition with each another.
This is a disappointing realization. But, I’ve questioned many women now – friends and strangers alike (I talked about this with the woman who took a blood sample from Dad this morning) and they’re falling into one of two camps.
1. I’ll never stop dying my hair. I’ll look older. I’ll be dismissed as less than. I’m already overweight and older. I don’t need a third strike against me.
2. I quit dying five years ago. I got tired of it. I’m making peace with the aging process. I feel free. People need to accept me for who I am – this is who I am.
Not one woman has said, I color my hair to get a man, or keep a man, or please my man, or whatever. Men aren’t even mentioned.
Ladies – we are doing this to each other. We are trying to look better and younger than our fellow sisters. This makes me sad.
Shouldn’t we be encouraging each other as we age and grow silver highlights? Shouldn’t we take pride in the years we’ve lived, the challenges we’ve overcome, the victories we’ve gained? What is wrong with looking our age?
If most of us are dying our hair, it means we’ve collectively bought into the LIE that we are not good enough where we are. In light of the 70’s fight for equality and feminine pride and strength…why are we still painting our hair? If you are a dye-er, I ask you to think about this. Get to the root (pun intended) of why you dye. Be brutally honest with yourself.
I was first challenged to think about all this when my nephew’s wife, who is African American, stopped straightening her hair. She received criticism from friends and family – how could she do such a thing? What is wrong with this picture? I asked myself.
Our natural hair – color, curly, straight, thick, thin, whatever – is what God gave us. We, in our limited little minds, have narrowly defined ‘beauty’ and then have been squeezing ourselves into that mold since. Why are we doing this?!
Two months into this, are there days I want to scratch this whole thing and paint my hair with L’Oreal 5AR again? Absolutely. I’m scared, as my silver comes in, I might be viewed as fatter and older and less than. But what other people think of me is NONE OF MY BUSINESS. Who defines me? Myself, or others? My hair certainly should not define me.
It’s a crazy issue, I tell ya. I would love to have you join me on this journey. Tell me what you think. What the man in your life thinks.
I’m writing a series about this – 15 Shades of Gray – on my blog – I’m three installments in.
Thanks for reading!