R.L. SAUNDERS

writer attempting real life in the middle of everybody else's vacation

Dye shaming. Like slut shaming but warranted

on May 20, 2014

I’ve got some silver growing out my scalp, concentrated in two areas. It’s just a little, but there’s no more mistaking it for the “white blond” that the remnants of my vanity tried convincing me it was. Because you know, suddenly at 39 I’m going white blond. No.

My mom has like two gray hairs and my dad died at age 57 with about three gray hairs. So it’s not something I’d previously put much thought into. Not because I’ve always been oh-so-enlightened and comfortable with going gray, but because I thought I had twenty more years before I’d be making decisions about it.

I think I’m going to keep it, though. It’s part fuck you to tired, pathetic women’s beauty norms. And the other part is simply that so many of the women working the silver and gray are the kinds of people I admire. I’m seeing more smart, beautiful women in their thirties and forties giving the finger to the Clairol box or the monthly appointments and biweekly root touch-ups, and I kind of love it. I want to have some small part in the evolution of how we define beauty. I want my daughter to see me making these kinds of choices.

Already, I’ve spent too much of my lifetime working hard at pretty. I did a good job of it, too, and was recognized for it by people to whom that’s really important. But I don’t know, I guess those just aren’t my people anymore. I see the struggle some women undertake (in ways our male counterparts generally don’t) and, to me, it increasingly seems like such a waste of energy, fighting nature instead of loving that we’ve been through some serious bullshit and we’re still here, only stronger and smarter and more confident. I feel like being beautiful. I feel like being healthier. But I don’t feel like I owe pretty to the world anymore.

I’m just not interested in defying my age, whatever that means. And do people really accomplish that anyway? If it didn’t sound so judgy, I’d say many end up looking ridiculous. You know who I’m talking about–those people who can’t think of a bigger thrill in life than being called a MILtF by their teenaged kids’ friends. (See what I did there? I said it anyway.)

So that’s that, then, at least for me. I’m getting myself back, not letting myself go. Look, I already won at pretty and I’m here to tell you that it didn’t take any special talent whatsoever. Just a special level of commitment to the superficial. Meh. Game over. Next.

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6 responses to “Dye shaming. Like slut shaming but warranted

  1. …says a hero of mine. Thanks, Ruth!

  2. Richard J. Niedzwiecki says:

    FUNNY, maybe you got the silver hair from having to put up with papanedz. lol

  3. Candace says:

    I gave up on covering the gray a couple of yrs ago..I was hoping mine would turn white like my grandma’s was but nope, younger sister got that and is FINALLY deciding to give in to it..I figure I’d do the gray hair proudly because I’ve earned every one!!!!!

  4. boneislandbooks says:

    Last year, I started highlighting — I hadn’t noticed grays but I did have a major birthday. It was fun to be blonder than I’ve been since I was a little kid. But it’s also expensive as hell and takes half a day. So I have recently decided to just let it in and see what happens. Not only will I save significant time and money but I won’t be applying lots of scary chemicals to my hair. And I always wanted to be one of those ladies with long gray hair.

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