"you do not have to be pretty if you don’t want to. it is not your job." - caitlyn siehl
I love the message of the caption. But I feel that it, when paired with this photo, is implying that if you have short-or no-hair, you can’t be pretty and that just isn’t the case.
Lots of folks think that way which is why there are five year old girls, and their mama’s walking around with weaves in their head. that bothers me.
i do agree that it comes across this way (implying that short/no hair cannot be pretty), and i definitely realize how it came across as problematic - thanks for pointing that out and addressing it, because it is something i also wanted to point out as i watched this post explode over tumblr.
my captioning of the photo was more personal and less clear in terms of what it meant for me - i captioned it that way after having read caitlyn siehl’s poem “it is not your job” and having a part of it resonate with my experience of hair/queerness in/on my asian body, and i didn’t expect my personal instagram photo and the associated caption to have such a far reaching audience.
when i let my hair grow out, i received compliments from my family and social circle based on my long, straight, black, asian hair. saying that i planned on shaving it off resulted in many responses along the lines of “but it’s so pretty! you look so pretty this way.” and that irked me, that i apparently couldn’t be pretty otherwise, and ALSO that i was expected to fulfill a “prettiness” requirement in the first place.
captioning this photo the way i did, with just this one line from the poem, addresses the second point but not so much the first, which i wish could’ve been communicated - unfortunately it doesn’t quite get all of that across! which started to bother me the more attention this post got (the “but wait! there’s more to it!” sort of feeling), and which i really wanted to address. because shaving your hair off or cutting it short certainly doesn’t mean you can’t be “pretty”. it’s also not for everyone, which i respect. nor is the expectation of prettiness a standard that everyone desires to uphold, either.
do what you want with your hair. get a weave if you want to, shave it off if you want to, dye it all the colours you like, keep it exactly the way it is if that’s what you want to do with it. so long as you enjoy yourself the best you can.
My exact thoughts. Maybe I am the type that I want to feel “pretty;” but that is “pretty for myself,” not “pretty to impress others.” I get pissed off when I do something with myself that my family doesn’t approve of, and they constantly have to criticize on it. Recent example is my hair color from the ginger gold brown to the jet black I have now. If I gave a shit on any of their opinions I would’ve asked first if I should’ve done it and if it would look good on me, right? And if they’d approve of it. But no, I simply don’t give a shit. Because it is my hair, my body, my life. Now gtfo and worry about your own. I’m pretty sure back in their day they hated having their families control & criticize things they do, now simply don’t even pass on that shit. You don’t see me telling y’all what to do with yourselves now, do you? Hm? Despite there is so much shit I seriously do disapprove of that you do. But hey, it’s your fuckin’ lives. If you wanna waste it, be my guest. But this life is mine, get out of the way & stop trying to control it.