*** Update: The Big Snip has now taken place and here is a video of the experience.
I was in the shower (the place where I make a lot of big decisions) a couple of weeks ago and I decided to cut all of my hair off and donate it to charity. I had wanted to do something else to fundraise for the charity Womankind Worldwide as I became an ambassador for them this year after doing that stand up comedy challenge for International Women’s Day. I realised this was the perfect thing.
Cutting off women’s hair has often been used as a punishment in conflict or in prisons. For many women their hair is an important part of their identity. And the style that they choose to wear is an important expression of who they are. I have always had long hair,apart from the one time I had a bob cut and thought that was a big deal. . I rarely even wear my hair up. I love having long, flowing hair that I can wear in different ways, fiddle with all day long and hide behind when I want to.
Although I always think that friends I have or women I see with very short hair look great. I have always seen it as something that I couldn’t do because I feel like so much of my femininity is caught up in my hair.
The idea of not having that anymore is terrifying but I have a feeling that it also might be strangely liberating. I wasn’t 100% sure that I wanted to do it, and started talking to friends and family. A few of my female friends were really excited about it, but most people asked me if I was sure or told me not to do it.
When I found out that I had enough hair to make wigs for up to three little girls with cancer, I knew that I had to do it. I have a couple of friends who are fighting cancer right now and I know that loosing their hair is a big part of what scares them. So I have decided to donate my hair to the Little Princesses Trust.
I have been excited but now the hair cut is just hours away, I am suddenly very nervous. Lots of strange and contradictory ideas are flashing through my mind. Will I will be judged and treated differently? What if I hate it? What if I like it so much that I have short hair for the rest of my life? Well, what I do know is that it will grow back. I am lucky to have healthy hair and so the personal worst case scenario is that I have to wait for it to grow out. It will take nearly two years to grow back to it’s current length and time goes fast. It’s an adventure to see what does happen, if I will feel like a different person and how people I know and people that I meet react to me.
The haircut is taking place on Friday 27th July (tomorrow) and is being sponsored by Percy & Reed, where Creative Stylist Lacey Hawkins will cut it. The process will be documented by photographer Sarah Leslie.
I hope that as well as challenging my own perceptions about my hair, and donating it to charity that I can raise money for Womankind Worldwide. They are an international women’s human rights charity working to help women transform their lives in Africa, Asia and Latin America. They partner with women’s rights organisations who are challenging discrimination and violence. Womankind delivers the essential support – funding, expertise, contacts and publicity – these women’s organisations need to amplify their voice, increase their impact and bring about greater change.
Having all my hair cut off by choice in a nice London hair salon is nothing like the traumatic experience that many women experience but it’s a gesture of solidarity and support.
My target is to raise £50 per inch, making the total £1000.