"Manly" Haircuts in Women Establishing Credibility

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Alasdair
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"Manly" Haircuts in Women Establishing Credibility

Postby Alasdair » 10 Feb 2007, 03:32

Hi everyone.  Something this semester sparked an interesting thought.  I have two female professors.  Both have "boy" haircuts, meaning they are cut shorter than usual, and are kept trimmed around the edges.  One of my professors is probably in her mid 30's and, quite honestly, would be drop dead gorgeous if she grew out her hair  :oops: .  My question is this: Do you think that by having a "boy" haircut, it establishes their role in a more professional way, eliminating some of the sex-appeal of being an attractive female?  It confuses me either way, because although they are both professors, they could certainly dress in clothing that is still appropriate but fits their figure much better. What do you think?
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Postby wynyfryd » 10 Feb 2007, 08:51

I had super-short hair in my 20's - female engineer - and I still got hit on a lot. Now, I have very long hair, but a more mature, don't-mess-with-me attitude. I think when I cut mine, I did want to look more professional, less of the long-hair = sexy woman. So you are probably on the right track - they are using it to deflect that gorgeous-ness. Good call. Respect will get you everywhere with these professors. ;)
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Postby Kat Lady » 10 Feb 2007, 12:06

I have heard that from a business perspective, women with hair no longer than their shoulders are taken more seriously. But, having had short hair in the past, it is soooooo much easier than longer hair.
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Postby Donata » 10 Feb 2007, 15:40

It's a fine line for professional women in business or academia. Most want to be feminine (not sexy - a big no-no if you want to be taken seriously!), yet not overly so, as that often detracts from being seen as professionals.

In US, it's interesting to watch the evolution of Katie Courik from co-host on the morning show, Today, to anchor on the national evening news. She used to dress very fashionably, bright colors, often with short skirts, moderate makeup, somewhat flirtatious and tastefully sexy. Laughed easily and was animated.

Now she dresses in neutral colors, mostly brown, beige, gray, and blue, and very downplayed subtle makeup. She presents as a very serious professional. Her hair is shorter than on 'Today', in style but controlled, softer highlights, and no more flipping it back! Very few, if any, hand motions as she talks. No laughter. Less expression and animation as she talks than when on Today.  

Studies have been done on the impact of clothing, makeup, and hair on the perceived professionalism of women. An early book was "Dress for Success" which advocated severe skirted suits in success colors (which are colors usually worn by men - navy, blue, brown, tan, gray, and white for shirts/ blouses) with bright color, no pastels, in a scarf or blouse - to be similar to bright ties on men. Red is a power color, and today can be used in blazers. Black is OK now too. Sweaters aren't recommended, while blazers are. No long painted nails,and subtle makeup and hair style. Expensive (or good imitation) subtle accessories such as shoes, handbags, watches.jewelry, eyeglasses and hats. (Do you know that hats were at one time a symbol of success? Only executives wore them - clerical staff never!)

I don't think women have to dress in an extreme severe manner, but I do agree that there is a dress for success look, somewhat conservative, that seems to project the professional look best.

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Postby Bracken » 10 Feb 2007, 22:35

Hi Alasdair.

Have you thought of asking them?

"Excuse me, Miss, do you think that by having a 'boy' haircut it establishes your role in a more professional way, eliminating some of the sex appeal of being an attractive female?  Surely you could dress in clothing that is still appropriate but fits your figure much better.  Quite honestly, you would be drop dead gorgeous if you grew out your hair."

:wink: Hee hee.
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Postby Jingle » 10 Feb 2007, 22:54

It may be that the perceptions of "manly" hair are changing.  At one time I wore my hair very short, but now I love it long.  My husband wears his very long, too.  My daughter's is long so she can put it up for dance.  We're a family of long-hairs.  

I like to think of it as moving toward a more tolerant "unisex" era, no longer judging men and women by what they wear, and looking forward to a more balanced workplace. I hope this is the case.  I see it more in the teenagers I know.  Some of the boys are wearing skirts, and the girls all wear slacks.  The only difference between boys chained pants and girls is the size... And sometimes the girls get a little lace.
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Postby Alasdair » 11 Feb 2007, 00:58

Haha, mamanohead, I've considered it.  I ending up concluding that it would make things tremendously awkward though, and I'm sure she's heard it  :grin: .  It's very interesting though, because I only recently began noticing this haircut more and more in women.  Thanks for the thoughts!
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Postby Donata » 11 Feb 2007, 05:53

I agree it would make things very very awkward if you comment on your professors' appearance! Good that you don't!

For many women who dress this way it's a statement against conforming to the fashion industry's ( or society) idea of what makes 'beauty' and what makes a woman attractive. Can't a woman be attractive in a short haircut etc? Many choose not to be judged by the fashion standard.

A good example is when a woman becomes a news anchor. Her hairstyle, her dress, etc., are commented on and often criticized. Male anchors don't have to deal with this. Hopefully one day we'll all get past this but until then many women who want to be taken seriously may continue to downplay their femininity.

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Postby Claer » 11 Feb 2007, 20:26

I was a bit disappointed to read such a thread. I work in academia and for most of my student and early professional days had a shaved head (I had a brain operation and then chose to shave the rest of my hair off - never get a haircut by a surgeon :grin:). I got really fed up of the comments I had from it (assuming it was a fashion statement, being taken as a statement of sexual orientation or the worst I had was that I was a neo-nazi!!!). The fact it was due to practicalities and simply my preference at that point in time seemed to pass these people by.  :???:
My current professor/head of department recently asked me why I didn't wear skirts to work more often, and continued to "dress like a student". I told him if he wanted me to dress different - pay me more or put a dress code in my contract. No comments since!!!
Now my hair is shoulder length I do notice a difference in how people interact with me; more polite in shops, smile at me more and I don't hear loud whispers like "do you think they've had chemo? I'd wear a hat or bandana if it was me."
It is sad to admit that yes, people to treat me differently now, and more seriously at work.  :-(
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Postby Earthwoman » 12 Feb 2007, 13:11

I am a college professor with waist-length hair, and I usually wear it down. I usually put up my hair when I'm away from work--when I'm about to cook or to tackle a messy chore.

Just my two cents,  :2cents:

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Postby eamon of hawthorn » 22 Feb 2007, 13:25

I may not be in college, but in junior high, I'm making a trend that hair does not really effect attitude toward work. One of my favorite teachers has short hair. She has helped me writing and exposing my poetry. Then I have another teacher with hair that's shorter than mine. (Mine goes from to the bottom of my neck and I <3 my hair!) She is so horribly mean. She doesn't understand how I think and gives me bad grades because she doesn't understand what I'm getting at.
 Sometimes I think people cut their hair short because they're just to lazy to manage long hair. That's just a thought.
 One other thing that is greatly beginning to disturb me is that the school places male above female. If we are equal...why should I have to go out of my way to help? Especially if I have a class to be at? I'm the most femine guy at my school EVERYONE knows that. I flirt with guys...I watch chick flicks...I sometimes wear makeup! I consider myself...both. I'm in a guys body...but I'm both. I have a much stronger femine urge though. I just don't understand whats wrong when I come to school with nails painted cuz me and my friend (who I occasionally call girlfriends around their boyfriends!  :oops:) were bored? I had a teacher keep on staring at my nails like it was some sort of infectious disease. Worse yet...my Grandparents dropped by my house and he goes, "Did you hit your thumb or something?" He thought it sounded like he was joking...but I could tell he was disgusted. Ugh. Nothing is perfectly male or female! So people need to just get over it. (Sorry if this way off topic.)

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Postby LadyCelt » 22 Feb 2007, 13:41

I told him if he wanted me to dress different - pay me more or put a dress code in my contract. No comments since!!!
LOL!  Good one! :grin:
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Postby Twyrch » 22 Feb 2007, 14:35

For many women who dress this way it's a statement against conforming to the fashion industry's ( or society) idea of what makes 'beauty' and what makes a woman attractive. Can't a woman be attractive in a short haircut etc? Many choose not to be judged by the fashion standard.
Of course there are women who are attractive with short hair. My wife, for example... (Hi honey, if you're reading this! :wink: )

But I wouldn't recommend short hair.... or even no hair.... for some women.

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But for other women, lack of hair does not dimenish their beauty...

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I think it really depends on the woman and how she dresses and carries herself. :)
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Postby Isobel » 22 Feb 2007, 16:17

I consider myself...both. I'm in a guys body...but I'm both. I have a much stronger femine urge though. I just don't understand whats wrong when I come to school with nails painted cuz me and my friend (who I occasionally call girlfriends around their boyfriends!  :oops:) were bored? I had a teacher keep on staring at my nails like it was some sort of infectious disease. Worse yet...my Grandparents dropped by my house and he goes, "Did you hit your thumb or something?" He thought it sounded like he was joking...but I could tell he was disgusted. Ugh. Nothing is perfectly male or female! So people need to just get over it. (Sorry if this way off topic.)
Eamon, I think that's right on topic actually! I also, from when I was very little, suspected that the whole gender thing wasn't real! I only fully began to understand why I always felt like that when I got back memories/fragments of previous lives and in some I was female, and in others I was male, and I saw myself as african, scandinavian, mediterranian and british. So obviously I felt this means we're not our gender and we're also not our race, and probably we're not even our species. COOL!! I also think we shouldn't necessarily be limited to things that are traditionally seen as belonging to our gender. But you know how it is, you'd get "rewarded" more by people if you just played along!

I tried long hair, but I felt it did make me look a bit like a librarian (well, I am one, but you know what I mean..), so I am back to stay at short. The girl who cuts my hair is a genius and can make it look girly. So I don't think short hair equals boys hair.
Of course there are women who are attractive with short hair. My wife, for example... (Hi honey, if you're reading this!  )
 :grin:  :grin: Excellent move Twyrch!!

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Postby Ghostrider » 05 Mar 2007, 14:29

Well... being a guy, can't really speak for the ladies, but in my 33 years, I've had my hair:

- Short
- REALLY SHORT ( next to nothing )
- Long ( halfway down my back ), either often loose or in 50 or so braids.
- 1 Mohawk
- 2 Mohawks
- dare I say it....?? 3 mohawks. And I'm not going to mention colours...

Either way I had it, it didn't matter to ME what other people thought, but you do notice a difference...
It also has to do with where you live, me thinks. I used to live in a relatively small town, where my hair and lifestyle were frowned upon many times. I used to stick out as a sore thumb... and LOVED it!

Now I live in a large town, where being different isn't so strange anymore.
Oddly enough... I now have a more conservative appearance.
Perhaps, for me, I don't feel the need to stick out anymore, as the difference in cultures and lifestyles is much more obvious here, and people still just go their own way and interact civily.

Mind you, getting a better job also required me to change my appearance, but since I finally found a job where I'm at place, that didn't matter to me as much as before!
And maybe that's just why these ladies wear their hair boyish?
Maybe they found a job which suited them fine and therefore chose ( or were asked? ) not to look as drop-dead-gourgeous as they, apparently, could?
I've also had some teachers which were a sight to see, and they just plainly admitted that it was a lot easier trying to teach young people ( read.. MEN ), whithout them being..... distracted....  :o

Aside from the fact if you think it's right, I reckon it is ( or should be ) up to them what they want to look like. And even so, you apparently still see their beauty, so ... what's the problem?  :wink:
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Postby fedelmia » 07 May 2007, 07:52

well...I can't resist...I have to quote from "Withnail and I".... :-)

"I don't advise a haircut, man. All hairdressers are in the employment of the government. Hairs are your aerials. They pick up signals from the cosmos, and transmit them directly into the brain. This is the reason bald-headed men are uptight."


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Postby LadyCelt » 07 May 2007, 12:54

I had at least shoulder length hair for most of my life, and finally whacked it off super short about 3 years ago. Why? I was sick of being a slave to my hair! Perms, curlers, curling irons, clips, brushes, various paraphernalia to keep it out of my face because I desperately need all my peripheral vision - UGH!  Even simple pony tails were problematic because my hair breaks off easily.

I love my hair now - it's cute, suits my face, and from toweling it to final style, it takes less than 10 minutes.  I no longer even own brush or comb. Since cutting it, I haven't had one bad hair day. It's short, but I wouldn't exactly call it "mannish" because I still have wispies around my face.

My husband pouted, but ya know, he didn't have to deal with it when it was long, and he was always complaining about the hair salon bills. So there. LOL
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Postby Fitheach » 09 May 2007, 02:32

I've tried for the past ten yers to grow my hair long, and finally gave up and cut it.  I really like it better short - so much easier to manage!

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Postby Lora » 13 Jun 2007, 14:21

Nice picture Fitheach, I think it suits you.

I'm going in the other direction as my hair was getting gradually shorter over the years and now I'm letting it grow again.  It's an enormous pain to look after, particularly as it's rather curly and dry, but I'm not doing it to look 'girlie'.  Wouldn't work anyway!  I'm growing my hair now because that slightly wild hair feels like a little part of my identity, one I've struggled with sometimes but part of me nonetheless.  And I like the idea of hair being 'antennae' even if it's almost certainly a load of rubbish!

I find it quite funny in this day and age that we're still stuck on short hair=boy long hair=girl stereotypes.   I guess it got ingrained over a long period of time.  There could be all sorts of reasons why the professors have short hair.  Whatever the reason, it's up to them, their choice.  

Personally I wish that more MEN would grow their hair, I think it can look really good if they look after it properly.  It doesn't suit everyone, (and I'd say that for either sex) but they should at least give it a go.  I do understand that in their case it can be more difficult for them in the workplace, depending upon their job.  Shame, really.  

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Postby al_iguana » 13 Jun 2007, 16:43

according to something I read somewhere (memory like a tea-bag), in contrast to the long hair of the native Britons, the druids had short hair. OK, maybe not the women, but still: short hair had an air of... authority.. about it? (To balance it out they had VERY long ZZ-Top beards, whereas the the average native Briton favoured the tash)

And of course the Pharaohs who shaved their hair completely. Point is, if short hair has some kind of psychological trigger that makes people who have it be taken more seriously. So, if it works for women too, then why not?

(For most of my adulthood I've had hair down to my ass - and I'm a man - so I'm only speculating here lol)


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