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Culture Feb 18, 2020 9:09 AM EST

There’s no such thing as a non-binary haircut

Non-binary hair isn’t a thing, and it shouldn’t be. There are just haircuts, and people who cut hair, who have opinions.

There’s no such thing as a non-binary haircut
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

There’s no such thing as a non-binary haircut. But that didn’t stop Gray Crosbie from opining on the trouble of getting a haircut as a self-proclaimed genderless person. Speaking on The Social with BBC Scotland, Crosbie talks about how disconcerting it is to have to choose between the barbershop and the salon, the problem with women being charged more for their haircuts than men, and feeling like society is too normative.

Perhaps the low key worst thing about this video is that it’s called a poem. But aside from that, there’s this assumption that until non-binary people emerged, fully formed, ideated, and sexless from mother’s womb, no one ever felt like they didn’t belong before. There’s this feeling that non-binary people are the first to not fit into the sex binary boxes.

One look at the history of street fashion can tell us this isn’t true. While our memories of the mid 20th century begin and end with pin-up girls, poodle skirts, and bad boys in leather jackets, the reality is far more complex. People’s looks spilled out of the stereotypical sex-based binary all over the place. There are the rock stars, obviously, who strutted in whatever femme or masculine fashion that suited them at the time.

But then there were the teen subcultures that broke binary barriers all over the place. Disco featured drag queens, men in makeup, perms, and heels, women like Liza Minelli dallying with traditional tuxedos, ties, and top hats. This was pretty much normal. Punk rock and new wave advanced the cause of kids not needing to adhere to gender stereotypes. And while these things were not commonly accepted in mainstream cultural discourse, the kids just didn’t care.

Being accepted by mainstream culture was not a big priority for the kids of the 20th century. And why should it be? Half the problem with the gender identity push today is this need for acceptance. The idea is that the entirety of society needs to change so that you can feel okay about your haircut. The truth is, if you don’t feel okay about your haircut regardless of what literally anyone else thinks, maybe that’s not the hair cut for you.

Striving for acceptance is entirely anathema to the concept of exhibiting your true self no matter what. If you have specific haircut demands, keep looking for the right stylist or barber or friend who wants to be daring and cut your bangs for you. My friend Sarah once pierced my ear by first numbing it with a package of frozen chicken and then stabbing a safety pin through the lobe. It hurt, and it was bloody, and I was proud of that pin. I did not demand societal acceptance.

Is this person male or female? Does it matter? Do they care what you think?

When I was a teenage icecream dipper (that’s what it’s called), the gentlemen who came in often misgendered me as male. I had really short hair, I had no figure, and my attitude was entirely unfeminine. When they called me son I batted my eyelashes at them and called them daddy. My boss hated that and told me to cut it out. If only I could have told them I was non-binary.

As a new mom with a 6-month-old son who had to undergo cranial surgery, I wanted to cut off all my hair in solidarity. I wanted to look as unfeminine and uncoiffed as possible, but the hairdresser could not understand and insist on giving me a suburban mom’s haircut. I told her over and over to take it close, use the clippers, but she would not. That hair cut cost over $100, and it was infuriating. I took sheers to it myself when I got home.

Non-binary hair isn’t a thing, and it shouldn’t be. There are just haircuts, and people who cut hair, who have opinions. The reason women’s haircuts tend to cost more is because women tend to have longer hair, and it takes more effort. Having cut my son’s hair multiple times, because he hates going to the hair shop despite not being non-binary, it’s way harder when it’s longer.

The problem isn’t that more hairstylists in Scotland aren’t familiar with non-binary hair, but that people are so concerned with what others think of themselves or their hair. Crosbie notes that they sometimes answer questions in a way that they perceive will make other people more comfortable. But for the love of everything that is holy, why? Crosbie should be themselves, sit in the chair, proclaim what they want, state that since it’s a short haircut they should pay the lower price, and get on with it. The worst-case scenario is a bad haircut, and that’s not a binary-based problem. In fact, we’ve all been there.

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