I was at a birthday party a few years ago when one of the guys in the group asked why women always chop their hair short after getting married. "Why do women get such tannie hairstyles after they get married," he enquired.
We've all seen the meme, the 'starter pack' and have perhaps, even snickered behind the backs of women with highlighted 'mom chops' sitting at Wimpy, dubbing their hairstyle the 'can I speak to the manager' hairstyle.
A 'tannie haircut' is typically short, but has many different variations, whereas the 'manager haircut' is known for more than its shortness. Over the years it's been defined by the internet as follows:
However, this hairstyle is not just limited to women but also men - Justin Bieber in particular.
But I digress. Why are we laughing and why is the style so ridiculed?
Do all men prefer long hair?
A Time article highlights how the patriarchy has always found women with longer hair 'more desirable'. Either classifying it as a 'man-hating 'do', a 'political statement' or a 'mom chop', its mere system of classification implying that women are not allowed to cut their hair short for reasons like 'feeling like it at the time'. No, *inserts sarcasm* it HAS to be indicative of some shift, some threat.
A brilliant article by Laurie Penny for Newstatesman.com develops this idea further saying niche online forums often call out some members of the online community, calling women with short hair things like 'damaged', listing the act of snipping their hair a way to 'punish' men by means of withholding their femininity.
Cause most men (are taught to) love long hair.
Then what about celebrities like ScarJo and Mary J. Blige? Does their sex appeal, their feminine allure diminish because they chose to style their hair short?
Girls, stop getting the 'don't ask don't tell' haircut and wondering why you aren't that popular. Remember Felicity? We know how this ends.— Dolores (@Losephine) June 13, 2011
And when it comes to heteronormative dating? In 2016 Glamour published an article 'I wore a wig to see if men on dating sites really do prefer long hair over short hair' which tracks one woman's sociological investigation into the world of Tinder profiling.
Both profiles remained the same throughout the experiment, it was only the hair length that changed.
The profile with longer hair was the most popular by far, receiving more matches and messages.
Do we still care?
Whether we are talking 'manager haircut', 'mom chop' or 'tannie hair', we have over time been taught to see short hair as unsexy, unfeminine, a statement of sorts or an indicator of 'letting oneself go' after marriage or having children.
My hair is longer than ever before, and recently a guy friend begged me to please never cut it short, "Please promise me you won't cut your hair when you have children one day," were his exact words.
But these words could have easily have come from a woman.
And something like the 'manager haircut' in particular has been villainised to such an extreme that she's become a laughable character. She is patronised for complaining or for asserting certain rights, because her hairstyle has rendered her existence close to pathetic.
Devalued because of hair? The act of taking issue with short hair is riddled with misogyny; a fear of losing control, maybe ownership over women's bodies as they inherently need to cater to the needs of society, which ultimately caters to the needs of the patriarchy.