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Word Butter: Diversity good, finger-pointing bad

POSTED: August 10, 2017 4:31 p.m.

I read something Monday that just absolutely ticked me off. And it wasn’t just because I have short hair. Or because it’s red (insert jokes about redheaded tempers here).

I read the story of some young girls who have cut their hair short to be like their idols – Ellen DeGeneres and soccer stars Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe. The girls weren’t looking to make a statement. They just wanted to be like their heroes. In one case, the young lady cut hers simply so she didn’t have to deal with tangles.

And now the girls, all part of a killer soccer team, are catching grief for their choice of hairstyle.

When they win, opposing coaches, parents, referees and team members often accuse them of cheating. People seem to think the team is winning because the short-haired players are not girls with short hair, but boys. The girls have been ridiculed, asked to prove their gender, and dissed when the team wins, told they didn’t deserve medals.

OK, so when did it become a bad thing for a woman to have short hair? I mean, seriously? Sure, I’ve heard that a woman’s hair is her “crowning glory,” and it seems to have been implied that the “glory” should be long and lush, but what if you prefer short and spiky? Is your crown any less glorious?

I don’t think so.

I have a close friend who likes her hair short and spiky. All too often, people assume she’s gay, which she’s not. It‘s mind boggling to me that short hair on a woman equals gay, or “butch.” It’s neither. It’s just a choice.

For me, cutting off my hair was a decision of convenience. I had my thyroid taken out last year and, thank God, there was no cancer. But now I’m dealing with the after-effects of that surgery. This includes, unfortunately, things like brittle hair and hair loss. My hair used to be really thick. Now? Not so much. So I made the choice to cut it short until the loss stops and my hair comes back. At least, I hope it comes back. Keeping it short helps me, mentally, and I believe it helps with breakage.

Telling these young girls that their decision to cut their hair makes them less than what they are – incredible athletes – is just wrong. It shouldn’t matter that they have short hair. If they had no hair at all, it wouldn’t affect their ability to play soccer.

In this day and age, when young girls are already pressured to look like the Kylies and Kendalls of the world (see the Kardashians), it’s imperative that we encourage those who have the courage to step up and be the individuals that they are.

So whether you choose to have short hair, pink hair, long gray hair at 21 or long black hair at 95, ladies, let’s stop judging each other. Diversity is good. If we all looked the same, how boring would this world be? Celebrate the differences, because those are the things that make us each beautiful.

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