An Open Letter To Men: Why I Don’t Care What You Think About My Amazing Technicolor Dream Hair

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When I’m not emphatically grateful that you complimented my hair when I never asked you to, it doesn’t mean I’m a bitch. It just means that I don’t appreciate comments from dudes about what I look like.

britni (1)

Dear Men Who Think I GAF What They Think About My Hair,

Yes, my hair is brilliant. It’s vibrant, it’s fun, it’s candy-colored deliciousness. To say I stand out in a crowd is an understatement. My hair has been blue, purple, pink, red, teal, and combinations of all of the above. This Technicolor hair is such a part of who I am and the identity that I present to the world that I had it at my wedding and when I gave birth to my first child.

Because my hair is so distinct, people comment on it almost every time I leave the house. Usually, the people stopping me to tell me that they like my hair are men, like you. And, truth be told, I just don’t give a fuck what you think of my hair. I really and truly don’t. I know that you think you’re giving me a compliment when you tell me you like it, but you’re not. Because, while it might feel like a compliment to you, unsolicited comments about my appearance feel intrusive and threatening.

I know that my hair is really bright and noticeable, but I really wish you would stop using it as an opening to try to get my attention. And honestly, you’re not the first guy to try that line on me today. It’s tired, bro, and I’m exhausted. I mean, CAN I LIVE?

When I’m not emphatically grateful that you complimented my hair when I never asked you to, it doesn’t mean I’m a bitch. It just means that I don’t appreciate comments from dudes about what I look like. Especially random dudes on the street that I don’t know. Please consider what it feels like for me. I’m just trying to go about my day, and men that I don’t know keep interrupting me to tell me that I’m pretty or my hair is awesome. Maybe that sounds nice, but it’s not. I’m immediately on guard, because I’m not sure what response you’re going to be looking for, and if I give the wrong one, sometimes you get angry, and then I feel frightened. Therefore, I dread any interactions with men on the street because I don’t know how they’re going to end.

And I know it might seem odd, but I actually don’t dye my hair because I “want attention” or because I care what anyone thinks about it. This may be hard to believe, but I actually dye my hair these bright colors for myself. Not all women’s behaviors are done with the end goal of appealing to men (SHOCKING, I KNOW). My hair makes me happy and I dye it for my own enjoyment— not for yours. I mean, that’s cool if you happen to like it, too, but you don’t have to tell me about it. You can keep it to yourself, write it in your dream journal, take it to your grave. I don’t care what you do with it, I just know that I don’t need to know about it.

The other thing that happens when you use this very distinct thing about my appearance as an opening is that you assume that I want your attention (spoiler alert: I most certainly do not). You assume that I’m single, despite the ring on my finger that indicates that I’m not. You also assume that I’m straight, and interested in being hit on by a dude. And, of course, you assume that you’re entitled to my attention or conversation or gratitude. And I hate to be the one to burst the bubble of male entitlement you’ve been blissfully shrouded in, but men are not entitled to anything from me.

Men, please do me a favor. The next time you want to tell me, or some other girl, how much you like our hair, please don’t. This also applies to telling us that you like our dress, our tattoos, our necklace, or any other thing on or about our body. Because even if your intentions are good, we don’t know that.

And really, if you want to make me happy, allowing me to go through my day uninterrupted would make me a heck of a lot happier than you “complimenting” my appearance. I don’t need validation from you that my hair is badass (though if you want to tell my hairdresser, I’m sure she’d appreciate it) because I already know that. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be walking around with it looking like this, now would I?

This story by BRITNI DE LA CRETAZ originally appeared on Ravishly, a feminist news+culture website.

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65 COMMENTS

  1. Wow. I think you’re going a bit overboard on this one. I too, have had bright candy colored hair. I too, got lots of compliments on it. Know what I did? Smiled and said thanks. Sorry to say it, but you DO come off kinda bitchy. I don’t like being told to smile, but someone being nice and paying you a compliment is not intrusive. Its called being a kind human being. I’d hate to walk around with such a large stick up my rear end and negativity all day like you seem to, because that’s the only kind of person who would spew this kind of garbage.

  2. I have a solution. If you don’t want to interact with people when you leave home. Wear a Burka.
    Your attitude seems pretty self centred. It’s fine by me if you want to repel people please continue as you are. BUT don’t expect other people to be able to interpret your wishes. Most people why choose flamboyant dress are looking for attention so if you continue to dress that way you should not be surprised that people interact with you.
    We recommend people with antisocial dogs have them wear Muzzles and red collars to let people they meet in the street to give them a wide berth. Perhaps you can wear a sign “I’m an antisocial feminazi compliments will be taken as offensive”
    Seriously find a real issue to bitch about.

  3. First off you’re not being empowered, you’re being a fucking asshole.

    Secondly nobody cares if you have problems with compliments, if compliments are the biggest problems you face in life consider yourself amongst the most privileged people in the entire fucking planet.

    Third YOU OBVIOUSLY CARE, YOU CARE A LOT YOU WROTE AN ENTIRE FUCKING ARTICLE ON HOW MUCH YOU CARE.

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  5. This ‘article’ was unbelievably unnecessary. I have half my head shaved and my hair is dyed bright purple. I do it for me because it’s fun and it makes me happy. But a compliment is a compliment. when a man compliments you, he doesn’t expect you pants to drop on the spot and for you to be eternally grateful for the opportunity to be complimented by him. He expects a polite nod and a thank you. Because that’s the way that any half decent human being would respond to a compliment. No, he not going to attack and rape you if you don’t, but he is going to think it’s rude when you scowl and walk away, because.. Huh.. It is.

    Maybe if you got off you feminist high horse, you would realize that sometimes people complimenting people is just a brief social interaction, not a man showing his intentions to suppress and rape you.

    Basically… Calm down.

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  12. Why do you act like every man who offers you a compliment automatically wants in your pants? That logic doesn’t work when you’re being complimented by a gay man. All I see here is a paranoid woman who, instead of seeking treatment, would rather rant about it online.

  13. Compliments are things that make emotionally healthy people happy. It’s why nice people give compliments. I am quite introverted and often want to avoid people, yet I am able to comprehend this.

    It appears that what makes you feel good is convincing other people that you receive a lot of compliments and attention, but that you’re humble and strong and independent, and better than all those icky plebians who say nice things about you because your hair brightened their day, even though you didn’t dye your hair for them.

    Your ideal world of no unsolicited social interaction strikes me as terribly cold and joyless. And again, I say this as an introvert who doesn’t like big parties, crowds, noise, and that sort of thing.

    I feel sorry for you. This article feels like a facade put up to mask some deep insecurity and pain that, I’m guessing, you’re not dealing with. It’s ok. We all have our “demons” to face. But this attitude isn’t helping. It’s not healthy for you or for society.

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