The Politics of Pink Hair

Candy-coloured hair is everywhere-tumblr, Pinterest, on the runway, and in magazines. Let’s take a minute to consider some folks with pink hair, and what it means for visibility, representation, and being heard.

People seem to love folks with pink hair, and no wonder-pink hair (or at least pink wigs) have become quite iconic over the last few years, as we saw with Natalie Portman in Closer (above), and Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation (below).

Lately, one certain model with infamously pink tresses has come under fire for her highly problematic comments about one certain perv fashion photographer. One thing that has been continually mentioned about her is her colourful mane, which has made her stand out amongst other models.

It would seem that this relatively unique factor about her has made people especially upset about this–kind of like “Damnit, Charlotte Free, you’re so awesome with your pink hair but WHY do you have to victim blame?” If you think this is an exaggeration, read the first two paragraphs of her recent cover story of Flare Magazine March 2013–both of them focus entirely on her hair. Even the headline on the cover refers to her hair…

Visibility, Voices, and Victim-Blaming

One thing (amongst many) that we can take away from her rape apology debacle, is that  society tends to not listen to younger women. Indeed, if you are 30 or under, chances are very few people take you seriously, instead oftentimes focusing on your looks. Free’s cover story for Flare was less than a page long–see for yourself, below:

So for pages and pages of pictures of Charlotte Free (there’s 9 photographs of her, including the cover and the one above) all we get is a very small snapshot of who this woman might be. Now, with her recent victim-blaming statements, we can’t say that we really want to know more about her, but it is still worth noting that her looks seem to trump her voice and opinions.

While we don’t excuse her for her comments, we can’t help but wonder if there’s something about our culture that enables a young woman to speak out and be heard only if it is something that the rape culture at large would applaud–is Free the fashion world’s prime example of Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pig? Maybe.

The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

While Free is dubbed by Flare as a “pink-haired rebel,” it bears remembering that women are much, much more than the colour of their hair. This seems obvious, yet our culture loves reducing women to a “fiery redhead”, “bombshell blonde,” “sexy brunette,” “raven-haired beauty,” etc.

To finish up, if you are still mourning the “loss” of Free as a role model with pink hair, we wanted to recommend stopping by the blogs of a few women who we think are pretty damn inspiring (and happen to have pink hair).

We Worship at the Shrines of…

ALB (Angelina) of ALB in Wonderland

This Canadian lady is a force of nature! She has a popular YouTube channel, Etsy store (buy her “Feminine is Not Anti-Feminist” Unicorn My Little Pony prints here), inspiring tumblr, and most recently she’s been battling at the centre of the infamous “Fake Geek Girl” controversy. Yea, we’re pretty much obsessed.

Kaelah of Little Chief Honeybee

Kaelah, haling from East Nashville, is also an internet powerhouse. The woman is incredibly hardworking (she owns and runs a business, is a graphic designer, blogger, photographer) and incredibly stylish. Sometimes with pink hair, sometimes without (it’s a wig–how brilliant is that??) her posts are always thoughtful, warm, and generally filled with a good dose of girl power.


Okay, so not technically known first and foremost for being a blogger, we couldn’t resist putting Canadian musician Grimes on this list. Her music is obvs amazing, and we really admire that her music videos (which she often directs herself!) are almost exclusively produced by and star women. Very, very, cool.

BONUS: Grimes x Saint Laurent Paris? Yes.


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