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Hair Rights and Wrongs
You might not think that in the early years of the 21st century that hair would be a conflictive and divisive issue, a battle between personal expression and public control, but strangely as much as people slowly make gains in having universal human rights, hair is one of those things that seems to have slipped through the cracks.
My mom always said "well... it's just HAIR." Sure there were a few things she didn't want me to do to my hair growing up (like shaving it all off) and she related a few stories of having hair conflicts with my grandmother (over coloring) but in the end, she felt hair was hair, and that since it would just grow and could be cut off and changed, there really were more important things for which one could save getting worked up over it.
Did you hear about the Texas school boy in early October 2011 who had some parts that were shaved into his head colored in with a market by the school assistant principal as they were felt to be violating the dress code? How do a few subtle lines interfere with education so much they must be obliterated? And how come this was done without any thoughts to the personal or parental rights of the student?
And in the usually insulated community of Amish in Pennsylvania, even more bizarre incident involving hair have occurred recently. In what has been interpreted as revenge actions, a splinter group of more extreme Amish have attacked other Amish over defections from their group, shaving the beards off men and cutting the hair short of women. In the Amish religion, these are extremely insulting and humiliating actions, even when you consider that eventually all the hair will grow back.
Are hair rights attacked because they inflict large amounts of shame and psychological terror but are only temporary in nature? Taking violent action against someone's hair is just as violent and emotionally-damaging as an assault and battery, and yet many times there is a mere fraction of the physical damage that would come from being a more physical, bodily attack. As laws have gotten tougher on physical assault, has hair shame been turned into a psychological weapon?
Given the constantly changing and mutable nature of hair, and the fact that over the course of history that humans have done everything to hair that you might ever conceive of (shaving, dyeing, growing, cutting, etc) it really seems like at this point and time that hair should just be hair.
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