©2019 Rachel Wong.

My femininity is more than my hair


Panama Rachel! Photo courtesy of Jenny Lam.

At the time of writing this, I've had my hair short for 9 months (!!!). It's crazy to see how time has passed, and also how natural this feels. As much as I miss my long hair from time to time, I have really come to enjoy this style. It was especially useful over the summer to keep cool, but get back to me in a few months when we're in the thick of winter!


For now, though, I'm really, really enjoying it.


But I want to address something the misconception of who I have become with my short hair. And as a preface of sorts before I really launch into it, writing this has been on my heart for a while. This is not my way of outing people who have said things to me about my short hair. Rather, I want to provide one point of view on femininity and how it is more than about hair.

Many people have been kind about my hair. I appreciate the curiosity around why such a drastic change, how short hair compares to long hair, and questions around whether I will go long again (the answer? Probably at some point!). But of course, there are always critics. I have found that many, if not all, of the critiques that I have faced all center around my femininity. People have expressed genuine concern about what this means for my femininity, how secure I am about my femininity, and my ability to date.


While I appreciate the concern, and I thank folks for their concern, I do feel that it is misplaced. It's sounding the alarm on something that — at least for me — is a non-issue. 9 months ago, I did write about the catharsis that came with finally cutting off my hair — a sort of 'new hair, new me' type of thing. But I don't think that getting a cut like this necessarily means that I'm cutting out my femininity, or even that making the decision to go for the cut in the first place means that I'm insecure.


At an event I was at recently, Catholic fashion designer Sabina Kasprzak (from House of Ladey) said it best: "We're at a time where there is a blurring of masculine and feminine". Whether it's fashion or identity, this blurring is causing a great sense of confusion, and I think that this is the root of where this misplaced alarm comes from.


Being a woman today is hard. From the gender pay gap to #MeToo, the odds are stacked against us all because of who we are as women. But one thing we can be sure of is our identity. As women, we are daughters of God. This is where our femininity lies. We have a sense of responsibility to be nurturing, empathetic, sensitive, and spread beauty in the world through our unique gifts.


If we're talking about insecurity in femininity, this happened way before I had my hair cut. In fact, I'm willing to bet that regardless of what length a woman's hair is, insecurity in femininity still exists. But that insecurity comes from the lies that we see in the media about what a woman should look like, what a woman should be, and how a woman should act. I spent years crying myself to sleep because I wasn't skinny and because my acne was out of control. In gym locker rooms, I changed away from everyone else because their stomachs were flat and mine definitely wasn't. To be brutally honest, it sucked.


But it took a long time for God to show me that femininity and beauty is so much more than the outside. It first requires trust in Him: that He loved us first, and because He loves us, He sent His only son to die for us on the cross (John 3:16). After a lot of interior searching and resting in the Lord, the hair was no big deal for me, since my femininity lies in my identity as a daughter of God. I'm confident in that because I know who I am and whose I am.


And with regards to dating, I've definitely heard the sentiment that men prefer long hair over short hair. If that's true, then there's nothing I can do about that. But I can be confident knowing that if God has someone for me, He will make that happen in His time. For now, all I can do is grow in my own femininity and identity to prepare for whoever comes my way to be a loving partner and spouse to them. It's difficult to be patient, but with the patience comes growth and learning to love ourselves better.

Woman or man, we are valuable, unique, and pearls of great price. We can never be duplicated or repeated, and our identity as sons and daughters of the King can never be taken away from us. Regardless of the length of your hair, be confident knowing that there is a God who loves you and constantly invites you into a deeper relationship with Him.


/R

Speaking of femininity, you know I host a podcast, right? It's called The Feminine Genius Podcast, and you can listen to it on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher. Inspired by Pope St. John Paul II's Letter to Women, it's all about the feminine genius and how different women are living it out in their own unique ways based on the gifts that God has blessed them with. I would love it if you took a listen and shared it with your friends!