Do Not Touch: Hair As An Expression of Identity

Hair is part of a person’s identity. It reflects cultural pride, self-respect and beauty. Industries, schools and workplaces have interfered with people’s choice of hairstyles, claiming that certain ones go against their dress code policy.

Schools throughout the nation have been calling out students for their hairstyles. Some schools’ district policies do not allow males to wear their hair in a style that extends past the collarbone, earlobes and eyes when let down. This type of policy is viewed as the school districts shaming males, but glorifying women for having long hair.

Although a hairstyle is not a verbal form of communication, some courts have come to accept the fact that non-verbal communication is still protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

On the other hand, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed such claims. For they perceive “grooming regulations to be reasonable means of furthering the school board’s undeniable interest in teaching hygiene, instilling discipline, asserting authority, and compelling uniformity.”

It is possible for hair to be altered by cutting, straightening or dying it. A person’s hair length or style should not be ridiculed for interfering with them and their colleague’s education or work. It’s completely unfair to correlate people’s performance abilities with the style of their hair.

Dress code policies at school or work embrace diversity, but it appears that they lack inclusion. They only promote specific beauty standards while ignoring culture, natural beauty and individuality. It is adopting standards that are rooted back to white beauty norms and enforcing stereotypes onto people.

Society has been compelled to measure up to white standards: devaluing natural beauty, disrespecting race, history, political stance and self-worth.

These standards are completely unobtainable because everyone comes from a different background.

Hairstyle trends are constantly changing, for it reflects a person’s individuality. Hair is a topic that has been long misunderstood. It is no longer just a visual representation of physical beauty, but it represents what we believe in, which a society should never attempt to control.

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