Fashion. T-shirts, jeans, hoodies, crew necks, collars, tennis shoes, casual shoes, skateboard shoes, caps, beanies, rings, bows. These are all accessories that we equip on to ourselves and contribute to an individual’s fashion. But fashion is not limited to what we simply put on every morning, or in my case the night before. Fashion refers to the way one presents his or herself so it includes hairstyle, long nails, short nails, make up or no make up and etc. It is more than just a word to categorize how you present yourself, it describes who you are and is a part of your identity.
There are some people who ridicule fashion and don’t care what they wear. They say that people shouldn’t be judged on how they dress. This is true. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but how you think and how you identify yourself correlates to how you are presented. For all those who don’t care what they wear are under the category of people who don’t care what they look like. Even though there seems to be no standard for this specific type of fashion, there is; people who don’t care about how they look in public belong in the category of people who don’t care about how they look in public. This means that they are a reserved character and are most likely less materialistic and conscious about social status than most people.
Fashion is also used to make a statement. In middle school, I went through a dramatic transition in how I presented myself in public. Back then, having long hair was the cool thing to do. Prior to those days, I didn’t care about what kind of hair I had but when I entered middle school, I wanted to conform and identify myself with others through growing out my hair. It sounds silly but it was how I felt. I wanted to belong with others and for others to identify me as a part of a group of people.
I think that the feeling of being a part of something had a big influence on my opinion of my hairstyle. Isn’t that what all people wish for- to be somewhere they belong, to be a part of a society no matter how big or small. This was my wish. I wanted to be a part of that punk kids with long hair and were anti conformists. Through fashion I was able to shout to the world who I was and by doing so make a statement about myself.
This however, was a fashion “crime.” I grew my hair out until it reached my eyes. Even though my thin hair made my head look like a mushroom, I took pride in it. My family however, didn’t. I grew out my hair against my parent’s will. They didn’t like the fact that I had the same hair as my friends because they thought that my friends were being bad influences on me. In Chinese culture, you are heavily judged by whom you associate and identify yourself with. My deep rooted grandparents saw my long hair as a wrong turn in life.
They didn’t like that, through my hair, I was identifying myself as a punk rock kid who were socially viewed as loud, rude and bad to the public. On and on I would hear them mention my hair whenever I saw my grandparents and they would worry about how I am doing in school, thinking that the way I presented myself revealed a steep change in my behavior and study habits. Instead of worrying about how long my hair was, according to Chinese culture, I needed to worry about my school work and hanging out with people that were smart and looked like they had a bright future ahead of them. In an attempt to “save” me, my grandparents would constantly lecture me on how people are influenced by the people they associate with and that associating with successful people with make you successful.
Having long hair was the rebel thing to do. Teachers would think that you were a trouble maker if you were a guy with long hair. They would have a tighter leash on you and wouldn’t give you the benefit of the doubt.
My long hair also tore away at my masculinity. Guys have short hair, girls get long hair. That’s the way society categorizes hair with sexuality. The guys that kept their hair short would look down on people who grew their hair out and would think that they were physically superior because of it. Adults were the same way. They would say that men should only grow their hair out to a certain length and once it got to long, you needed to cut it.
For a period of time, the more crap I got for having long hair, the longer I wanted to have it. It told others that I didn’t give a damn about what they thought and that I wasn’t going to conform to society.
I had a different experience in public with long hair than I do with short hair today. I normally buzz my hair because I no longer prefer long hair. With shorter hair, I feel that I command the respect of others more than I did with long hair. People take me more seriously and treat me better. Having long hair was an interesting experience. I now fashion my hair accordingly to how I feel is most comfortable. I started to hate the way my hair felt when I woke up in the morning so I decided to just cut it and that was the end of Rayshone with long hair.