A (new) hairstyle can make a strong statement. It can speak volumes, for example about the end of a relationship, the start of a new job, or the beginning of a new phase in life. By committing to a new hairstyle, a woman determines how to present herself to the world. Short hairstyles in particular make a strong statement about female empowerment, self-confidence, and a willingness to reject rigid beauty norms. On the other hand, not changing your hairstyle and being known for a signature look can emphasise character and a strong attitude. For example, Victoria Beckham first cemented her reputation as a classy fashion plate when her sleek Bob earned her the nickname Posh Spice. She has returned to the classic look time and again over the years, becoming ever posher as she changed careers from singer to fashion designer. Even more true to her signature Bob, Anna Wintour has kept the exact same style her entire adult life. In fact, the powerful editor has reputedly worn her immaculately fringed ‘do since the age of 14, giving her an air of reliability at the helm of the fickle fashion world’s prime publication. Another beacon of style and substance, Jamie Lee Curtis has sported a stunning Pixie for so long, she is virtually unrecognisable with long hair. In the 1980s, the cropped look was a way to set herself apart from the Hollywood crowd, today it underlines her status as a strong, confident style icon.
Cultures around the world assign significant meaning to hairstyles. Hair is often considered a symbol of power, usually connected to gender and sexuality. A woman’s hair, in particular, often indicates her marital status, and long hair is mostly associated with femininity. In Western culture, women’s hairstyles have traditionally been longer than men’s hairstyles. Although these beauty standards gradually relaxed over the course of the 20th century, short hair is still a bold choice for most women.