Blond Ambition

by Tracee Sioux

When you write about issues effecting daughters, you put a lot of thought into personal action that might not have carried much meaning before.

For instance, having written that women should consider how their daughters will feel before reconstructing perceived flaws through surgery in My Face/Her Face I have to wonder how far I must take the you’re beautiful the way God made you message.

Does that make it wrong for me to color my hair? Am I now restricted to only allow myself my natural color? Am I making Ainsley feel bad about her light brown hair (which is my natural color) by bleaching and coloring my hair? Am I harming her self esteem?

I was a natural blond as a child. I’m not over it. Okay? I’m just not. I want to be a blond. My hair got darker around the 5th or 6th grade and I wasn’t thrilled when I saw myself in a picture. I’ve pretty much been bleaching it since the 7th grade. Blonds have more fun. Blonds are prettier. Blonds are younger. Blonds are more exciting. I think you look great as a brunette. But I, my inner self or my own internal picture of me, is a blond.

I don’t feel as pretty if I don’t have blond streaks. Sometimes I like to put red in it. Sometimes I really enjoy the contrast between the dark brown and the sun-streaked blond. Last Spring I loved my pink streaks amidst the blond. I like the feeling I get when I make a big change, but I like it most when there is blond involved.

I’ll probably never develop a deep satisfaction in my natural color. For one thing, by now it’s probably got some gray in it and I’d color it anyway. I may never get over it – and why should I? There is nothing permanent about hair.

However, after reading my friend Jennifer’s blog A Free Haircut is Always a Super Cut arguing that professional hair color is an expensive luxury. I decided I could give up my blond – for a little while – to free up the $60 it costs me to have it done. We’re buying a house and that 60 bucks, as well as the gym membership, can go to the mortgage.

I went for my natural Light Golden Brown first. Boring. Boring. Boring. I went back for the Dark Auburn last night – I can at least give myself a hint of drama.

And Ainsley, I’ve already colored her hair twice – once with pink streaks and once with red. She even had pink extensions glued in for a while. She asked for it and I couldn’t think of a reason not to.

So, if Ainsley is going to get a message I hope it’s this, You have the freedom to have whatever color of hair you want. You can reinvent yourself every season if you feel like it. But, keep it in perspective – if it’s between buying a house or being a blond – the house should win every time.

Who knew I had this much to say about hair:

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#1 Marjorie on 11.12.07 at 5:10 pm

This is something I think about quite a bit, too. I’m not sure where the line is between doing things to myself for vanity and doing things because I enjoy it–and what about the ol’ sacred art of self-decoration? I finally started going back to a real hair place recently, and it would take a lot to ever make me give it up. I love going for reasons beyond just my hair, and I have left behind my guilt over it–usually.

You give Ainsley such healthy and thoughtful views on womanhood and girlhood. I love your hair-coloring thoughts. Hair can reflect creativity and personality just like clothes and anything else. Pink streaks are fantastic.

(I “tagged” you for a meme just now–only if you’re in the mood sometime. It was an excuse for me to come over here to tell you that I’m so happy to have been reading your blog recently. I love it.)

#2 Tracee on 11.12.07 at 6:40 pm

Thanks Marjorie. I’m sure I’m not completely done with blond, but for a while . . .

I think Ainsley will enjoy the fact that I’ll let her color her hair when she wants to.

Which is not to say that I think her natural hair isn’t perfect the way it is.

I’m bopping over right now for the meme!

#3 Violet on 11.12.07 at 7:58 pm

While I advocate for more natural beauty in theory, it gets more uncomfortable when those theories might make friends feel guilty for not liking their natural hair/breasts/spindly eyelashes.

Where to draw the line? I don’t dye my hair, but I pluck my eyebrows, smooth down my curly hair and I don’t embrace my natural lip color. I do hope women will not let themselves be defined by their looks, and yet I think we all have a right to individual expression and self determination about our own bodies (my body, my choice). Hair styles and color can be fun and creative.

I will say that I know a whole slew of women with overprocessed and unnatural looking bleached hair who I think would look really lovely in their natural hair color. I know a few gothy girls who dye their hair jet black every month, and I think the same thing about them.

#4 Violet on 11.12.07 at 8:26 pm

By the way, love the auburn! You look really pretty.

#5 Billy on 11.12.07 at 10:13 pm

Too many women buy into the “blonde’s have more fun thing” and can’t see that the hair really doesn’t flatter them.

There is someone for everyone, but most guys really do prefer girls who sport a natural look. There’s nothing worse than the pretty girl next door who dyes her hair hooker blonde and sprays on a tan.

#6 Tracee on 11.12.07 at 10:22 pm

It may surprise you Billy – but I don’t do it for men at all. I do it for women. It’s female judgement I get my hair colored for.

I figured out you guys – except for a few shallow ones – don’t care about a size 0 or the perfect blond highlights or the trendiest top – about 10 years ago. I know my husband doesn’t care. And only one boyfriend I’ve ever had really cared.

But, I like when other women tell me my hair looks great. I feel bad when other women make derogatory comments about my hair (and it’s unbelievable how many of them actually have).

#7 Tracee on 11.12.07 at 10:24 pm

Violet – aren’t I some form of blond in your head when you think of Me though?

When I look at that picture of me up there – it feels like I’m looking at not-quite me.

#8 Violet on 11.12.07 at 11:57 pm

Yeah, I was thinking of that too. You will always be blonde in my head. Your auburn hair looks lovely in the picture, but I think I might freak out if I saw you in real life.

And who the hell am I if you go brown? You know you’re the sexy blonde, and I’m the sultry brunette!

My hair color is just as much a part of my identity. If I started turning blonde, I would feel like I was losing part of me.

#9 Blond Ambition II — The Girl Revolution on 12.15.09 at 1:44 pm

[...] I’m sorry. I just can not feel like Tracee Sioux with plain brown hair. [...]

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