Being a watcher of movies and television, there’s one thing that will inevitably take me out of the immersive fiction: hair design. Without fail, no matter the circumstance, no matter the ethnicity, women will always have hair that’s loosely curled. It doesn’t matter the ethnicity, the hair will be draped to the shoulders and given that perfect curl.
A show about a workaholic whose family is constantly crying about how she doesn’t have time for them, apparently that mother will still have time to meticulously curl her hair every morning. Action movie with things exploding all around, lots of running or fleeing on motorcycles, and the hair magically stays curled. Strung out drug addict? Make her eyes look a little sunken in, maybe toss a curl out of place, but otherwise, perfectly coifed. Just got out of prison? Well done, prison salon because the hair is immaculate. Peasant women with the plague during the dark ages somehow have access to curling tools in the magical thinking of movies. You know what you never see on television? A ponytail.
Without insider knowledge, my guess is that these people who are hired to craft hair, do not care about realism, they are only concerned about their art appearing on screen. Realism isn’t even entertained, it’s immediately dismissed as the suggestion of a lunatic.
I don’t think it’s necessarily sexism. It could be, but I think it’s more of a sense of narcissism on the behalf of the hair dresser that they can’t imagine hair that’s anything less than a portrait of their skill as a crafter of follicles.
Can you imagine the hellfire that would rain down if someone allowed a black woman to keep her hair au natural? “That’s too curly! You burn that hair straight, then reverse engineer less-tight curls!”
And I’m sorry if you have been blissfully watching television and movies for years and not noticed this phenomenon, because it will become immediately apparent and distracting. Maybe this is a leftover vestige of my own ingrained sexism. I should allow women in media to look fabulous despite the circumstance, I mean, how many goofy toupees of Nicholas Cage have I overlooked? I was completely immersed in The Avengers, despite there being the presence of Greek Gods, aliens, and a general acceptance of a Jeremy Renner as a person they would hang out with let alone tolerate his odd expressionless face, but I couldn’t get past Scarlett Johansson’s constantly perfectly coifed mane.
I’m not asking for bed head throughout a movie or close-ups on split-ends, but maybe a woman who cuts her hair short because she’s too busy or straight hair that just sits there or a ponytail.