Settle Down, Hair Designers

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.

The show "Damages" is all about how obsessed Glenn Close is with seeking justice, but they leave out the part of her taking hours to do whatever it takes to get your hair to do that.
The show “Damages” is all about how obsessed Glenn Close is with seeking justice, but they leave out the part of her taking hours to do whatever it takes to get your hair to do that.

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!”

scarlett johansson Avengers hairAnd 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.

They even do it to Thor! Once hair gets to a certain length, boom, soft curls.
Thor is not immune. Once hair gets to a certain length, boom, soft curls.

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.


Add yours →

  1. I will not hear ONE SINGLE BAD WORD about Thor. Trash Hawkeye and Black Widow, fine. But leave that gorgeous Asgardian out of it.


  2. I was laughing because it’s so true. How can a TV or movie star get caught in an explosion and come through it with a few scratches and perfect hair. I get caught in an explosion and my hair is standing on end, on fire and I’m missing a limb or two. It’s simply not fair.


  3. Maybe you just need to raise your standards in real world women.

    My hair looks perfect all of the time. I wake up like this!


  4. Having been follically challenged for at least 35 years I have noticed this phenomenon, but the mysteries of hair are well beyond my scope now. When I first saw Persis Khambatta in Star Trek The Motion Picture I realized that hair wasn’t even necessary.


  5. Well, my hair is shoulder length and loosely curled. I get a perm a couple of times a year. I wash my hair two or three times a week, comb it, and let it dry. No blow dryer. My hair is pretty much perfect all the time. I remember on an episode of Sex and the City when Carrie Bradshaw told Burger, the guy she was dating, that New York women don’t wear scrunchies. I’m not a New York woman, but I don’t wear scrunchies. I did when I worked in the nursing home and then in the acute care clinic. I needed my hair out of the way. Maybe my hair is perfect now because I’m living in a movie of my life. Gnomes probably sneak in to style my hair while I’m sleeping. Later on, Burger (I hope I’m spelling his character’s last name correctly; I can’t remember his first name) broke up with Carrie with a post-it note. The police caught her smoking a little something while she was out with the girls, who in real life probably hate her because she makes so much money. Miranda the lawyer got her off because even the police understood the significance of being broken-up with by post-it note. This stuff might not seem real to you, but I assure you it is. My ex-husband had me served with divorce papers the day I got home from the hospital after I broke my back. He would have had me served in the hospital, but he didn’t like to look bad. Anyway, my hair looked great that day, too. An occupational therapist helped me take a shower and wash my hair before I left the hospital. Taking off the back brace to get in the shower was quite painful.



  6. One of the things my wife & I are always amused by is how women in movie & TV are always able to maintain perfect hair even post-coitus.


  7. Questions about perfectly-maintained hair during an apocalypse/alien attack/whatever aside, I’m usually more concerned with whether or not our hero ever gets a chance to poop. Take FOX’s 24, for example. Each episode is an hour of Jack Bauer’s day. Does he ever get like, five minutes to himself where he can just be all, “Hang on, terrorists. Don’t launch those nukes yet. Don’t… Don’t annihilate my country yet. Can I just have a second? I really have to poop, you guys. Please. For the love of God.”


  8. Your powers of perception are impressive, my young padawan. Now, return to Galaxy Blue and enjoy the beauty that is you. HERE.


  9. Yeah, I used to know a woman who was a news anchor. She had curly hair which was just NOT acceptable. Every day they would straighten it, then arrange it in loose curls, and then spray a bottle of Aqua Net on it so that there was no chance of it moving when she gently turned her head to sneer at her co-anchor.


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