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Is Long Hair on Middle-Aged Women That Controversial?

Should middle-aged women wear their hair long? The majority of you say there's no such thing as "too old" for long hair, but it's the argument that won't go away. In an article for the New York Times, 55-year-old Dominique Browning discusses the subject at length. An excerpt:

No one seems to have any problems when a woman of a certain age cuts her hair off. It is considered the appropriate thing to do, as if being shorn is a way of releasing oneself from the locks of the past. I can see the appeal, and have, at times in my life, gone that route. Some women want to wash the men (or jobs) right out of their hair. Others of us have to have at them with scissors. Again, I do not judge. Go right ahead, be a 60-year-old pixie. So why do people judge middle-aged long hair so harshly?

But do they? It seems as though long, graying hair is more celebrated than mocked. Then again, I'm not yet middle-aged, so I can't speak from experience. Or maybe it's a generational thing, because lots of people my age find long hair attractive on older women. What do you think? Is hair length controversial on women of a certain age?

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Join The Conversation
deanna024 deanna024 5 years
I have never heard of this. As long as the woman is happy with her hair whatever length and it's in good condition (some times, lack of hormones can deplete nutrients) and easy for her to style, who cares?
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 5 years
I really dislike all the comments saying women with short hair look like men or lesbians by the way. I find it just as ignorant, but with that aside I don't think you should have to cut your hair when you're older. In fact with the loss of collagen it's probably softens the lines of the face to have longer hair. I think I assumed most older women did it because of thinning hair more than anything else. Or the continuation of the short hair do they started sporting when they became moms. I know it was really popular with my mother's age group to wear shorter easier hair styles starting around 30.
Burkina Burkina 5 years
It is HUGE deal. People look down on older women with long hair. A lot of them cut it out of pressure.
Rouge14 Rouge14 5 years
wow I hadn't realised i'd written so much stuff :s
Rouge14 Rouge14 5 years
I don't know about everyone else's choice, and I believe it is up to someone and only to them what length they want their hair to be, however old they may be. All I know is my mum has always had her hair short, and used to express her femininity by wearing high heels and skirts (she actually went through a phase when she hit 40 of only wearing mini skirts, that was not a good phase :s) but since she's put on weight and started having problems with her feet, she can no longer wear high heels, and gave up on skirts (mini or not) as well, and I just don't see a womanly model in her, wether it's in her appearance or in her behavior. (But of course there are many very feminine short haired women out there, my mum just isn't one of them, maybe because she had to play both mum and dad to me and my siblings, I'm not really sure) There's also the fact that she forced me to have a pixie cut from the day I grew my first hair until I was 8 years old, and hearing people (may I add, stupid people) say things like "aww what a polite/nice/cute little boy" for 8 years when really I was such a girly girl (playing with barbie dolls, wearing flowery dresses, and all) was kind of a traumatise to me, and from the day I managed to convince her to let me wear my hair long, I promised myself I never would have it short ever again, and I actually think that because so many women cut their hair short and go a usually similar haircut when they reach a certain age, it kind of makes it the "middle aged woman cut" to me (no offence to anyone who might feel concerned :s), and I don't want to be wearing it, and I think some women look absolutely stunning with long hair no matter how old they may be so why not go with it! (it's all in the face shape I guess, and the same thing goes with short hair, it doesn't suit everyone, not everyone is lucky like Audrey Hepburn, who both short and long hair looked great on). So my final take on this is, I personnaly am not a big fan of short hair for middle aged women, BUT it does look great on some of them, and if they're happy with it, good for them...and if women of that age range want to keep their hair long, good for them too, at the end of the day it's them who have to live with their hair, so if they're happy with the way it is, that's all that should matter, and not some society hair fashion rule. I know I'll keep my hair long, and if it bothers anyone, trust me, they won't be disapointed with what I'd have to answer their criticism with! :P
AmberHoney AmberHoney 5 years
I"m truly getting tired of debating this subject. It's rather senseless; how do you know if the woman is over 50, she usually has manhair. Who made this rule, who's enforcing it, and why does it matter? I'm "older" have long hair (middle of my back) and never once has someone asked me "when are you gonna cut your hair, you're over 50." I am often asked who colors my hair "my hubby, of course."
Pistil Pistil 5 years
short hair=lesbian? Sheesh. Short hair can be flattering too. I've always wondered what I'll do with my hair in time. It's never been shorter than my shoulders (which I consider too short!). Short hair might suit me, if only I had a personal hair stylist fix it for me everyday. Whatever.
Sally-Says Sally-Says 5 years
My hair is bra-strap length - probably too long for my age (44). But once when I was carded at a liquor store, the clerk looked at my license, said "no way" and then told me I should never cut my hair. So I say whatever works for you.
Choco-cat Choco-cat 5 years
i'm with kohina - i actually have "long" hair for my age (supposedly), a lot of women in my family wear their hair long and i don't see a problem with it; but when it starts thinning and looks bad long - regardless of your age - don't wear it long.
Marian55 Marian55 5 years
I'm 55 and my hair is long for the first time in my life. I am finding it much more versatile than short hair and I have no intention to cut it.
kohina kohina 5 years
After re-reading the NYT article there's one exception to my opinion that I can understand and that's women with thinning hair. I could understand if your hair had become reaaaallly thin over time you'd want the best hairstyle to cover it and sometimes those are shorter styles. But if your hair is thick why ruin a good thing just because you've reached a certain age? Silly stuff.
bryseana bryseana 5 years
I have never heard of this. Why does it matter? My mom is 60 and her hair is past her shoulders. I think it looks good on her.
kohina kohina 5 years
I don't think it's controversial but I think long hair definitely looks better. I stated in the "beauty looks you can't stand" thread that I hate middle aged women with short hair. It's like as soon as you turn 50, women are expected to get haircuts that makes them look like giant lesbians (which I think is fine if you're an actual lesbian). I definitely don't think it makes older women look more distinguished when they cut their hair short. Sure it cuts down on styling time but I don't think it's a fair trade off (because it just looks ugly). Honestly I think short hair is unflattering on almost everyone (except for people like Mia Farrow) but it's especially unflattering on older women. It just shows that you don't care anymore and are willing to blindly conform to norms that don't make a whole lotta sense.
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
Ladyseven, I think a lot probably do. I love short hair, but now that mine's longer, I find it's actually easier to deal with because I don't have to keep it trimmed to look nice. In general, I feel like people should just wear their hair the way they want to. The NYT story felt a bit like a non-issue, and defensive of something that doesn't really need defending.
stephley stephley 5 years
I think longer hair on a lot of older women kind of draws their faces down. Obviously it depends on the person, but I do think whether short or long, styling hair after a certain age makes a good difference.
kmbieker kmbieker 5 years
My mom's hair is really, really long (longer than mid-way down her back) and I told my hairdresser that and she couldn't believe my mom's hair was so long. She's 51, but her hair is super thick and dark dark brown (nearly black) and it just looks good on her. I couldn't imagine her with a pixie cut.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 5 years
I don't see why it should be an issue or why people feel the need to impose ideas about someone should look onto others. Wear your hair however you want. It's nobody else's business or their concern.
bunnyhorse bunnyhorse 5 years
I have always wondered about this, too! I think women should do what looks good on them and not what other people think is "proper." I hope my hair is healthy enough to wear long when I'm old. If it's not, I'll go back to the pixie cut I had when I was 14 (which drew lots of controversy at my high school!) One thing I don't want is the big hair that so many older ladies have here in Texas. It's weird. They look like they have cotton candy on their heads.
zeze zeze 5 years
I hate how women cut their hair off when they hit middle age. They all start to look like feminine men.
Ladyseven Ladyseven 5 years
I had no idea this was an actual issue. I just assumed most older ladies go for the chop because it's easier to deal with, and quicker to style.
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