Blue Hair Blues

In recent years fashion has adapted to allow what society has traditionally called “crazy” colours into mainstream life. What was once considered deviant behaviour is idolised and strived for. The reactions to walking around with brightly coloured hair ranges from the, “Oh my God, I love your hair” to “You are such a good person, why would you do that to yourself?” Responses to the positive are a lot easier to deal with than the negative.

Society – and each individual as part of this collective – looks at the way you dress, the way you carry yourself and judges whether you are worthy to be a part of it. Tattoos, piercings, and hair colours that don’t fall under the category of natural are therefore considered unprofessional. This can make it extremely difficult to land that dream job of yours.

Kyeanna Henry, a peer mentors here at Richmond University and a staff member at the Richmond Free Press, applied for a job working at Starbucks over the summer with blue hair. She was offered the job under the condition that she would hide her hair while she was working. Due to the placement of the blue hair dye the only thing Kyeanna could do was dye her hair back to her natural colour. “I knew I was going to have a hard time getting a job with the blue hair but I expected it. I don’t think it should really matter though, my blue hair is not going to impact the way I treat my customers.”

While bright coloured hair will not affect the way workers treat other people, the same cannot be said about those around them. Kyeanna and I had a conversation about how each generation treats people with coloured hair. We have found from personal experience that we both believe people in their late thirties to mid-fifties seem to be the most judgemental. Obviously this is a broad statement and doesn’t apply to everyone who fits into this category.

When little kids see you and start jumping up and down saying, “Mom look, its a mermaid,” or “I want my hair like that”, and when elderly women come up to you proud of their own purple/blue streaks in their hair, it can really emphasize the negative comments from those who do not support this type of creative and individualistic statement.

No one should be able to tell you what to do with your body let alone your hair. Yet, in today’s society it can be extremely difficult to find a place if you do not conform to the majority. Intelligence, skill, and personality are the only things employers should take into account because they are the only things that truly matter when performing a job.

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