Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hair Wins the War

I change for no man!

That’s right—I said it. I have never changed my hairstyle to suit a man, well, directly that is. I have adopted a new do hoping it would be more generally attractive, and that could mean more pleasing to men in general. But I have never listened to any man tell me what my hair should look like (except that one fabulous stylist I had when I lived in Boston and I paid him too much money but damn did he make me look good!).

Honestly, no man has ever had the audacity to tell me what my hair should look like. Perhaps I exude “punch you in the face” too much, or maybe the hairstyles I choose don’t attract guys that would tell me how to wear my hair. Either, way, I have never changed my hairstyle for a man.

But, like so many jiu jitsu women, I have tampered with my hair countless times in the past two years in order to get better play on the mat. I’ve tried long, short, long with one pony, long with two ponies, bangs, no bangs. (I have never done the bathing cap thing—I’m not sure I could get used to it.)

Just how common a concern this is for fighting ladies can be seen by a quick google of “jiu jitsu hair” and of course, taking a look at MegJitsu’s “hair club for women” and reading Megan’s efforts to tame her grappling locks.

But did you know that “fighting women” have been worrying about their hair for many generations?

During WWII, women stepped up en masse to work in factories for the war effort while men were away fighting. Let me acknowledge that poor women of any generation have always had to work, but the conditions of war made a swift culture shift for most middle class women (one that was promptly reversed upon the return of their men). And this shift in culture demanded a shift in style. If they were going to fight the war from the factories, their old hairdo just wasn’t going to cut it.

Here we see Veronica Lake pioneering this change (although I’m pretty sure all she did was change her hairstyle, not work in a factory). The whole campaign was called “Hair Wins the War.” It’s so true, right? You really can’t win anything if your hair is constantly being pulled.

This fall I had another jiu jitsu hair “makeover.” Husband, who usually doesn’t notice that I’ve even have hair, said it looked like a helmet. But one of my training partners said, “This hairstyle’s working for you.” TP didn’t mean he liked it. He was saying that, as a training partner, my hair was not getting in the way as much. This hairstyle is a better jiu jitsu fit.

To be fair to Husband, he now insists that it was just the way my stylist blew it dry that was distasteful to him. I’m glad he got used to it, because if hair wins the war, it looks like this hairstyle is here to stay.


  1. Why do all hairstylists love to blow-dry and style every short cut so that it looks like a mushroom head? It must be some big joke they learn in stylists' school.

    When I had short hair, I always told them, don't dry it, don't style it, just leave it like this. Then I went outside, bent over, and shook my head hard.

    1. You are so right...they make it look like a mushroom! What is up with that? Husband was having none of it. He says he likes it now. I suppose he has no other choice, unless he wants to start grappling.

  2. It looks like Lake has quasi-adopted the Ronda Rousey "two buns on the cowlicks spots" solution.

    That might be the way forwards for a long-haired person (not necessarily a woman) to grapple, but I dunno. I haven't grappled with long hair ever - just had it shoulder length in my experimental college phase.

    Ugh. I wish I hadn't experimented that much and gotten down to brass tacks faster.

    1. DefGrappler, I'm going to bet that you wouldn't actually erase your experimental phase if you could. Perhaps at one point experimenting is what made you start jiu jitsu?

      lol veronica Lake = Rhonda Rousey!!!


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