What is it about young Hollywood women and their hair? A couple of years ago I wrote a piece about the reaction to Emma Watson's haircut that got page views for months and months. People were shocked that the young woman who was required to have her hair long for the Harry Potter movies would want to exhibit a sign of independence and closure from that chapter in her life by cutting her hair.
Well now Miley Cyrus – of Hannah Montana fame – has gone off and done the same thing, and some of the reactions on twitter from her fans were evil and mean. It wasn't like she hacked off her hair in the bathroom in a freak out fit (which is what some people are thinking) since she got high profile hair dresser Chris McMillan (who cut Jennifer Aniston's Rachel hairdo) to do the deed in his salon.
What I see from the picture is a 19 year old recently engaged woman who is stepping out and establishing her own identity. That's something that all young people go through, except in the age of twitter anything a celeb does is so public. Granted, Cyrus tweeted the initial photos herself which reeked of happiness, joy and freedom.
Several blogs have commented that her hair cut must be part of a precipitous decline and that it is some kind of cry for help. Some douchebag LA psychologist Dr. Seth Meyers (who has never treated her) said that her haircut "seems stuck in a set of compulsive behaviors that cry out for attention." I just pity all of Dr. Meyers' patients because he has got to be a terrible shrink to say this stuff in public about someone he has never met. The doctor went on to compare Cyrus to Britney Spears who shaved her head in the middle of a very public meltdown which her career has never recovered from.
But again, what is it about short hair and young women that make people freak out? Is it that they are showing that they are no longer little girls? Is it about her sexuality? Are people afraid that she is gay? I hope people remember that she announced her engagement to Liam Hemsworth not too long ago so it doesn't seem that she will be coming out any time soon.
I still don't really get how we equate haircuts with freak outs. Mary Elizabeth Williams agrees and says in a recent piece in Salon:
A young woman changing her look in a way that doesn’t scream, “Please, world, love me because I am a Victoria’s Secret model,” right now, in the year of our Lord 2012, freaks people out. It actually makes them wonder if she’s lost her mind.
I think it's about expectations. Miley was groomed to be the girl next door. She fulfilled that role for several years and then had enough. She moved on, but the expectations of who Miley should be seem to want her to remain that cute little girl who was in Hannah Montana. The challenges of growing up in the public eye have never been more difficult.
Yet, ironically, what seems to other folks as a cry for help actually makes me smile because it shows she has guts and individuality. I'm thinking that there is actually hope for this young woman. Maybe she'll be able to take her career to the next level.
Miley Cyrus haircut shocker: Short hair isn’t a cry for help (Salon)