X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

Sorry Laurie Penny, but the patriarchy likes short hair

28 January 2014

3:34 PM

28 January 2014

3:34 PM

Boy oh boy do I feel sorry for Laurie Penny. I hope that’s not a sexist thing to say. There she is, doing what she does, churning out perfectly harmless po-mo guff for the New Statesman about ‘why the patriarchy fears scissors‘ because ‘short hair is a political statement’ — and people seem to hate her for it, as if she were saying  something dangerously wrong.

‘If you’ve a ladyboner for sexist schmuckweasels,’ says Penny, ‘short hair isn’t going to help, although they might let you administer a disappointing hand-job.’ Top drawer prose, that — witty, rude, could be a quote from Lena Dunham’s Girls, everything a good New Statesman or Guardian article should be. It’s not my bag, but then I don’t have a ladyboner for schmuckweasels, sexist or not. I can see, however, that it serves a purpose journalistically and far be it from me to stand in the way of women talking about hair.

[Alt-Text]


But poor Penny really got it in the neck from the sisters of social media. In sticking up for short hair, she had alienated and offended the longer-haired sorority, as well as black women, somehow. ‘Long hair with ragged ends does NOT conform to patriarchal beauty standards,’ said @Exlancestrian (#childfree #atheist). ‘If women like laurie penny want to dismiss me because of my long hair, then to use her words, we’re wasting less of each others’ time,’ said @jaythenerdkid.  ‘Having long hair that you do NOTHING with apart from tying it back has a similar not-playing-the-game message,’ added @decadentmadamez. ‘Whites [with] long hair contributes to the patriarchy and institutional racism against afro-haired ppl,’ insisted @chantalfresh, perhaps ironically.

It all got a bit much for Penny. She had a panic attack and had to remove
herself from Twitter around midnight:

Well, I suppose if you are going to stand atop the sexist superstructure shouting vagina, you expect a bit of abuse. But it doesn’t seem fair when the aggression comes from people who should be on your side – i.e. other women who spend their lives on the internet talking about their genitals in the context of the male hegemony.

What was missed amid all the squabbling was whether Penny had a point about male attitudes to short hair. For what it’s worth, I don’t think she does. Men don’t fear short hair on a woman. Most of us quite like it, depending on the shape of said woman’s head. What we don’t like is  men with long hair. I even like Laurie Penny’s hairstyle, dammit, though I find the Sharon Osbourne-esque colouring off-putting. I must be threatened by it.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close