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.

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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: