I have stark memories of being stuck in a hair salon in high school, anxiously flipping through the various magazines and coffee table books of hairstyles, desperate to find something remotely close to the type of gay locks my teenage self wanted to sport. I could tell the hair dresser the buzz words “pixie cut,” I could point to some gossip mag photos of Katie Holmes, but never was the result anything like the homo hair I dreamed of.
Many years and an address in Brooklyn later, I’m lucky enough to go to a gay owned salon where the descriptors “low maintenance,” “vaguely asymmetrical” and “queer” get me just the ‘do I want. But if you haven’t yet found a barber who gets you and your style, Marco Roso and Lauren Boyle are here to help.
Roso and Boyle recently created a poster and campaign of queer haircuts, a generous catalog in comparison to the limited hyper-gendered haircuts found in salons today. The poster features a diversity of cuts, hair types, styles, and presentations — from swoop bangs to messy pieces, to a mop of locks on the crown of a shaved head (and, yes, that is DJ Tikka Masala you spy in the second row). The poster was made public by DIS Magazine and titled “The W4W Buzz.”
There is even an academic essay by Katerina Llanes explaining the campaign. An excerpt:
More than any other stylistic signifier, hair has become our window into lesbian visibility. The shorter the hair, the more visibly identifiable one becomes as a lesbian…With the spread of the internet, our [queer] bodies exist now outside of a physical domain — comprised, instead, of composite images: a bird in a swing, plaid overalls, a gymnasium in Taiwan. We are both materialized and de-materialized, and it is precisely this ambiguity that will allow us to continue moving forward — shifting and gliding — into our present future.
Even if you don’t have time to crack open your undergrad copy of Judith Butler’s Gender Troubles and sink your teeth into Llanes’ thesis, the comments accompanying the poster on several blogs are enough to attest that these new dos are needed. Says Progressive Scholar in The Society Pages blog comments:
I was so happy to have found this poster recently. When I went to the salon last week, I pulled this poster up on my phone and pointed to the haircut I wanted. For the first time ever, I got the haircut I actually wanted. Usually the stylist is blocked by their own restrictive understanding of what type of haircut a female-bodied person can/should have. It’s a lifesaver!
Queer hair style prototypes on your phone — app creators, are you listening? It’s a brave new stylish world out there, and we’ve got the poster to prove it.