Looks like ...

I’m losing my hair. Chalk it up to age, too many years of chemical processing or genetic heritage. Whatever the cause, I’m unhappy about it. So I’m taking biotin/zinc (me taking vitamins--shocker!) and virtually mainlining Rogaine. I’m even looking into extensions.

And all around me is hair—from Trump’s otherworldly orange confection to deliberate baldness. Yes, there are women who are intentionally shaving their heads, claiming that the buzz cut is empowering and liberating. “It’s given me the confidence I never had,” claimed one young devotee (who, incidentally, also possesses flawless skin and exquisite bone structure).

I struggle with make-up too. I’m not especially deft with application (my cat eyes look like lollipops…not good) but I love the idea of it. The packaging. The scents. The promises it makes. So I keep at it. Now it appears I’m wasting my time. The fabulously talented (and beautiful) Alicia Keys has sworn off make-up, claiming the act is—yes—liberating. Her revolutionary decision has provoked loud and mixed reviews but surely in this age of body positivity and “living your truth,” she’s entitled to present whatever face she wants to the world, no?

Which is exactly the point. Every woman (and every new generation of women) gets to define what beauty means to her and the statement, if any, she wants to make with her physical self. Often, it ends up challenging or threatening what others think a woman should look like. Other times, the look du jour tyrannizes the very women it’s supposed to serve.

The personal can be political, sure. (Just look at the French reaction to the burkini.) But for a woman, this act can also be reflection of her most courageous and independent { self }.