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My friend Debbie and I, two dark-haired Jewish girls, would play with the gilt-topped Barbie, with her perky conical breasts, her vinyl house full of changes of clothing, her pink convertible. By the time I was 13, I was at ease with being a dark-haired, intellectual "other." My outlier friends and I rejected to the point of sneering the blondeness of the cheerleaders — so streaky, so Sun-In-y — those aspiringly Anglo girls in our multiethnic high school, who were selected to represent team spirit yet reflected the student population not at all.Perhaps the shift is not about blondeness but about lack of familiarity.Maybe people just don't recognize me as that cranky dark-haired feminist they saw occasionally on CNN, so I am mistaking people being especially pleasant for people actually being more pleasant to all women whom they don't fear might be potentially cranky feminists.
Joan Didion (blonde) had a tougher time being seen as a heavyweight thinker than did Susan Sontag (dark, cool gray streak).Change can be a little addictive, and before I knew it, I had become kind of … And I began to notice how the rigid code of what and other hair colors used to signify had loosened. I saw, everywhere, African American women with white-blonde hair and Asian women with purple and pink hair and, while I know this is an extremely complicated subject, white people with dreadlocks. I feel that, compared with 1991 when my book was published, we are in some ways in a golden age around certain choices involving fashion and the body. I was alarmed, as a child, by the Clairol advertising slogan "Blondes have more fun." I remember asking my mother why that was. How on earth would your hair color affect the fun you were having? I don't think I especially glowered on the street as a brunette.I saw a green-haired Katy Perry and yellow-haired Ne Ne Leakes and Nicki Minaj — and a Lady Gaga with hair in every color of the rainbow. There is a woman who has come onto my Facebook page for years and, no matter what color hair I had, expressed bitter disappointment with me as a feminist because I colored my hair. But I have spent 25 years correcting the reductive assumption that writing a critique of the beauty industry means being against adornment, physical pleasure, or display. I didn't want a world in which I am forced into my reader's vision of the "right" gray hair any more than I want to live with other rigid ideals.. I remember her struggling to explain what the slogan meant without messing with my tiny dark head. I hope I was polite, perhaps even pleasant, to strangers. " the way dark-haired, previous me might be expected to do?Joan Baez (dark) was treated as being a more important performer than was Joni Mitchell (blonde). In college, I wrote about the endless dualism of these types in women's literature: dark-haired, perceptive Lucy Snowe, in Charlotte Brontë's , versus blonde, superficial Ginevra Fanshawe.And note the Disney heroines: dark-haired Snow White (duty, housework, domestic service to seven dwarves) versus blonde Sleeping Beauty (kissing, adoration from princes, awakening to love).