Growing up I saw that my father had his idea of what my mother's hair should look like. He had his idea of what looking feminine meant. To him being a woman meant having long hair. Whenever she would get it cut into a bob or even (gasp) ponder aloud what her hair would look like with a pixie cut… the admonitions would begin… "Leave it alone!", "You're always trying to change it!", "It looks fine!", "I like it long!", etc. He made it very clear. Men had short hair. Women had long hair and there were no and's, if's or but's about it. And don't even get me started on what he thought of red hair… when I dyed my hair red years ago his reaction was "What the heck have you done to yourself?!"
I have no doubt my childhood experiences of always wearing dresses and later marrying someone who constantly voiced his desire for me to wear dresses despite my clear and vocal disinterest in wearing them had something to do with refusing to… hence, heated arguments that ensued. Pants are easy… you slip 'em on and go. You can run in pants, you don't have to worry how you're sitting in pants and there's never anxiety that a gust of wind is gonna blow your pants up exposing your britches. I bristled at his Stepford-wife-like idea of how I should dress and dismissed dresses as an archaic article of clothing. But regardless of what we each think about women's hair or clothing one thing is for sure… a narcissist is very much a stickler about hair. It's rare for little girls even in today's modern world to see examples of females in magazines donning pixie cuts.
As Jada Pinket once said…
"The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don't belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It's also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother's deepest insecurities, hopes and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be."
It's so incredibly important that we teach our daughters from a very young age that their hair belongs to them. That they have the personal right to choose a haircut, style, etc that they like and that they don't have to adhere to any rules or limitations set upon them by others… whether it be a narc parent or spouse. Girls need to grow up feeling self-empowered and knowing that they are the daughter of a King… that their beauty is evident to Him, that He created them from the tips of their toes to the hairs on their head… and that no one else has the right to dictate how they should wear their hair or even the clothes they don. One of the first warning signs that someone is dating a personality disordered individual is their chronic suggestions of how they could change their hair, clothes, makeup, etc. A narcissist will often make "harmless" suggestions of how you can change your hair or clothing with the purpose of trying to see if you will acquiesce to their suggestions… if you do and thereby show codependent traits they know they have hooked someone who will likely be compliant in other areas as well.
Why do they care so much?
Image is very important to the narcissist.
Obviously some parents instill rules about not allowing their children to get their ears pierced until a certain age, or maybe some parents veto shoes with heels until the later years… but children benefit from being able to make some decisions… gaining confidence and expressing personal style is important for their self-growth. Trying to disengage from their parents and be an individual is a big step for a child… they are finding their own style to distinguish themselves from others and that's not necessarily a bad thing… whether it's hair, accessories or clothes every decision may turn into a fight with a narc parent.
names have been omitted in this post
"I want to get my hair cut before Daddy's wedding." My daughter told me as she scrolled Pinterest for shoulder length and bob length hair cuts.
"Yeah? What are you thinking you want?" I asked her, glancing over at the haircuts on the iPad's screen.
A sigh ensued. "I really want something like this…" She pointed on the screen.
I took a look and nodded "That's cute."
"Yeah… I mean, it's my hair… I just know that Daddy won't like it. He likes my hair really long. He always tells me that. " She informed me.
I shrugged "Well… that's what he likes. It's your hair. You should get it cut how you want." I told her.
I watched her as she studied the photo a few seconds, then she spoke,
"Yep… that's what I want to do. I'm getting it cut like this." She declared.