CW: Quotes and discussion of fat-phobic comments and advice on women’s faces, bodies, and hairstyles.
The internet is a twisty-turny road, with surprises around every blind corner. A friend’s mom was looking at Pinterest for crafting ideas, and what did she run into? A world of websites, all dedicated to hairstyle advice for women who are a) fat; b) over 50; or c) both.
Honestly, this is no surprise. Policing women’s bodies and appearance is a pastime that’s never gotten old. For those of us who are fat, the messaging takes on an increased urgency. Heaven forbid that we rock an outfit that’s form-fitting or sexy or athletic or avant-garde or cute. What would happen?
Ditto for older women. We must be advised on the manifold restrictions governing age-appropriate clothing (say such sites). Really, the effort and bandwidth devoted just to marketing specialized bathing suits for women over 50 is considerable. Sam blogged about one such scheme here.
But it’s not enough for the fat-phobic marketing monolith to invade our FB feeds, selling caftans, swimsuit skirts and capes, and long-sleeved tunics in muted colors. Oh, no. We can cover up to their satisfaction, but that still leaves our necks and faces on display. What to do?
Follow the advice of the hairstyle police! Here’s their general warning:
… there are some things you must consider when choosing a hairstyle if you are an overweight woman. The first thing is your facial features. You must consider your eyes, cheekbones, and shape of your face. Secondly, check on your neck... The last thing is your body size. If you are a little chubby, you must get something different from a woman with curves.
Note the urgency here– the word “must” appears three times. And, we are instructed in no uncertain terms to check on our necks. Okay, here goes:
I went ahead and checked my body size off-camera. Yep, I’ve got a body, and it has size; it takes up space and has mass. Physics experiment done! Now what?
Time to talk hairstyles for the fat and over-50. The following is super-helpful:
Since you most likely have a wide body, it’s best to choose extreme hair lengths. For example, if you want it short, make it shorter than the normal shoulder length. If you want it long, go for lengths that reach the mid-section or a few inches higher.
Hmmm. Sounds like my options for hair looks are twofold: Rapunzel or Pixie. They don’t provide any super-long-hair options, so we’re on our own there. Here’s what the fat-hairstyle police had to say about Pixie cuts:
When having a round face or some extra pounds, the goal is to create an illusion. Side-swept bangs will help you shape your face, and a pixie cut can be the best haircut for fat older women.
In a bold variation on the pixie, the fat-hair police suggest pink waves for folks with fat faces.
Updos, it seems, are an option for the fatter woman with hair. What a relief! Here’s the fat hair experts’ take on the beehive:
A beehive lookalike bun placed in the head’s midsection will make your face look slimmer and elongated. It will reveal your face and show that you still have sass even as a plus size girl.
Clearly, these people have no idea what they’re talking about. But fear not, FIFI readers– we are here to fill gaps where we find them. So, here are some hairstyle suggestions from me, a woman who is a) fat; b) over 50, and c) gray/silver-haired.
Suppose you want to wear your hair up? We got your options right here.
Finally, you may want to show off that luxurious hair in a more mysterious way.
Dear readers, how do you choose your hairstyles and colors? Do you think Rapunzel is a good hair role model in this day and age? Have you ever had a pixie? Is it your go-to look? And what about those pigtails? I’d love to hear from you.