Women’s hair length and sexuality, or, does having short hair make you read as a lesbian?

photo of short-haired Rumer Willis by Sheryl Nields for Page Six Magazine

Suzanne Reisman at BlogHer explores the connection between women’s hair length and sexuality. If cutting off your hair gets you mistaken for gay, does having long hair signal heterosexuality? It’s crazy that we are still talking about this in 2009, but we are.

As Rumer Willis, pictured above, told Page Six Magazine last year:

There’s also a prevalent Internet rumor that Rumer is gay, which she laughs off. “If people call me a lesbian because I have short hair and I wear jeans instead of dresses, then by all means, run with it. I think it’s hilarious. I like guys,” she shrugs. “I was joking with my publicist about how I need to come out with a press release where I’m like, ‘I like d–k.’ ”

Here’s Reisman:

When I cut my hair short almost three years ago, I didn’t mean to send any messages; I just wanted to look nice. Since then, however, I seem to be radiating some signal that I am a lesbian. If I am confusing people, I do not mean to, so apologies for any mix ups. However, I certainly hope that I am projecting that I am a dried up prune.

An anonymous letter writer posed the following question to therapist Pamela Stephenson Connolly in The Guardian: Is it true that a woman with a short hairstyle is subconsciously indicating that she does not want sex?

Dr. Connolly’s wise answer (“Cutting one’s hair does not necessarily point to an avoidance of sex, although deliberately reducing one’s attractiveness in a spouse’s eyes may well signal some desire to push them away”) set off a flurry of media attention to the “issue.” In The Daily Mail, five out of six people interviewed confirmed that long hair is sexy and feminine, although some admitted that short hair is liberating because it shows that the woman doesn’t only style herself to please men. (The one dissenter is a male celebrity hair stylist who said that men who don’t like short hair on women are “unimaginative beast[s].”


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