We all make compromises, also hair knows no gender
I grew my hair out for a lot of reasons, but none of them were “to sexually appeal to men”. For one thing, keeping it short and tidy actually took a lot of upkeep, and I am quite lazy. For another, I first bobbed my hair and then buzzed my head during a period of time when I deeply hated my body and wanted badly to be something I’m not (eg, a male, so people would stop giving so much of a fuck about stuff like my hair), so I mentally associate those things now and don’t want to go back to that mental/emotional place in any way. And it’s still just hair, just like it was all the times when I cut it off.
But at the same time, we all make compromises, and I guess this one’s mine. I don’t try to please men with the way I look or act, but that means I run around with hairy legs, flat shoes, an un-made-up face, and menswear-style clothes a lot of the time. Remember the Stonewall-era laws that specified each person had to wear at least one “gender-appropriate” article of dress at any given time? That law is off the books now, but people don’t act like it is: women can only check so many non-conformity boxes before they get fucked with, so if my ultimate goal is pleasant invisibility (neither being catcalled for my femininity nor derided for rebellion), I have to pick my items of conformity and long hair is one.
I’m not trying to achieve “femme privilege” or looking to sell butch women under the bus. I don’t fetishize femininity or despise short-haired women. I get the criticisms of femininity, believe me: I’ve just lived a life of constant trauma and I’ll gladly make small compromises in order to catch a bit of a break from the bullshit if I can. But as the previous story proves, I don’t always even catch that break. I guess the bottom line is that I really just don’t give a shit about my hair.