A Villanova student claims that shaving her head helped her confront her “hair privilege,” as well as “society’s oppressive gender norms.”
“I’m not a big fan of being oppressed, and I don’t like it,” said Yvonne Nguyen in a Facebook live video where she shaved her head on camera to Beyoncé songs. Since this article’s publication, she has taken down the video.
In an op-ed for the student newspaper, Nguyen said that the oppressive societal gender norms had made her feel like she was only a “true girl” if her hair was “long, straight and silky.”
“Shaving my head enabled me to be reflective of ways society forces me to conform to labels that I didn’t choose,” she wrote. “Shaving my head liberated me, as I allowed myself to be faithful to my values and genuine self.”
“At the same time, I’m also very privileged,” Nguyen added in her Facebook video, explaining that her bald head was a show of solidarity for people with cancer or alopecia. “I would like to remember the privilege I have in terms of being able to grow my hair out,” she wrote in the accompanying post.
“Dude, this is awesome that you’re doing this,” one of Nguyen’s friends commented as she shaved her head.
“I’m saving all this money so I can go to grad school and save the world,” Ngyuen said in the video when her haircut was complete.
Nguyen said she chose to shave her head on St. Patrick’s Day—also celebrated as St. Baldrick’s Day, where people shave their head in support of childhood cancer research. Since she posted her Facebook live, it has gained more than 1,400 views.
Reflecting on her decision nearly three weeks later, Nguyen said that going bald was part of a choice “to be a woman for others.”
“One must forgo some of their undeserved privileges to provide justice for others,” she concluded. “Are you wiling to shave?”
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.