The politics of my fringe

 

Those of you that know me will be like ‘What? Fringe?’. Don’t worry, I don’t have one. And I couldn’t grow one anyway, with my hair it would just stick straight up. However. The other day, I decided to buy a clip-on fringe from Ebay. It was only 79p, so I thought, why not? When it came, I thought, ‘hey, it doesn’t look as shit quality as I thought it would!’ So I tried it on.

According to my boyfriend, I looked like a completely different person. This is a very interesting issue…the ambiguity of mixed race aesthetics. I get called all kinds of things if I go out with hair extensions, for example. People I’ve met, after I’ve told them where I am from, have said to me ‘no, you are not half Jamaican. You are Malaysian’. Or something along those lines. It is interesting how others feel they can judge me and label me; and if what I say about my race doesn’t match up with what they think they see in front of them, they call me a liar. Strangers seem to believe that they have an automatic invite to play the game ‘guess my ethnicity’.

But then again, there is that element of subverting what people expect of you that can make this fun, too. It can be amusing to hear people list every background under the sun as they rack their brains, trying to categorize you. And, sometimes I like to throw a little curve ball out there by wearing a really long ‘look at me’ ponytail extension, and I can keep people guessing. But then again…why are they trying to guess anyway?

Look this up:

She’s not the only woman to have done something like this. It’s interesting, because when you finally realize it’s all the same woman, you’re just like WOAH. And then, you start thinking, wow, I didn’t realize I judged people on looks so much. This is the same woman, and yet in each picture, you could theoretically assign her a different race. People do that so easily, so flippantly; they just make assumptions about something so personal based on a quick glance. And with that first judgement comes assumptions. Assumptions about sexual availability, beauty, class, language…

Who knew my little fake fringe could mean so much?

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4 thoughts on “The politics of my fringe

    1. Thanks so much 🙂 I just had to write about it, it was so weird looking so different…people said I looked chinese, things like that! And you just think, ‘really? What are you basing this on?’ and also ‘why do you have to link how I look back to guessing my race all the time?’

    2. Yes I get Chinese a lot, because they are the only North Asian people that exist lol It’s like if they could just figure out what we are THEN we’d look…what exactly? Acceptable, sexy, normal even? Nowadays, I just have fun with how versatile my looks are and appreciate them. You, know I’m going do a similar thing to that lady with different photo’s and styles, thank so much for sharing the inspiration!

    3. No problem! Yes, I think you should just have fun with your looks and not feel you have to justify them or fit in with something people can easily categorize 🙂

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