Sunday, January 02, 2005

The stigma of baldness for women

photoThough the bald-by-choice look is more common than it used to be, it's not universally accepted. This is especially true for women, who can suffer some serious discrimination if they shave their heads. Consider this story from the Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star as an illustration.
NGEL HOPKINS thought having cancer was bad enough.

Then, chemotherapy made her hair fall out, and she lost the ponytail that used to hang down her back.

But the worst part of the ordeal was having people make fun of her. Strangers who saw her at the gas station or grocery store would give her dirty looks and make snide comments about her bald head.
In this day and age, I find it amazing that people would harass a women with a shaved head about her appearance. Given how common cancer is in North America, you'd think that people would have a little awareness and compassion, you know?

In Hopkins case, when she revealed all of this to other people in her life, they decided to support her by shaving their own heads. Sisters, other female relatives, and neighbours got in on the act. Naturally, this got even more stares.
When they tell others why they're hair-free, people change their attitude, said Frank Miller, Campbell's boyfriend.

"They'll go, 'Awww, that's the sweetest thing I ever heard,'" he said. "But it's just amazing how quickly people judge another person."
Her family and friends have pledged to stay bald as long as she does. Maybe the people in her area will learn a little something about compassion along the way.

The story got covered by WAVY TV as well.

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