For the past year or so I have not worn a wig. Instead I have mainly chosen to wear head scarves in public . . . and in the past I have also gone completely bald. Over the years I have gone through a continuous inner struggle with this issue, whether to just go bald, where a wig or a head-covering . . . and I wonder how many others face this same issue and/or feel similarly about it. Sometimes I enjoy wearing a wig, playing with different looks can be fun and there are times . . . especially when doing something formal that it feels good to have "hair". However, on some level I also find that, for myself, wearing a wig is pretty stressful. I expend precious energy wondering how it looks to others and whether people can tell that it's a wig.
Then there's also the issue of feeling somehow "false" in a wig. This feeling of being "false" is one of the most fascinating aspects of the experience to me actually, because I know it is entirely my own perception that creates this feeling. Other people who don't know me and never get to know me well, don't know the difference anyway. Those who do know me, know that I am the same person with or without a wig on. So, why the sense of deception? I think there are many reasons, and I'm not sure I have a handle on all of them yet. One is that people make a lot of judgments about others based on their appearances. People interact differently with me for instance depending on whether I am wearing a short, brunette wig or a long-ish blonde wig. In some way, when I am meeting new people in a wig, I always feel like the wig somehow "colors" my interaction with the other person.
On the other hand, when I have gone completely bald I have encountered an entire spectrum of responses from people, ranging from sympathy by those who assume I am fighting cancer, to embarrassment on the part of others, to rudeness and downright hostile energy. So, in that sense, not wearing a wig certainly does not spare me from the mis-perceptions or judgment of others.
I find being a bald woman in an appearance oriented, materialistic culture a really interesting study in human behavior . . . my own and other people's. I no longer struggle internally over my hair loss and have come to accept it. Personally, I think my bald head is rather beautiful. If I lived in a cabin in the woods with people close to me I'd go bald all the time. So, why the choice to cover up? I think it's a complex matter . . . for one thing, I am a very sensitive and intuitive person. I can feel other people's energies and sense judgment a mile away. Although I know I don't need to take any of that on, it can get pretty exhausting being bombarded all the time by the curious, misguidedly sympathetic and/or aggressive glances, stares, words etc. Being an openly bald woman is sort of like wearing a target around, you draw attention to you whether you want it or not.
I think that within our culture there is also a fear of bald women, that women who do not allow themselves to be constrained by society's measure of beauty are a threat to the status quo. I think that women who intentionally shave their heads without having any type of an alopecia issue are making a very powerful and intentional statement about these misogynistic beauty standards, (more power to them) and I'm also aware that sometimes others interpret my baldness within this context, assuming that I am trying to make a statement by being bald. Perhaps in some sense I am, but truthfully any statement I make with my appearance is more like a "by-product" of my awareness which has grown directly out of my experiences with alopecia.