Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

Men, when you notice that a woman has colored her hair, do your feelings about her change?

Asked by wundayatta (58596points) February 7th, 2011

I’ve noticed that on the campus where I work, just about every young woman has colored her hair. I think I feel cheated when I see this. I always wonder, ‘Why? Why?’

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75 Answers

Austinlad's avatar


MyNewtBoobs's avatar

What kind of coloring are we talking about? Neon pink? Covering the grays? Brunettes becoming blondes?
Why do you feel cheated? What are you being cheated out of? Why what?

glenjamin's avatar

depending on who it is and the color, she can appear more/less attractive, other than that no change.

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rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t get the cheated part???

But I think young females experimenting with hair color is like young males experimenting with facial hair. Some strange and not always pleasant results but seems to be part of growing up.

I have no idea in the world why sensible adult women would want unnaturally colored hair. Even the PM of Australia has strange shade of red hair, and I wonder why???

Ladymia69's avatar

The worst is when women color their hair red once they start going into menopause.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@rooeytoo Because sometimes life is just too damn short to stick with only 4 colors of hair!

wilma's avatar

@wundayatta I think maybe I get the cheated part. Is it like you feel cheated out of knowing what they naturally look like?

I am NOT saying people shouldn’t color their hair.

rooeytoo's avatar

@papayalily – I can understand that with how many pairs of sneakers you need in life, but not hair color, heheheh!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@rooeytoo No, shoes are boring and painful, hair is where the adventure is at!

Sandman's avatar

I really think it has to do with how well I know them. From a purely perceptions based perspective, yeah it can have an effect.

deni's avatar

Perhaps he means cheated out of natural beauty? I can see that.

wundayatta's avatar

@wilma That’s exactly it!

@papayalily I’m not really talking about the wild colors. They’re just silly. It’s just a kind of statement thing. I’m talking about when they color it blond or red—with those almost natural shades, but when you look, you see the roots are another color, and then you look again and you see the color is too uniform.

I like to see who people are, in their own natural state. When I see a woman with hair color, I know I’m never really going to see that natural state. It disappoints me. I’m not a big fan of artificial things. I like to vacation away from human intrusion into the environment. I like old houses made of wood. I prefer natural fibers for my clothes. I like food I’ve made myself and hate the processed stuff. I think it’s the same thing.

I think I think, ‘What a shame.’ Whether it’s a shoreline packed with rinkydink houses, or polyester leisure suits, or suburban tract housing or colored hair, it makes me sad. See, the weird thing is that by coloring their hair, women, it seems to me, are taking their uniqueness away instead of becoming more unique. Maybe they want to be like everyone else, but I prefer for people to enjoy their differences. Changing from your natural state, I hate to say it and I don’t mean to be provocative, is turning yourself from a sharp English cheddar into processed cheese food. Ick.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta How about as women go grey, then is it ok if they dye their hair? Do you see it the same way?

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MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@wundayatta I can see that, but I think it’s an ill-defined boundary. By cutting your hair and shaving your face, you are changing from your natural state. By wearing clothes, you are not all-natural. What about women wearing makeup? Does it make a difference if they’re covering up a giant scar from an accident instead of covering up a zit or a blemish? What about tattoos? Not to mention that women do it for themselves, not for you (or against you)

SavoirFaire's avatar

I agree with @wundayatta: why should women get to choose how they want to look when there are perfectly able-minded men to make those decisions for them? Our preferences are surely more important, and our disappointment ought to be their first concern. ~

Aethelwine's avatar

I have a feeling many men feel the same as @wundayatta. I’d love to see more men answer this. I did the platinum blonde thing between the ages of 16–19, then decided to keep my natural, darker blonde color. I haven’t colored it since and I’m 40 now. I recently asked my husband (jokingly) what he would think if I colored my hair with a reddish tint to it. He said “hell no”. He likes the natural color. This coming from a man that had always been attracted to brunettes before he met me.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@jonsblond I’m sure many men do have similar preferences. But having preferences and responding negatively to people who don’t meet them are different things.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It doesn’t bother me when older men/grey men have an obviously dyed “hair-hat” on. ;)

ucme's avatar

So long as the “undercarriage” matches the “roof” i’m fine. Like totally rad dude XD

wundayatta's avatar

@JLeslie I have a friend who is a few years older than I am. She colored her hair, and it always looked so severe and unfriendly to me. The she decided to let the color go, and she turned this most amazingly beautiful shade of gray. To me, colored hair on older women is just plain silly. I was so glad when my friend stopped doing it.

@papayalily This really has nothing to do with why women color their hair. That’s their business and their business only. I may have ideas about why, but they’re my ideas and no one else’s business.

I think you make an interesting point about clothes and cutting hair. I do have a style of clothing I prefer to see people wearing. I don’t know if it’s a more natural look, but it definitely isn’t going out clothes. I feel like that, except perhaps for James Bond, people who dress up are acting, which I find scary. I wear a suit as little as possible and when I do wear it, I am on my best behavior. I don’t like it, and I tear off as many of those clothes as I can the moment I leave the event.

I hope people don’t feel I’m judging. It’s just a personal preference. I wondered if anyone else shared it. I’ve got to learn to shut up with my examples when I know they are going to be what people focus on instead of the question.

zenvelo's avatar

I don’t think I personally know any woman who has not colored her hair at least once in their lifetime. I know women that can’t quit remember what their hair color is, or how gray it might be. It is what it is, as part of women as painting their nails or wearing lipstick.

And if you’re seeing girls on a college campus, don’t assume that was their hair color to begin with. A lot of girls start highlighting in high school.

To answer the question, my attraction to a woman may change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

sliceswiththings's avatar

Isn’t that the same as men feeling cheated when women wear makeup? Yeah, quit complaining, we do a lot to look good, and honestly, it’s a hassle. Be thrilled.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta I too can appreciate wanting to know someone as they are naturally. But, funny, I have a college friend who has dark brown hair naturally, but when I met her she was a blond, and she thinks of herself as a blond. During her jr. year she went back to brown, but she still pictured herself blond, and went back to blond within six months. I think maybe she was born with the wrong color hair? I have been every color, red, blond, various shades of brown, and in my 30’s I decided to go back to my natural color while I still had it. Now usually dye it, as I have some greys coming in. By the way, when I am blond or red, I still perceive myself as a brunette. Barbara Walters said the same once, that no matter what she thinks of herself as brunette, still when she goes shopping she first goes towards garments that enhance the coloring of someone with brown hair, and then she realizes her hair is blond now. Even tough it has been blond for many many years.

I agree sometimes colors are too harsh, especially as women age they have to watch for that. But, I think dying hair, makes a huge difference in how old we look. And, although I am all for aging gracefully, the inbetween stage typically in our 40’s and 50’s especially, with uneven greying or just a few strays here and there, I lean towards dying hair at that stage.

Sometimes coloring our hair is a way of acting out, needng a change after a traumatic or stressful time. It is quick, and changeble if we want to go back to our old color.

Coloma's avatar

I feel cheated when a man I get intimate with has a micro penis. lol

How do we women feel about concealed penises?

At least hair color is fully visable and there are no surprises, unless the woman rips off a wig.

Trying to determine whats behind fly # 3 is much more difficult and exasperating.


tinyfaery's avatar

I’m not sure you can tell when anyone dyes their hair. Some hair dressers asks me if I color my hair, which I don’t, because apparently my natural color has highlights and has a lot of depth. Whatever that means.

Leg hair, underarm hair, bushy eyebrows, bushy bushes and facial hair on women are natural, too. Do you feel cheated if a woman trims/shaves/waxes these parts of her body? I bet not.

Cultural aesthetics are difficult to overcome.

JLeslie's avatar

@sliceswiththings Some men much prefer women wo don’t wear make-up. Or, so they say. i am not sure if they really mean no make-up, or just are urned of by women who are all glammed up. Lots of make-up can age a woman, make her look older,

Pandora's avatar

I think you are looking at this all the wrong way. I’m not a guy and I tried coloring my hair red once just to try something different. I really didn’t like it. So I went back to black hair. I know what color looks best on me and it is my natural color. That isn’t always the way it is for everyone. Some people have a dull color to their hair that makes them look drained. So if they want to enhance the color or change it to a color that better suits their complexion, than why not.
Maybe its not the color you object but rather their lack in confidence in who they are. For instance, I have known some people who dyed their hair blond and it was all wrong for their complexion. Rather they did it because they think blond hair people have things easier and get hit on more. They weren’t looking to enhance who they were but rather completely change who they are.
As for gray hair, not everyone looks great in it. I just recently saw a make over where the only difference they did for the woman was change her clothing and cut and dye her gray hair. The gray was really dull looking and it made her complexion look ashy. She looked like she gave birth to herself. She wasn’t that old. She was only in her 50’s and she looked like 80. Once they dyed her hair she look a bit younger than her age. She is still the same person but the gray didn’t suit her. Everyone primps themselves. Even animals groom themselves to get mates. Why should we be so evolved we have to give in to looking like crap. Also some people gray prematurely. Natural isn’t always so great.
How would you feel about a guy growing out his beard and mustache and hair completely?
We weren’t naturally born with sizzors, razors and combs.
Or in that case a woman who lets all her body hair grow in. Legs and underarms. Bet there isn’t a big demand for hairy women.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Coloma For the first 6 weeks after my prostate surgery I was sporting a package that would have made John Holmes jealous. Of course, it was just an oversized incontinence pad but, it sure looked sporty! ;-)

Kind of like a men’s version of the Wonderbra!

kenmc's avatar

It will most likely not break any deals. Unless it’s something really far out, in which case it can be super awesome or super bad.

Joker94's avatar

Great question. I think it depends one who it is and how well they wear it . I’ve known people who have dyed their hair black when they could never pull it off, and then I’ve seen people pull of things as absurd as teal or pink and rock it.

wundayatta's avatar

@Lightlyseared I used to have wild hair that I hardly ever cut, until some woman asked me to. Yeah. Sex is more important than easy grooming.

@psychocandy I don’t know if you ever participate in those questions about women who shave their pussies, but if you look, you’ll see that I am consistently opposed to it. But you do have a point with facial hair on a woman. Not sure about eyebrows—I like big eyebrows.

@Coloma What can I say? I feel cheated when a woman has breast implants. LOLOL.

@JLeslie You makes some good points. A woman certainly might look better with nice makeup and clothes and hair, but at the end of the day, it’s dark, and our hands do the looking.

All I know is that when I see someone has colored her hair, some air goes out of my balloon. And the more and more seeming I find, the less and less interested I get. One of the reasons I fell in love with my wife is because she doesn’t wear any makeup—except on rare occasions. No perfume (although that’s probably because I can’t stand it). She dresses up for work, but then she looks like someone else—someone I never would have met if she had been wearing those clothes when we met.

Mind you, this is just my preference. I know women do these things because they work for various purposes. Sometimes it just makes the woman feel better. Sometimes it makes them more attractive to many men. If that’s the kind of man you want, the more power to you. I might have looked at and found a woman who dressed to the nines very sexy, but I never would have talked to her. Not saying I wouldn’t have been interested, just that it is not my ball park. Although, from the complaints I’ve heard from other men, it’s probably just as well.

You know how we are always talking about honesty between couples? If you all get together while pretending to be something you are not, that doesn’t seem to be a good start to me. But, different strokes, etc.

Aethelwine's avatar

@JLeslie I have to agree with you. The men I have known throughout my life aren’t attracted to women that wear make-up (I’m talking about foundation, eye shadow, lipstick, blush). I might put on mascara for a rare occasion and my husband will tease me when I do this. They just don’t find it necessary or appealing. I’m an outdoorsy kind of person, so I’m sure it’s the crowd I keep. If I worked in the business world I’d probably come across more men that find it attractive, but up until now I can count those men on one hand. I do think it can make a woman look older. I was bored one evening and decided to watch one of those Housewives of….. shows. I was stunned when I learned they were all close to me in age. With all the makeup, they looked much older than me.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I don’t judge women for their decision to colour or not colour their hair. Wild neon colours are not appealing to me but so what? If experiencing life with different hair colours is fun or revealing to them, what right do I have to judge or criticize them?

Haleth's avatar

@wundayatta It’s interesting that you feel this way. It reminds me of biblical standards for womens’ dress: (From Timothy 1:9) “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array…”

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond I cover all bases on this. I love to wear a ton of makeup. I also have no problem going au naturale. I actually get way more attention when I wear makeup. More compliments. Sometimes when I don’t wear makeup people ask if I am feeling under the weather. Although, what is nice is I get compliments on my skin, well, I did when my skin was more perfect, when I was younger. But, it definitely ages women I think. I can’t tell you how often I see heterosexual couples, especially in their 30’s and 40’s, where the man looks much younger than the woman when they are basically the same age. Usually it is two things, the woman is wearing make-up that ages her, and she is heavier than he is.

I think my husband looks younger than me.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Austinlad you are like my husband. So very wise. “Yes dear. Whatever you say darling. Your hair looks beautiful sweetheart.”

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think you are under the very widespread (inclusive of all genders) delusion that women’s appearances are for the sake of men. Do not feel cheated unless your wife sleeps with another person behind your back.

Coloma's avatar

True @Simone_De_Beauvoir

Minor physical superficialities are not what comes to mind when I think of the word ‘cheated’.


I can see that.
I lean towards the natural look myself.

Likeradar's avatar

You (men in general) don’t deserve to see a woman looking the way you want.

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kenmc's avatar

@noelleptc She looked better before all of the make up :/

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kenmc's avatar

@noelleptc I know it was ironic, but still…

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kenmc's avatar

I wouldn’t like to run my fingers through 415 degree hair. Sounds dangerous! bah dum tiss

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jca's avatar

To each his own. I color my hair, I have for about the past 7 years. Most people don’t know I color it because it’s about the same color I had when I was a child. I have a good friend who was a blonde, but as she ages (she is in her mid-40’s) her natural color is more dull, which is what commonly happens as we age. She would look great with some highlights, it would really lighten up her face. I don’t tell her, I don’t care, it’s her choice, just saying.

I wear some makeup. I am not made up like the women behind the makeup counters at the department store, or like women in advertisements in magazines, but I wear some to enhance my features. I can tell you that on the rare occasions when I wear makeup, people will compliment me and tell me I look good, it brightens my face, etc. When I don’t wear makeup I think I look very pale and washed out.

In the part of the country where I live (NY Metro area aka Tri-State area) most women wear makeup. Upstate NY they don’t. In this area, in the workplace, most women have makeup on, and it makes them (us) look more polished. Just my opinion.

wundayatta's avatar

You’re right, @Likeradar. Men don’t deserve to see women as we want them to. In fact, deserving has nothing to do with it. If I want to feel cheated, then I damn well will feel cheated whether I deserve it or not. There’s not a thing in the world you can say to change that. You can’t get inside my head and move my brain chemistry around. You look kind of foolish even trying.

I really don’t give a shit why women put on makeup or whatever. I don’t like it. I prefer to see people with less pretension and glamor. I’m not saying women shouldn’t do it. They can do what they want, and I’m not going to try to change that. I think women should do whatever they want that pleases them, so long as it doesn’t hurt others. Men are the same.

But this isn’t about what should or should not be. It’s about preferences. I’m sorry if my preferences push your buttons in some way, but I feel no guilt whatsoever for having my preferences. I never said I was right to have them. Just that they are the preferences I haver. There’s no particular reason why anyone should care about my preferences except me and a few people who like me.

Some people here seem to be taking this so personally. I’m really not trying to change anyone. Really. I just want to know what men think about this particular topic. I really don’t understand why some women get so upset about that. Surely you have opinions about how men look? Is there a one of you (who likes men) who hasn’t rearranged a mans shirt or pushed his hair this way or that or told him to work out more?

Give me a break! It’s just a preference. I don’t see why it should bother anybody. It’s my feeling and I own it, and I’m not asking nor expecting anyone to do anything just because I happen to mention it. There’s no need for anyone to defend or explain why women daub themselves with seeming. It’s not news to anyone why they do it. And all the announcements of women about how it’s not for men is beside the point. Women might as well say what they think about how men look. It’s not a big deal. That’s what you think. It’s fine. I don’t have to pay any attention to it unless I want to.

Aethelwine's avatar

@wundayatta I’d push my husband’s hair this way or that if he had some hair. ;)

jca's avatar

@wundayatta: you are absolutely entitled to your feelings. However, when you say that you feel cheated by something that many people have what they consider good reason to do (coloring their hair), you have to be prepared for people to get defensive and want to explain themselves.

wundayatta's avatar

@jca That’s just it. I wasn’t surprised that people felt they had a need to explain themselves. I was surprised that people seemed to be saying I had no right to express my opinion. As if I had no standing. I think everyone should express their opinion if they want to. But to suggest that you have no right to feel something is just absurd.

I have my taste. Other people have their taste. To tell me my taste is wrong—is basically an aggressive thing to do. Not friendly at all. Apparently, a preference for natural things which makes me experience disguises as something underhanded, is something I should either keep to myself or not feel at all.

Perhaps I touched a nerve. Maybe some people feel secretly guilty about trying to fool others with disguises? They think it’s normal behavior, and I find it distasteful. So what? We don’t have to date each other. There are plenty of guys who go for that sort of thing. Maybe all of them, for all I know. It’s not my cup of tea, and I wish women didn’t feel like it was something they needed to do.

Before you get bent out of shape, I have no problem with women or men decorating themselves in an effort to express themselves. But that’s different from women or men trying to decorate themselves in order to try to look like someone they aren’t. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. It depends on the context.

Don’t forget, I’m a guy who would rather no one wore clothes at all. In my experience, people are much more genuine and open without adornment of any kind. I wish we could accept ourselves and each other as we are and not feel like, for whatever reason, we should try to look like someone we aren’t.

Earthgirl's avatar

Wundayatta You did address this to men but it provoked a lot of responses from women. You have a perfect right to express your preferences, of course. And maybe when people feel like it is inherently critical of them, they will feel defensive. I feel a little defensive too, as a woman who colors her hair and wears makeup You stated honestly how you feel and you don’t have to justify it. I guess, we are just telling you how what you feel makes us feel! It seems like a judgement, not just a preference. Like a good and bad kind of thing. You are basically saying that women who do this are fake and are trying to wear a mask or put on persona to fool people in general or men in particular.
But I’m confused and I really want to understand. It doesn’t make sense to me.
If you saw a woman who dyed her hair but it looked so natural you didn’t know it was dyed you wouldn’t feel “cheated”, right?
And if you see someone, as you stated, that has blue, green, purple or rainbow colored hair that’s ok and doesn’t bother you because you understand it’s a statement, right?
But if you see a hair color that is basically normal but obviously not natural it does bother you.
Does it have anything to do with having grey hair and not “aging gracefully” as they say?
No, I don’t think that’s it because young girls without grey hair do it also and you don’t like it when they do either.
What is it you are cheated of? I don’t want to attack you. I truly want to understand.
Is it the chance to see their true self? Why should their natural hair color have anything to do with what they feel their true self is? Like anything about our appearance which we seek to change or merely enhance, the choice to change tells us as much about the person as what they got handed in the genetic lottery of life.
It tells us how they aspire to look, wish to look, want to look.
It can be self expressive. It can be merely wanting to retain the hair color of their youth as it is part of their identity. It can mean they“re imagining a new self and want the outer to match the inner self. My sister worked with a guy who was sort of a maverick architect. He had very close cropped hair when it wasn’t really “in” to have a crew cut unless you were in the military. He told her that he felt when you want to change your life and your appearance you should start with your hair. For him, it was a part of feeling like the person he envisoned himself becoming.
Most people seek to make their outward appearance match their inner self. I don’t think it’s done to deceive. We can’t control what genes we got. We are continually being judged, like it or not, positively or negatively based on our outward appearance. We can’t escape that if we wanted to.(except online, of course) I just think hair color is another choice in how we project ourselves to others. Like our clothing (sorry, but we need clothes!) or our tattoos, or even our avatars, it can hint at or hide what we are really like.
Women who change their haircolor a lot (my sister is one of them) are either bored or unhappy with their appearance and want a change. It can mean lack of confidence or self acceptance, but it doesn’t have to mean that.
Sorry to go off on a tangent like this, but self adornment is my stock in trade.
It’s a more or less basic human desire to adorn ourselves with facepaint, jewelry and or clothing. Primitive cultures are very creative with this. It’s part of our culture. It’s artistic expression. I know you know this. Here’s some cool photos from a recent hi fashion photo shoot of tribal looks. African culture is in the spotlight. In my view this is a good way for cultures to share and to model ourselves on what we admire in others.

jca's avatar

@wundayatta: I think the problem is the wording that you use. You use words such as “distasteful” “trying to fool others with disguises,” “something that they aren’t,” “what a shame,” “ick.”

I think the wording may touch a nerve. Again, of course you are absolutely entitled to your opinion, as is everyone. However, when you are very opinionated with harsh language, that gets people to feeling a need to defend themselves.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@wundayatta Some people dye their hair to not to try to be someone they aren’t, but so that they appear on the outside like the person they feel on the inside. And remember: Getting to know me naturally, without any guards up, is a privilege, not a right. We all have various masks and walls we put up (including you), so if you want to know me without them, you better be patient and earn it.

tinyfaery's avatar

@wundayatta You said, “Perhaps I touched a nerve. Maybe some people feel secretly guilty about trying to fool others with disguises?”

This is judgment, not the expression of an opinion. @Earthgirl Has many good points. Your language implies judgment, not just the expression of an opinion.

JLeslie's avatar

I did not take it as a judgement, just a personal preference. Even if some sentences might have seemed critical, it also seemed obvious @wundayatta was not trying to say women who dye their hair are bad people. I never thought he was saying they have less integrity or are liars. Just that he likes people in their natural state.

wilma's avatar

That is how I took it too @JLeslie , just his personal preference.

Earthgirl's avatar

I looked for one quote to get the exact wording but there were so many that were appropriate that I couldn’t choose.

” All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts” -William Shakespeare

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955

God has given you one face, and you make yourself another. ~William Shakespeare

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. ~Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, 1905

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. ~Judy Garland

We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves. ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

I am told to just be myself, but as much as I have practiced the impression, I am still no good at it. ~Robert Brault

“Be yourself” is about the worst advice you can give some people. ~Tom Masson

Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you? ~Fanny Brice

Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble. ~Samuel Johnson

If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag. ~Author Unknown

It is not only possible to be the person you pretend to be, but there is less effort involved. ~Robert Brault

We are betrayed by what is false within. ~George Meredith

No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

“If you want to see a man’s true self, give him a mask” -Oscar Wilde

Wundayatta There is more than one way to look at this obviously. I know you’re an open minded person with strong opinions on things. Wouldn’t the world be insufferably boring if we all thought the same? I think what you really meant is that you want to know the real person. I think that is admirable.

Aethelwine's avatar

I too agree with @JLeslie. Being a woman that doesn’t mess with hair color and wears little make-up, it’s interesting to read why other women go to the trouble of doing this. As I mentioned above, most of the men I know would rather their partner not wear so much make-up and bother with their hair as much as they do. They think it’s kind of silly and pointless. I think @wundayatta was just hoping to hear how other men felt, he’s not putting women down.

JLeslie's avatar

I worked in the Cosmetic industry, I love all that stuff.

@Earthgirl Wow. You seem so wound up. There are so many people who love make-up and hair color and whatever else we can come up with to enhance or alter our appearance. Why does it matter what @wundayatta thinks? Or, maybe I am just perceiving your long answer as defensive, but you only meant it as a teaching moment maybe? Or, just felt the need to give your opinion on the topic? Which of course is what fluther is here for, opinions.

Earthgirl's avatar

Sorry I seem wound up because I wrote so much! I didn’t mean to come off like a know it all or be defensive either. If you look at some of the quotes I just pasted in, many of them lean to Wundayatta’s view. Some of them disagree or just give a different way of looking at it. I wanted to give my opinion and I wanted to understand why he felt it was “cheating”. It doesn’t make me angry what he thinks at all.

JLeslie's avatar

@Earthgirl You didn’t seem like a know it all. I was just curious how you were really feeling, I didn’t want to guess by what you wrote. Online communication can be misinterpreted.

wundayatta's avatar

Yikes! So much to sort through.

Part of it has to do with opinion vs judgment, and we’ve had this conversation before. Right now it makes me wonder why judgment is such a faux pas.

Whether the thought that people who disguise themselves are cheating is an opinion or a judgment—I’m not sure if it matters. What matters to me is how people respond to it. If people take it personally, do they think I am deliberately trying to hurt them when it is an accident—I didn’t expect that comment to become such a lightning rod.

But, for argument’s sake, let’s say that I do think that coloring hair is a character defect. It’s a judgment. The question is whether I should or shouldn’t make that judgment publicly? In this particular case it’s kind of a matter of taste. It might or might not be saying something important about a person.

And what if I were to think that women seek to disguise their true nature because society puts this pressure on them to look forever young. If we had a revolution in how we see people—based on what’s inside instead of what they look like, would people stop disguising themselves?

Some would. Some wouldn’t, is my guess.

I do think that our efforts to change the way we look are a response to cultural imperatives in large part. Of course, artistic or individualistic expression develops out of that culture.

As to why I like clearly artistic expression and not the stuff I call “seeming”—yeah, sure, I do have judgments about seeming. I find it sad and unnecessary. I wish people didn’t do it. To me, the skin we were born in tells me more of what I want to know about a person than artifice. Artifice makes me think something that is not true.

It is true that if someone makes an effort to look like someone else, and I can’t tell the difference, then what’s the harm? It seems to me that a lot of other cheaters—the sexual kind—might say the same thing. If their wives and husbands don’t notice the difference, then what harm is there?

I don’t know. I’d rather know the truth on some days. On others, I “can’t handle the truth.” If my wife were cheating, I don’t think I’d want to know. If she had been coloring her hair all this time and I never noticed, then I would prefer to know. One is a small deception and the consequence of finding out is small. The other is a big deception, and finding out would mean turning my world upside down.

The world survives on small deceptions, it seems to me. I understand why people engage in them. It just makes things easier. But I don’t like it. I don’t like it when I find myself doing it. It bothers me when others do it, but I figure they have good reason. It’s just that, in the back of my mind, I wonder what is going on when someone colors their hair, and I don’t believe that people who do it necessarily are the best authorities on the subject. Our subconscious motivations are generally difficult to discern.

Likeradar's avatar

@wundayatta I found your wording ridiculous and symptomatic of a larger problem with men, not just you, which is why I put “men in general” in my answer. You wanna feel cheated because a woman doesn’t look the way you wish? Feel cheated. Such is life.

Earthgirl's avatar

“I do think that our efforts to change the way we look are a response to cultural imperatives in large part. Of course, artistic or individualistic expression develops out of that culture.”

It could also develop in opposition to it. Not everybody wants to conform.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@wundayatta First you said you were merely expressing your opinion, not judging. Now you seem to be admitting that you were judging, but say you have a right to judge. Regardless, I don’t think anyone is saying that you shouldn’t be allowed to express either your preferences or your judgment. But we are allowed to express our reaction as well. Moreover, we’re allowed to say if we think there is something defective about your judgment.

Suppose I have a friend who is not attracted to black women. If he expresses this preference, I won’t judge him. It’s just part of how he’s built. But let’s say he says something like “I’ve noticed that on the campus where I work, just about every young woman is black. I think I feel cheated when I see this. I always wonder, ‘Why? Why?’” Now he’s going to get a reaction.

Interestingly enough, though, I don’t think my first reaction would be to say “that’s racist.” I think my first reaction would be quite similar to what it was here: “these women do not exist for you.” Returning to the point from my first paragraph, then, I have no problem with you expressing your preference. Nor do I have any problem with you expressing your judgment. But I do have a problem with the particular judgment itself in this case, and I see no reason why I should not express the problem I have with it.

jca's avatar

When I think about what @wundayatta writes, I think it boils down to this: I think a lot of people color their hair for what they consider good reasons, and positive reasons – they want to look better, and in doing so, they want to feel better about themselves. they may feel they look younger (as in covering gray) and in doing so, they will feel better about themselves. They may think they look more polished, more professional, whatever adjectives people ascribe to having their hair a different color, and in doing so, they feel better about themselves. They may color their hair for artistic, creative reasons, and therefore, are using hair color as an expression.

What @wundayatta did, in my opinion, was turn it all into a negative: distasteful, disguise, what a shame, ick.

wundayatta's avatar

What is the reaction if I say I feel cheated, but I want to make it clear that I do not expect anyone to change? This is actually the case. I feel cheated. That doesn’t mean than anyone should care that I feel cheated. It certainly doesn’t mean anyone should change because I feel cheated.

Actually, I don’t think it’s an opinion or a judgment. It’s just a reaction. Like a person whose face I can’t see worries me. Like someone who is yelling at me scares me.

Feeling cheated is not the same thing as saying that hair coloring is bad. I have no position to make any kind of judgment about hair coloring, and I don’t even think it’s bad.

Hell, I feel cheated by fluther in the same way. I don’t know who people are. I don’t know what they really look like. But I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m not saying I want it to change. I don’t like that I live in a world where people have to be secretive, as I am.

I have some very good friends who have colored their hair. I don’t like it. But it’s not my business, unless they ask my opinion.

I think that when we disguise ourselves or try to conceal our identities, as I do, we are being manipulative. We are trying to create an impression that may or may not accurately reflect ourselves. I don’t like being manipulative, but I’m not sure what would happen if people in real life knew some of the things I have said here.

So I suffer from my own manipulations. People here don’t know what I look like or any of my physical presence. People in the physical world don’t know what I really think and they don’t know everything I have done.

Do others suffer in the same way? I don’t know. I’m not saying anyone should suffer, either. I imagine everyone has their reasons for that, I often write about what I imagine people’s reasons are for doing whatever it is they do, even the things that no one likes.

I grew up at a time when women were fighting against the need to look a certain way in order to be appreciated. Some of them rejected the idea they should have to make themselves up and dress in certain ways. They did not want society to reject them because they looked old, so they acted proud of how they looked.

I was very sympathetic. I felt the same way. For me, time spent on how I look is mostly wasted. Necessary, but wasted.

Now, it seems to me, that’s all gone. Women don’t feel that way any more—well, not all women. Some have replied to me privately on that score.

Many, maybe even most women don’t question the use of color and makeup and whatever in order to make themselves look better. It seems like it’s the gold standard.

And it works. It makes women look more attractive. I trust that @jca is correct when she says it makes these women feel better about themselves. That’s not a feeling I’ve ever experienced, dressing up or down doesn’t change how I feel about myself. That makes it hard for me to imagine how that works.

It only works in my mind, if I would feel my value to others was based on my looks. What a scary thought. Everyone is always saying to not judge the book by its cover and yet so many feel like it is legitimate to be liked because they are good looking. Never mind that according to studies I have cited before, beauty actually is a good way to ascertain intelligence, the whole fact of that bothers the hell out of me.

I don’t like living in a world where people feel like they have to manipulate their looks, or indeed, they have to manipulate their looks in order to get others to recognize them or value them. I never really thought about it before, but I guess I assumed that women were tired of it, too. Like I said, I was brought up to believe what mattered was what was beneath the skin. Unfortunately, it’s not true. We are all judged by how we look, and thus many people try to “improve” their looks so others will look on them in a more kindly way.

In any case, my opinions on the subject are just mine. I’m just one person, one of the few who feels this way. I’m not sure what to think when @jca says I have turned something good into a negative. I expressed an opinion, but I can’t change people’s minds. Only the people, themselves, can change their own minds. If my words have persuaded people that such behavior is bad, I don’t think I can be held accountable for what goes on in other people’s heads. Everyone makes their own choices, I think. I hope. The fact that I wish women didn’t feel a need or desire to color their hair should have no impact on what they choose to do, and it also has negligible impact on my feelings about the individuals I know who do this.

Thank you all for contributing to this discussion. It’s not been easy for me sometimes because I like people to like me, but I still appreciate what I’ve learned from it, so far.

Coloma's avatar

I feel cheated that it took me 50 years to finally have some heft to my boobs. It’s been a long migration south. lol

poisylol's avatar

I think you wanted change or people to care about it and at least agree with what you said, otherwise just write in your journal if you don’t : you said “The fact that i wish women didn’t feel a need or desire to color their hair should have no impact on what they choose to do.”....? what are you putting it out there for?
People aren’t going to agree with what you said because it is such a poor way to judge people. You are making the judgements based on the same cruddy stuff most society makes, and just more complicated, we can never please all the men, but you seem to think we should by complaining further. “This really has nothing to do with why women color their hair. That’s their business and their business only. I may have ideas about why, but they’re my ideas and no one else’s business” If you didn’t care about why we wore hair dye, or it was our own business and not yours, and your opinion wasn’t our business, why put it out there?

The fact that you see a woman by what she is wearing, so much, disturbs me. You look at a woman with dyed hair and see her as less and less attractive the more you look at her. you feel that you are being “cheated” out of the “real person” or getting to know them based on looks. quote “One of the reasons I fell in love with my wife is because she doesn’t wear any makeup”. You seem to think that you are getting a better person mostly because of what they wear on the outside. There are some very done up ladies like Dolly Parton, who, while I don’t condone all her actions, she is known for being a kind and sweet woman, and much more so than many an au-natural stuck-up model. I believe people who are pretty without it, are maybe sexier than someone who needs it, but then you are just concerning your self with physical attraction, not character which is ironicy superficial when complaining about woman being fake. Stop complaining, why not try to see all women as beautiful, instead of tearing us down like the rest of the media does, your basically saying, “you’re doing it all wrong, no makeup, no hair dye, even if you look totally washed out, it’s gross.” or like processed cheese or whatever you compared us to. Thanks, some of us don’t look great when we roll out of bed mister. We can’t keep this up. You’re focus isn’t helping that revolution towards character over looks that you idealize.

What if a woman looks ugly according to everyone around her, and so maybe she decides to change that instead of trying to feel beautiful without outside support, but you say “ick”, that’s decietful, you can’t hide from me, that’s cheating! Sounds very harsh, intrusive, and ironically shallow. What if that lady is as beautiful and intelligent on the outside after putting on makeup, as in the inside?

And there are no studies proving that beauty proves intelligence, ever heard of a dumb blonde? (though it may give evidence to fertility). You have to get to know the person more and be concerned more about what they do, than you worry about their hair color. I think some people worry too much about makeup, and it shows lack of confidence if they can’t live without it. But maybe a woman feels perfectly beautiful without makeup, but just finds makeup fun, or wants to look even more beautiful just for the sake of it, not because of lack of confidence, and even if its just around the girls who know what they look like without it anyway. So judging on looks alone is wrong after a certain point. It shouldn’t bother people so much. “and I just think Why? Why?” give me a break! Partly because society pressures us to look our best, and because we like to impress! Most women know what makes them look better, not always, we are trying, but you can’t keep complaining about our looks! You’re attitude is just as superficial as our hair dye. Natural beauty isn’t always a good sign of character, but sometimes it might mean that person is confident with less than others, aren’t afraid to be genuine, because someone who is wouldn’t wear makeup right? Not always, some of us just go along with it, models and Angelina Jolie dye their hair, my mom who is a very genuine person wears makeup, waaaaa poor you, so sorry we cheated you on your obligation to see us without a shell on mr.superficial.

wundayatta's avatar

@poisylol Why have an opinion if I don’t want to change anything, nor think I have a right to have people consider my opinion? Why not? Why do I always have to be making change? Why not put an idea out there and see if anyone considers it, as you obviously have.

The character over looks battle has long been lost. That doesn’t mean I can’t point it out to people. Clearly you think looks are important, and that no one should look at you until you’re all fixed up. Clearly we’re all on the same page here: looks are very important.

Last night, my love had hair she almost would rather die than have me see, and guess what? I found her more beautiful than ever. It’s who she is that makes her beautiful to me, and it really doesn’t matter how it’s all arranged. She looks different when she’s all arranged, but I love her either way.

I think most women think they have to look good for their man. There are probably a lot of men who agree. That’s one issue. The next issue is whether natural is preferable to made-up. People disagree on that one, too. I just happen to prefer natural. And it is true that I am getting to see more of the real person when someone is natural. Women put on make-up so they can fit into societal expectations. They do this because they think people will like them more. You can protest all day long that you do it for yourself, but you’d never do it at all if society hadn’t alerted you to the possibility of decoration.

How do you know there are no studies? I have researched this over and over in the last few years on fluther, and it is a fact that there is a correlation between beauty and intelligence. If you spend half a second looking for the research online, you’ll find it. I know I should keep a packet of paragraphs about certain issues that come up over and over, but I didn’t. But don’t take my word for it. Do a little research. You’ll see. It’s pretty scary. Or so I thought, back when I was ugly. Now that I’m good looking, it is to my benefit, and probably explains how I’ve gotten as far as I have, since I certainly haven’t worked very hard.

And isn’t it funny that my perception of myself changed from ugly to good looking, but I didn’t change at all, physically speaking. The change was all in my head. As it is with most ideas about beauty, which are different depending on which culture you are in.

My aesthetic is different than that of the prevailing culture. So no one will pay any attention to my views at all. Except those who agree with me. Those who disagree will never agree. Then there are those who disagree and find it necessary to make a big a deal about it as I have.

Maybe we’re both overly concerned about the issue. Maybe it’s just a personal thing having to do with our self-images and our strategies to deal with it. At the time I wrote this, I felt ugly and I didn’‘t want that to matter. Now I can look at myself and see something other people might feel is attractive, Maybe it doesn’t matter any more. People don’t have to come down to my ugliness level. I have risen to theirs. Now maybe the beautiful people will accept me as one of them.

None of it is real, of course. There was no such thing as beauty until humans came along to decide what it is. Now I’ve decided I’m beautiful. Now I expect women to be pleased when they see me. I don’t assume I am an assault on their senses any more.

But really, I didn’t mean to say anything is good or bad or better or worse. It’s just about my preferences, and a desire to understand what others think about make-up, etc. I’m not complaining about your looks. I’m stating a preference. Like I said, no one has to pay attention to me, but maybe someone may want to please me one day, and they’ll make themselves look beautiful in the way I like. It could happen. In the next thousand years or so. ;-)

SavoirFaire's avatar

@wundayatta I will reiterate what I said two months ago. No one is judging your aesthetic, and many happen to agree with it. What people are reacting to is your attitude. You seem to think that women exist for your viewing pleasure. When you say you feel cheated, it sounds like you are saying they owe you something. They owe you nothing, and they may be dressed and dyed the way they are solely for their own pleasure. It need not be about them trying to satisfy anyone else. They have a right to feel comfortable being who they are, regardless of what you think about them.

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