In the space of less than a week two female public figures have come out of the closet about their hair problems. TV presenter Esther Rantzen has revealed she has worn wigs for thirty years owing to her naturally thin and flat hair and MP Nadine Dorries has admitted on TV’s Daybreak programme that she cries every day over her hair loss owing to Alopecia, likening it to feeling like a woman who has had a mastectomy in terms of eroding her femininity. She also makes the controversial observation that when middle-aged men start losing their hair, they tend to have a mid-life crisis and go off and have a fling to recapture their youth, whereas when a middle-aged woman starts losing her hair, she just wants to shut herself away and cry.
Do we agree or disagree with these sentiments fellow hair loss sufferers?
Well I can’t speak as a man, but I would agree with Ms Dorries that’s what I felt like doing as a woman, shutting myself away to cry. Fling-ish or sexy tends to be the very last thing a woman feels when battling with the brush each day to attain normality. On the other hand I wouldn’t like to think women are only known for their hair and their breasts and that’s all there is to femininity, devastating as hair loss, not to mention a mastectomy, undoubtedly is.
Esther on the other hand is more cheerful about what she calls her ‘bad hair life’ and, forced to compete with all the young female presenters with naturally bouncy and bountiful locks in the 1970s, she felt obliged to don a blonde wig to scoop the work offers, despite the fact her husband paraded around in it at home claming it looked better on him! Frankly I had long suspected that Esther was a wig-wearer as her hair did always look somewhat doll-like and stiff in the way it sat. Despite her success Esther has apparently always preferred synthetic fibres to real hair wigs on ethical grounds, but to be honest, it shows.
While I agree with her it is not nice to dwell on the poor women of the world who sell their hair to make real hair products, there are still worse things they can sell in my view, so refusing to buy real hair products doesn’t really help those women in financial need who would no longer have a market for their hair. Perhaps like ‘Fair Trade’ products the industry just needs better regulation so it is Fair Trade or equivalent too.
Anyway, Esther has now decided to dispense with the nylon wigs and focus on making the most of her natural flat locks. An admirable decision, though not an option I think for hair loss sufferers who have trench-widths where partings used to be and worse, diffuse hair loss all over.
Nadine and Esther, come to Aspiration. We’ll make new women of you!