Face It: Going Gray Is a Fierce Act of Bravery

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The women in my family dye their hair. I dye my hair, my mom dyes her hair, my aunts dye their hair. In fact, when one of my aunts visits from the East Coast, what do she and my mom do for fun? They go get their hair dyed. I know not one relative with even a gray hair, and the original color of our locks is a mystery as deep as the ocean — who knows what terrifying truth lies dormant beneath the surface?


On that note, just the other day, I ran into a friend's mom and although I knew her only as a redhead, she now had long, luscious naturally gray locks. And you know what else? She looked damn good. It's been drilled into us to think women with lengthy gray hair should remind us of one of two things — either Hansel and Gretel's witch, or a pottery teacher who belongs to a nudist club and enjoys grey water gardening and coed naked hot tub soaks in the Redwoods (who also might be a witch) — but my friend's mom was neither. She looked gorgeous, and confidant, and heads literally turned (literally!).

Apparently my friend's mom isn't alone, The New York Times profiled a group of women who organized a mini-demonstration that featured a "band of silver-haired marchers" who descended upon Times Square to bring in the noise, bring in the funk — hair color-style. Awesomely named the Silver Sisters Strut, co-organizer and model/blogger/brand Cindy Joseph said "[w]e are the women that we wished we would have had in our lives, if they weren't busy getting their hair dyed."

Right on! These ladies are all about resurrecting long, gloriously gray hair and bringing it back to existence in a fresh, sexy way. "Sensuality doesn't wane as you get older," Ms. Joseph said. "It's still there."

What I think is so great about deliberately and defiantly going gray — and I'm not talking this granny chic business, I'm talking letting your natural color grow in — is that it allows for more interpretations of powerful femininity. Aging is often hidden and marginalized in our society, and it's thrilling to see women embracing a hair color and style that some consider undesirable because of its implications about age and sexuality.

All that being true, I still don't know what I'll do when I start to go gray. Am I a wimp because I'm not sure I'll have the confidence to rock the sleek silver hair?

For many women, much of it depends on whether or not they dig their natural gray color — is it vibrant and lustrous or dull and dingy? Some ladies might prefer to stick with an artificial color that enhances their natural complexion, and others are more willing to let the gray grow in and experiment with new makeup. Honestly, I don't know if I'd be comfortable going from an autumn to a winter? I've lived within the confines of my color wheelhouse for so long! JK JK, but really, I look great in fall colors.


Another factor to consider is hair thickness — does coloring your locks make thinning tresses more pronounced or not? This is something that concerns to me, since I have thin hair and I'm not trying to do anything that draws attention to my fallen follicles. I haven't spent years choking down prenatal multivitamins the size and taste of elephant dung* for my health, people! (Maybe I have a few things backwards.)

Mainly, it depends on whether or not you give a shit about any of that, anyway. Maybe you really don't care what color your hair is — and as long as you're happy and healthy, why should you? Many of us strive hard every day to get into that "who gives a FUUUCK" school of attitude, where classes are taught by Hillary and Grace Jones. Some days we get there, some days we don't.


The point is: the more choices for women, the better — even if those choices were always there, the safety in numbers thing can helps. You don't have to wear your dyed blonde hair in a neat crop after a certain age, the world is your multicolored dream coat. This mind-expanding message that can be imposed on lots of things — fat women in tight clothes, tall ladies in high heels, all women moving into spaces previously thought unacceptable for them. Thanks, Silver Sisters Strut for the always helpful reminder us of this incredibly important truth.


*No, I haven't tasted it, but I have smelled it, so I think that's close enough to understanding what the taste would be like. Which is exactly the same as my multivitamins.

Not Selling Gray Hair Short [NYT]

Image via AISPIX by Image Source / Shutterstock.



Hmm.. I love the Lily Munster look.

As a dude, I have to ask - does the shaved head thing actually look good on guys? I'm getting past the point of no return on the baldness.