Long Haired Freaky People – AKA Women over 40.

This is my hair today – at 8:15 AM on my way to work, to be exact. I have less than two years to enjoy my locks, as apparently if I have hair this length after 40 I run the very serious risk of looking rather sad and dated. That’s right – the brilliant minds over at The Careerist are concerned that I’m nearly Too Old for That Joni Mitchell Look. I run the risk of damaging my career.

This makes me sad. You see, I’ve long had a love/hate relationship with my hair. This cell phone pic doesn’t show you exactly how RED my hair really is. That’s right folks, I’m a ginger. I’ve heard every carrot top / Wendy’s / freckle face joke there is. It wasn’t until probably my early 30’s that I finally started appreciating my hair. It’s an unusual shade – more strawberry blonde I suppose, but not a hue anyone else in my family has (and I come from a long line of redheads). I’ve also tried short hair, but I look weird. I have a giant head and prominent features, so short hair just makes everything look… odd.

The bigger issue is this – job seekers are up against all sorts of challenges when it comes to the interview process. Do they have the right resume, educational background and skills? Are they a culture fit? For professional women, do they now really have to start worrying about the length of their hair? Are we, as recruiters, judging candidates based on something as non-essential as this? In fairness, this is a blog targeted to the legal community. Maybe it’s different for lawyers (It shouldn’t be). Plus, there’s an exceptional and hilarious rebuttal written by Maria de Cesare found here – also featured in the Huffington Post.

Here’s what I do know. I will probably want a promotion someday. I may even interview for a job elsewhere, in the distant future. I’ll most definitely be (gasp!) over 40. With long hair. The idea that my hair length would somehow hold me back is laughable. If flipping, twisting, and caressing my strawberry locks is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Views: 2768

Tags: candidates, culture, hair

Comment by Noel Cocca on July 30, 2012 at 1:38pm

I think if your hair is why you dont get a promotion, you are in the wrong company..or business.  Wear your hair proud Amy!

Comment by Amber on July 30, 2012 at 1:40pm

Well, I have disobeyed this rule (no long hair over 40) for 5 years now! My hair is about halfway down my back, and pretty curly. I will say that quite a few of the higher level executive women I have known had short hair. But, I am not out to work at a large corporation in that capacity, so that doesn't worry me much. And besides, look how many women are in higher level careers compared to the number of men in those same fields - I really doubt it has been because of their hair length all these years.

"I’ve also tried short hair, but I look weird. I have a giant head and prominent features, so short hair just makes everything look… odd." Amy, I had to laugh out loud! I'm not sure that your head looks gigantic, but it made me think back to April 1991 (believe me, this will never be forgotten!) when visiting my in-laws I commented about how gorgeus my SIL is, and how she always was so put together - maybe I should get my hair cut short like hers. My husband opened his mouth and said.. OMG..... "but you have to have the right kind of face for that". HA, he tried the backpedalling but that was obviously not going to work. But I have a kind of a big face, with some very prominent features and don't think short hair looks very good on me. I do not like to spend a lot of time of doing my hair, so long is better because I can put it up or back somehow.

I say wear it the way you like it, and you can also wear white any time of the year.

 

Comment by Amy Ala on July 30, 2012 at 1:42pm

Exactly - thanks Noel! So ridiculous... I mean if a person is overall unkempt I can understand that being an issue but if a woman (or man, for that matter) looks good with long hair... rock it! :)

Comment by Amy Ala on July 30, 2012 at 2:02pm

LOL @Amber I can't wear hats. I'm not even kidding - I would love nothing more than to rock a cute fedora, but nope, not on this melon. My husband thinks it hilarious and teases me a lot... of course this is also the man that, when we first started dating, said "You know I'm not usually attracted to redheads" lol! I have no idea how we ever stayed together!

Glad I'm not alone in the "big head girls" club lol I think it's because we have so much SMARTS in our big brains... :)

Comment by Darryl Dioso on July 30, 2012 at 5:43pm

Nothing wrong in my books. Carry on Buggy Whipper and wear your locks with pride.

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on July 30, 2012 at 5:49pm

I'm not a fan of these "rules" that dictate what type of attire or style is age appropriate. I have naturally curly hair that has a mind of its own. Keeping it on the longer side is the only way to "sort of" make it less scary.

There are plenty of women 40+ that look spectacular with longer hair. It's really more about the overall maintenance and grooming than the length of hair or what people should or shouldn't be wearing. 

Comment by Amy Ala on July 30, 2012 at 6:28pm

I'm doing it Disco! Since my head is too big for cute hats, it's the only fashion statement I get to make!

 

Thanks Kelly - I figure if 40 is the new 30 anyway, this argument goes all kinds of wrong. Of course here in Seattle, a Joni Mitchell look-a-like would probably fit in very well with certain companies... so there's that.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on July 31, 2012 at 12:11am

HA!  Let me splain ladies and gentlemen.  You will know when it's time to crop the locks.  It has to do with the face that goes with the hair.  Unless of course you want to be a throw back to "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane".  I think in this day and time that it probably fits better to say women over 50 as opposed to 40, unless 40 hit with an earth shattering force of gravity.  But look around at those "older women"  who are trying to look younger by dressing like they are in their 20's and have all that hair flowing in the breeze.  the test is ask someone if you look younger with your hair up or down.  If they tell you up makes you look younger it's time for the Jr. league professional woman haircut.  It's not about the hair.  It's about does the hair match the face.  I think you girls are safe for another ten years.

The funniest thing in the world is to watch a couple of  guys watching a lady walking away from them with a well formed backside and gorgeous long hair, she turns around and she is old enough to be their mother.  It's an OMG moment.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on July 31, 2012 at 12:14am

@Amber, i refer to that as "Winter White" thank you very much.  :)

Comment by Lisa A, Doorly on July 31, 2012 at 8:11am

I've had short hair and look terrible with it - if I think I look good with long hair then I could care less what others think.  It's bad enough in this society that we label everyone for one reason or another - now we are going to label women with long hair - good grief.  By the way - Christie Brinkley is 56 with long hair (just one example) so let's hold off on throwing women over 50 under the bus - please.

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