Living as A Man with Long Hair in POSTECH
Living as A Man with Long Hair in POSTECH
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  • 승인 2019.09.27 10:28
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▲Kim Chi-seong (IME 17)
▲Kim Chi-seong (IME 17)


In the passport photo I took in elementary school, in my middle school graduation photo, and even in the photo I took at my high school graduation ceremony, I wore the same glasses and had the same haircut. I did not like my haircut that much, but neither did I dislike it. My hair was simply the same haircut done by the same hairdresser at the same barber’s. Covering my forehead, same length all around, and making me indistinctive wherever I went, my hair was the haircut I had always had. My haircut was ‘me’.
After the first semester of my freshmen year, I went on a trip to Europe alone and met various people; the most frequent first impression comment I received was “you seem like a kind person.” Initially, I felt good about how people took me as a nice, kind person at first sight. However, receiving the same first impression for the next two months, I felt like the compliment was an indirect saying of “you look ordinary.” At the end of my two-month trip, I wanted to change my plain impression. So, I started to grow my hair.
At first, it was simply a new try, but now that a year has passed, long hair has become something special to me. Long hair became a new identity of me, a person with an ordinary face without any distinctive features, and the first thing that popped up in people’s heads when they thought of me was my long hair. Regardless of whether it gave a positive or negative impression, I was glad to have obtained an impressive characteristic of myself. So even though my long hair is sometimes uncomfortable, I hesitate to cut it. Moreover, after growing my hair, no one commented I look like ‘an engineering student’ – the last thing I would like to hear. Rather, more people asked if I was engaged in art, one of the areas that are considered to be the complete opposite of engineering. It is surprising how one can look so different just by growing his hair.
The question I was asked the most while growing my hair was “Why are you growing your hair?” It seemed like the people who had asked me such questions expected myself to have grown my hair out of some great, special reason. However, I did not grow my hair out of great significance, contrary to their expectations. I just wanted to. Just like how women cut their hair short, not because they have broken up nor had a sudden behavioral change, but simply because they want to. 
We can observe gender prejudice in our society even in trivial matters like a haircut. Our society thinks dichotomously that men have short hair and women have long hair. That is why people expect one on the other side of our society’s standards to have a great story or reason behind her choice. However, one does not need a great story nor a reason for growing or cutting one’s hair. She simply wanted to and thought it would suit her. Before growing my hair, I did not precisely realize how many people had dichotomous views towards other people, and neither can I claim that I, myself, was free from the binary stereotype.
A sign indicating which toilet compartment is for which sex stayed on my mind for a long time. The sign did not identify each sex as red or blue, long hair or short hair, skirts and trousers, but as a person who sits or stands whilst urinating. This sign shows the direction our society must take. I hope that our society identifies individuals based on their individual characteristics, not as women and men, from now on.