Ever-reductive evolutionary biologists tell us that long hair signals a woman’s fertility and sexual availability to men, that it’s correlated with youth. Such compulsively heterosexual science isn’t only about keeping the caveladies in the cave, however, because the same set of values—long hair=availability/desirability to men– conversely enables the Gender Studies 101 feminist argument that a woman cutting her hair short is an act of rebellion: think flappers and Britney Spears. It’s sadly easy to put women’s hair in this too-simple equation, where a woman’s beauty isn’t about her own pleasure in herself, and her freedom is always defined by cutting something off.
But Connie Britton’s Hair is not from the world of Venus and Mars, and it really could care less about what it is doing to the men who may come across it. The Hair asks us to think about a heavy ponytail at forty. Let’s not dismiss this as a joke, or as the same question as Botox or artificially plumped lips. If Botox is always about youth obsession, Connie Britton’s Hair is not always–or even ever–an attempt to look like Lyla Garrity or Hayden Panietierre. It might actually be about the specific pleasure of forty-ness.