Recently, Doja Cat made the very personal decision to shave her head completely bald. Throughout her career, Doja has undoubtedly built up a reputation of being considered controversial for one event or another, and the overall reasoning seems to be that she’s perceived as weird. I’ve personally always found this take laughable, especially considering the fact that most people’s introduction to Doja was her releasing an unserious track called “Mooo!”, where she raps about being a cow.
Listeners and viewers alike were intrigued by her lyrical talent but even more so her ability to not take herself too seriously and embrace her silliness and sensuality effortlessly. In her 2018 Genius “Verified” interview, there were a few moments showcasing her infectious personality. She sticks fries up her nose, rants about vegan’s being annoying about being vegan, etc. (Don’t boo her, she’s right.) Basically, this woman does and says what she wants; it’s not a foreign concept to her.
That being said, people still had some very strange reactions to Doja’s decision to essentially do the “big chop” on her hair. She went live on Instagram to premiere her new look, and also explain her reasoning behind why she made the decision to do so. She says, “I’ve never liked having hair. I cannot tell you one time, since the beginning of my life, that I’ve ever been like, “This is cool.” I just do not like to have hair.” She goes on to explain how much easier her life has become and the overall positive impact shaving her head has had on her personally.
I don’t know why this wasn’t enough for people to leave it alone, but of course, everyone has to turn things into weird conspiracy theories. People jumped to so many odd conclusions about Doja’s decision and it’s been frustrating to read. One of the most popular takes amongst many has been that Doja is having a “Britney Spears moment,”. Not only is this false (according to Doja herself) but also extremely insensitive to both Doja and Britney. What Britney was experiencing were mental health issues related to the constant harassment and abuse she was experiencing from the media. And as we now know, exploitation and abuse from her very own family was intermixed.
I’m aware of the trope of women choosing to cut their hair off when they’re going through stressful times due to the energetic weight that hair can hold. Cutting the hair off is seen as symbolism for releasing the negative or stagnant energy within the hair. When understanding Doja’s reasoning behind her decision, it’s important to take note of her background of who she is.
Doja, or Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, is a biracial woman, her mother being Jewish-American and her father South African. Doja has spoken numerous times about having difficulty styling and taking care of her natural hair due to its texture. I personally don’t like to ascribe to the hair chart created by problematic stylist Andre Walker (that’s a talk for another day), but Doja has described her hair as being in the 4C category.
People who identify with having this hair type have often expressed how difficult this texture of hair can be to manage and style. Since most of my hair isn’t this texture, I can’t speak from personal experience. What I can do though is attest to the numerous people I personally know who have described dealing with their hair as a bit of a hassle. It can be even more difficult when many methods of styling and care products for natural hair exclude this texture from the conversation.
Truly, it’s not the hair that’s the issue. It’s the projection of anti-blackness and texturism, so there is a lack of attention being centered on this specific texture. Also, to be fair, it’s not far-fetched to assume that Doja’s own mom probably didn’t know how to take care of/style her texture of hair. Which likely left Doja in the awkward position of dealing with it on her own.
Having all of this in mind, it’s hard for me to understand the reasoning behind why people chose to bring this woman’s mental health into question. Simply because of a haircut that she felt suited her personal needs best. During another live on Instagram, after her initial one, she directly addresses the dangers of people projecting these harmful assumptions about the state of her mental health.
She says, “Everybody being like “You’re on drugs and you’re crazy… and “You need help,” is a very heavy thing.” She vulnerably expresses how at one point, nearly a decade ago, she was in a very dark place mentally. She states that she’s much better now, and feeling genuinely content with her life. It justifiably sounded like people drawing these conclusions about her were difficult to read.
A final note about this entire situation is that people seem to feel oddly entitled to Doja’s self-expression and physical appearance. There’s no need to overthink why, Doja is an entertainer and performer, her appearance is a part of that package according to those watching. I mean people were acting like she had crawled into their bedroom window in the middle of the night and shaved their hair and eyebrows off.
It was just so… bizarre. This woman has always been very original and unapologetic about her personal and artistic expression, so why are people so surprised that she’d essentially turn herself into a blank canvas to create art on? She’s experimentative, bold, and fun; it’s a part of her appeal!
Doja herself proclaimed that she thinks people have a hard time seeing a bald head and shaved eyebrows as sexy, and that’s why they’re upset. She directly states, “Some people don’t see this as very sexual but to me it is. I feel like, I feel sexy… for sure. I understand that, I can see that angle of it but I don’t care.” I have to agree with her there. Doja raps about sex and being sexual and seductive all the time, and I guess a buzzcut just doesn’t do it for so many of her “admirers,”.
Honestly, that sounds like a personal issue! People need to sit back and reflect on why their mindsets on things like sex appeal are so limited, and why they feel so entitled to a stranger’s appearance regardless. I know that for many people it’s jarring to see someone actually be authentic about who they are and how they present themselves to the world. Despite this, they also need to understand that the issue would be better off being unpacked between themselves and a journal. Maybe even with a therapist, but not under Doja Cat’s comment section!
I enjoyed reading this excellent article! It is refreshing to discover that Doja Cat is following her own path & I celebrate this artist for being true to herself.