Blinded by Hair Loss Help Sites

blinders.jpgIf I told you there was an online “hair loss support” site dedicated to supporting those of us (men, women, and children) with hair loss, maybe you’d think, “That’s great!”

If I told you that among the topics covered there was “What Your Hairstyle Says About You,” and that under that topic, we are told exactly which hairstyles we need to don in order to communicate that we are either business-minded/dependable, creative/edgy, trendy/savvy, easygoing, what would you think?

What if you read that your high ponytails might make you look fun and energetic, but less than smart, and that you can fix this by simply lowering your ponytail?

What if you were advised on this “hair loss support” site to beware of those hairstyles that cause you to appear self-absorbed or materialistic, styles that show you put time into your do?

Take home message: If you thought YOU = your hair, you were right.

Wow!  Is it just me, or this a really shallow and less than supportive message for the haired and hairless alike?

For every hair loss site that offers truly meaningful support to those of us lacking hair, there are 10 more that do little more than feed on our pain.  And then there are sites like the one that inspires this blog post, that actually does succeed in small ways in providing support, but which also misses the boat by a long shot in much of its messaging.

It is true that coming to terms with our hair loss means re-crafting our appearances minus that all-important feature, our hair, and that takes experimentation and thought.  But it also means re-envisioning our identity as one that is based on so much more than our appearance.  Telling us that “true beauty is more than skin deep”on one page and that the placement of a woman’s ponytail communicates her intelligence or lack thereof on another is conflicting at best.  At worst, it makes coming to terms with an uninvited appearance change such as hair loss all the more difficult and sends the already all-too-prevalent and hurtful message that our hair makes or breaks our image.

Follicularly-challenged BEWARE - just because it’s written, does not make it true.  “Stereotypes are the blinders that prevent us from seeing each other for who we really are.”  I don’t know whose words those are, but I try to keep them in mind.  If you are looking for true words of online support, be it for hair loss or any other life challenge, turn to those who know your pain and have turned that pain into a mission to help others.  It is in that process that one learns the power and meaning of adversity for casting away the blinders and focusing on what truly matters.

Susan Beausang,