Why are some women ashamed of accepting their natural gray hair, and others are not? There comes a time when each of us will come to the crossroads of what to do. Many women are still at the crossroads and are stuck due to fear and anxiety of exposing their gray manes. The truth is–each of us will get gray hair. Could embracing our natural gray hair be a major advancement for women’s liberation? What does it take?
Gray hair, for the most part, has been associated with being old, aged, and elderly; thus, no longer young, attractive, and vital. Women with gray hair were, and more or less still are, referred to as: A witch, crone, hag, granny, an old cow, old bag, old bat or battleaxe. Historically, such references were placed on the female gender to destroy the power of womanhood. Older women with a hoary head were feared and dreaded for their female powers. For example, the crone was/is the knower, imparter, and user of the secrets of life and living, thus, considered a threat. Those labels were meant to shut down all of that power and eliminate them as “threats.”
As time advanced, an interesting thing happened–women, more or less, began to buy into the mis-characterization of those female references. Throughout their lifespan, and especially as they entered into mature/older adulthood, they distanced themselves in appearance, discourse, and behavior from the gray-haired, older, wise woman–the crone, for example. We could, and still can, see it in our everyday lives among friends and family, in the workplace, on television, in magazines, and photographs. But, now, in the 21st century, another shift is occurring.
Women, young and mature, are embracing gray hair! It’s like a “Sankofa,” the Akan African word meaning, “go back and fetch it.” Women are remembering their true self! Mature women, especially, no longer accept the negativity associated with gray hair. They recognize it was all nonsense and disempowering. Also, they recognize gray hair as something natural, and to embrace versus unnatural, and to hide. This is an advanced leap, a major step in women’s liberation!
Liberation is about change; change may not be easy for many of us. Women may experience fear and anxiety as they expose their natural gray manes. If women maintain that the outcome: liberation, freedom, truth, and embracing the whole self is worth more than hiding behind fear and nonsense, and feeling ashamed and anxious, it can be done with ease, patience, and grace, which is how we “Sankofa.”
Ultimately, embracing our gray hair is about embracing the inner goddess–the crone, the wise woman, knower of life and living. The fear and anxiety is overcome when we realize the truth– the crone is not a threat, ugly, useless, and dreadful. At best, she is encouraging, an ally, lovely, useful, and amiable, and so much more! Gray hair becomes our crowning glory as we come to this acceptance.