Editor’s Note: Emily was our 2016 Moxie Intern. We are extremely proud of her dedication, bravery and drive.
By Emily Hagstrom
This summer, as y’all might remember, I participated in Punk Cuts to End Rape, a fundraiser for the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. This involved the following challenge: If folks met a fundraising goal of my choosing, I would chop off a bunch of my hair in the form of a punk cut. What’s more—the highest donor would get to choose my haircut.
My original fundraising goal was $2,000, but, unfortunately, that was a bit too high for the time frame, so I lowered it to $1,000—and in doing so, ended up raising $1,060 for the OCRCC. Thanks to this fundraiser, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center actually raised $8,335 in total—well over their initial $7,000 goal for Punk Cuts to End Rape! And, as promised, empowered by the love and support of family and friends and the awesome feeling of meeting that goal, I attended what I have lovingly deemed The Shearing that night—the culmination of the fundraiser where the Punk Stars had their hair buzzed.
Now, I was the last Punk Star to go, and y’all, I was a pain. It took a lot of encouragement to get up there, and bless the folks at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center for their patience with me. It had been a long day, and I was not yet emotionally prepared to part with my hair. Additionally, as I initially promised, the highest donors—who wish to remain anonymous—got to pick the cut. What did that entail, you might be wondering? Well, long story short, they teased me with about a billion pictures of mohawks, until finally sending me a picture of a haircut they had actually settled on.
And so, finally, I did it!! After a night of anxiety and worrying and being tied to cultural norms of beauty, I just went in. I did it. And I have never been so proud.
Because, while it took a long time to get used to, and I didn’t love it right away, I felt powerful and strong when I cut my hair. I know it’s just a haircut, but I felt my whole gender expression change with my hair. I had never done something to so clearly defy societal expectations of my appearance before, and I felt like the way I expressed my gender and walked through the world suddenly changed. I wasn’t paying the Pretty Tax to exist in public anymore. I wasn’t conforming my behavior, actions, and appearance to what was most palatable to those around me. I was just me.
I love my hair now. It’s easy to take care of, it’s different, and it honestly frames my face really well. Plus, every time people ask me about my haircut, I get to tell them about a great cause—and that is truly a gift.
If you didn’t get the chance to donate during the fundraiser, there’s always time to donate to your local rape crisis center. Every 98 seconds, someone in the United States commits sexual assault. Be part of the change. Commit to join the cause help end rape.