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.