A bald woman, is she beautiful? I am sure a majority will say ‘ NO’. The success of hair care products in a market scenario is attributed to, our societal view on the importance of having a long lustrous hair. Many lose hair due to medical conditions such as alopecia. Hormonal imbalances, pregnancy and menopause are all reasons for hair thinning and loss. Hair loss is indeed a major reason for anxiety and depression. But don’t we all know hair is nothing but dead cells and the beauty of a woman is certainly not a dead factor.
Alyscia Cunningham; an amazing woman, a documentary filmmaker, an author, speaker and a photographer is on a mission. A mission to redefine the beauty of female baldness. Recently,she raised funds for her campaign ‘I AM MORE THAN MY HAIR’ (a documentary film and a photo book). The crowd funded campaign is a huge success and many came forward to support this noble cause. Go ahead, read an excerpt from my interview with Alyscia who strongly believes ‘True beauty is natural’. Read On.
It was on a regular internet surfing I came across ‘ I am more than my hair’ Campaign. The next step I did was to find the master brain behind this credulous idea. Without any hesitation Alyscia agreed to get featured in my humble blog. She is currently residing in the US and she owns a residential construction company along with her husband.
When asked about her campaign she said, “ It was to raise funds for my first documentary film and for my second photography project; a coffee table book. Both are meant to create awareness among people. To make them understand that one should not associate all baldness with cancer.
Our media never portrays hair loss and baldness in a positive way. It is either covered sympathetically or in a negative manner. Alyscia, through her work is trying to depict a woman is BEAUTIFUL EVEN WITHOUT HAIR.
When asked about how she manages multiple feathers on her hat, alongside being a mother, she said “ Even I think about it myself. But I try and involve my children in whatever I do. Also I make sure I am part of their lives and actively participate in their school activities. At times juggling between multiple roles is challenging.”
Alyscia on her mission, “It is from my personal experience that I chose to go forward with the mission of redefining the beauty of female baldness. I had to cut my hair for a non-popular NGO, which was trying to raise funds for colored women with cancer. The people who came forward to support them were limited. But I didn’t have a second thought on cutting my hair for this noble cause, I did it readily.”
Public response to Alyscia’s campaign is on the extreme ends of the spectrum. There are many supporters who come forward and encourage her for what she is doing. But there are many others who say they are not comfortable with their baldness and they look ugly. Alyscia says, “ A woman called me up and said she looks like an alien due to her baldness”. Alyscia is trying to help bald people move forward with courage and in a positive way no matter what other people say. And it is all about acceptance.
Alyscia faced a lot of challenges in raising funds for this campaign. She said, “Being a woman of colour; it is not easy to enter into any business, even as a filmmaker. I was not surprised and I faced the reality. Sometimes it gets frustrating. Secondly, certain public comments like; I make money out of bald people is really heart wrenching. To those people I want to say, If I wanted to make money I would have chosen a different path altogether. Film making and photography is my passion. I want people to see me as me and my work and not my colour. There are many who act like colour blind but I can see through it.”
From many responses Alyscia receives on a day to day basis. There are many who say that they go through anxiety and depression due to hair loss and baldness. Some are comfortable where ever they are and go out in the public. Some covers themselves under wigs, so that nobody will question them.
Alyscia’s message to the readers on female baldness, “ First of all, baldness should not always be associated with cancer. Secondly, baldness should not be related with death. Third, when you see a bald little girl or a woman, instead of assuming they are suffering from cancer; just ask what is happening in their life. Educating people on these lines can solve the issue to a larger extend.”
You should never look to the media for an identity of beauty . You should look within, to figure out what beauty and acceptance means to you. Media should never dictate it to you because when it comes to the media it is all about money. Insecurities are the most profitable media selling tool. As individuals, we need to love ourselves and should disconnect from the current ideas of beauty. @ Alyscia Cunningham