What It Feels Like To Go Bald As A Woman
With her photo series Baldvin, Icelandic photographer Sigga Ella captures the beauty of women with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes the loss of hair.The anonymous quotes in this piece are all taken from the project.
According to the NHS, alopecia affects an estimated 8 million women in the UK and 50% of women over the age of 65.
Sigga Ella told BuzzFeed:
"I wanted to raise awareness about alopecia and create discussion about the gender stereotypes associated with women with long hair, as opposed to women with little or no hair. Many of the women I photographed in the shoot had experienced members of society not accepting them for who they are and people who made them feel less feminine."
"I am sure being a bald woman can affect the possibilities of getting a job, like for example in the service industry. There are many bald male servants, but I would only expect to see a bald waitress in a hip and cool restaurant. That I find extremely silly."
“Very often, when people have seen me with my wig, they say, 'Wow, you look beautiful, I hardly recognised you!' In my opinion this reflects the norm: that women without hair are not beautiful, but the moment they put on their hair it surprises people that they are beautiful. Hair is also used a lot in commercials aimed at women, and then hair is a symbol of sex appeal. But then why do bald men still have sex appeal? Could it be because we live in a society where men have so much more power than women?”
" You have to be strong to handle the attention that you get being bald in public, whether is negative or positive. You always draw attention and sometimes that’s not what you want."
"I think society is struggling more with accepting bald women because people are not used to see them. When they do I suspect people assume that she is undergoing cancer treatment and that she’s really sick – but people don’t think that when they see a bald man. If there was more awareness among the public about alopecia it would surely help women so they wouldn’t have to hide this disease."
"I sometimes think of the Greek myth tale of Delilah, who cut Samson's hair off in his sleep, thereby robbing him of his quality of being invincible and invulnerable."
"Bald women need to be more visible. The bald woman does not exactly fit the female 'stereotype', which probably makes it harder for many women to lose their hair in the first place. Women with hair tells me that hair is an important part of their identity and their look in general."