“Every shaven head in Hair for Hope represents the understanding by an individual of the ordeals that a child with cancer is subjected to. By volunteering to shave, shavees become CCF ambassadors in helping to raise awareness of childhood cancer among their family and friends.”
-Hair for hope website
Hair for Hope is an event with a purpose. One of them is for shavees to become CCF ambassadors in helping to raise awareness of childhood cancer. In light of the recent events involving female students supporting this event, we have seen various opinions on whether female students should be a) allowed to participate, b) allowed to walk around school, making a bald statement.
I feel that students should be allowed to participate for the simple reason that it is a worthy cause and these female students are very brave to stand up for what they believe and make a sacrifice. Often, we hear boys about to enlist complaining about losing their hair once they enlist. With short hair or a bald head, a male may walk around and even endure weird stares. If even guys find it hard to part with their hair, what more about girls? I believe a lot of consideration would have taken before joining Hair for Hope, along with the support of perhaps friends and family.
The girls have taken the brave step forward to proclaim the cause they support. The school should support this bravery and not try to suppress it by making them wear wigs because it goes against the very purpose of having Hair for Hope. It indirectly sends the message that the school feels that by having a shaved head, the girls might be seen in a different light. I agree, the girls will be seen in a different light. A positive light. It is not something that the school should feel embarrassed about, but in fact pride themselves to have students that are empathetic towards others and do not just stop at feeling empathetic but go the extra mile to show their support.
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
-John C. Maxwell
In this education system, we advocate leadership and seek to nurture leaders who will be the future of Singapore. I believe that having a head of hair and being a “young lady” are not mutually exclusive. I assume the image was seen as unbecoming of a lady in the eyes of some, and although image plays a part of being an effective leader, one should not be judged based on his or her appearance. Being different in appearance does not mean that one is incapable of being a “lady”. In this case, we must ask ourselves, what does it mean to be a lady? Would a large part of being a lady mean having long and feminine hairstyles? If so, why so stereotypical?
My next question would be, if these girls who participated in Hair for Hope are required by the school to wear a wig, how does the school intend to deal with a student with cancer (touch wood) should the situation ever arise? Is the school going to mandate that the student be made to wear a wig as well simply because the school’s rules do not allow “punk, unfeminine or sloppy hairstyles“? In doing so, we are then reinforcing the idea that having cancer and losing one’s hair as a result is something to be ashamed of.
If the school is afraid the move to allow students to walk around with shaved heads will be taken advantage of, I say it may not be encouraging girls to go bald as a fashion statement, but rather to show students in the school that it is okay, and even better achieve the purpose of Hair for Hope – to raise awareness of childhood cancer. The only way to remove the stereotype is to show that it is nothing to be ashamed about and that society accepts and will continue to encourage those that are fighting battles against cancer.
All that said, I do agree that rules are rules. But, when the time is right, shouldn’t we make the necessary concessions?