Being a girl with short hair sometimes feels like being in a special club. Mia Farrow and Jean Seberg are the presidents, Molly Ringwald is the treasurer and Carey Mulligan, Michelle Williams, Emma Watson and Natalie Portman are all on the wall of fame of this fictional club. Twiggy hangs out there, too.
When a woman gets her hair cut short, she is displaying a certain level of confidence. Many consider the act bold, rash or risky. For the aforementioned stars, though, the look becomes iconic, ingrained in pop culture memory and shown as an example by the bravest of girls to their hairstylists.
Recent events including New York’s Fashion Week and MTV’s Video Music Awards proved to be excellent arenas in which to debut drastic haircuts from some big names in television, music, and movies. We compiled for you a brief analysis of some of the most notable looks in a recent wave of pixies.
In HBO’s Girls, Lena Dunham frequently experiments with her body as a comedy canvas- see, for example, her stenciled-on-eyebrows in one episode or simply the amount of times she’s shown herself naked on the show. Although her haircut can’t be for the show, since she debuted it after filming for the second season had already wrapped, she’s still using it as a joke in regular, non-television life. “I Miley’d the shit out of this Saturday,” Dunham Instagrammed, later showing off her hairstyle and a dorky “I’m with HER” pullover sweatshirt at this month’s Fashion’s Night Out. Dunham traded her shoulder-length hair for a longish, frumpy Beatles-esque haircut. It’s only fitting that the creator of such a polarizing television show would get a polarizing short haircut, but the responses have been mostly tame compared to the overdramatic backlash her show has received.
Dunham’s haircut instantly looks better when compared with her supposed inspiration, Miley Cyrus. Cyrus also premiered her haircut on Twitter, where you can go to find lots of pictures of her new ‘do as well as a confusing photo of her hairdresser getting ready to snip into a bun on the top of her head (is that how you’re supposed to cut hair?).
The result looks about as shoddy as a joke cutting job: When Cyrus wears it down, she resembles Gareth from the British Office and when she wears it up she looks like a less-cool P!nk (which, apparently, is a thing now). While Dunham’s haircut is provocative and funny, and seems to make physical the freedom that comes from having completed a second season of her show, Cyrus’s choice just seems immature. It makes you want to teach her how to cut it or at least teach her how to brush it and also ask, “Are you absolutely positive you’re ready to get married?”
Luckily, none of us are Miley Cyrus’s mom, and so we can appreciate Dunham’s jokes and also Ellen’s.
A simple Google Image search of “Rihanna haircut” will show you that Rihanna is master of wildly experimental hairstyles, so the tightly-cropped pixie cut is not only a natural part of the performer’s hairstyle progression but also one of the most sensible cuts she has had in a while. The Internet responded in a mostly calm and positive manner, comparing Rihanna’s new look to Halle Berry’s in the 2000’s. The person most upset with the haircut appears to have been Piers Morgan, who tweeted “ps I think @Rihanna needs to grow her hair back. Fast.” Ri retweeted this, adding, “grow a dick….. Fast!!!!” They then had a back-and-forth tweet fest during which Rihanna agreed to an interview and the world narrowly escaped an unnecessary haircut-related feud.
While Dunham’s haircut is an exercise of freedom, Cyrus’s an exercise of immaturity, and Rihanna’s an exercise of being Rihanna, Anne Hathaway went the Natalie Portman route earlier this summer, getting her hair cropped for a movie because that’s what happens in the source material: She’ll be playing Fantine in Les Miserables, out in December.
For those of you unfamiliar with the novel-turned-musical-turned-film, Fantine is an unwed mother who cuts off her beautiful long hair and sells it so she can send money for her clothing to the greedy couple watching over her daughter. The couple (which I mentioned before was greedy) does not actually buy the child clothing, and Fantine becomes a prostitute. Think about that before you make a mean comment about Anne Hathaway’s new hair!
Aside from the story behind the haircut, though, Hathaway’s look is Mia Farrow-levels of cool. Her utility-inspired haircut works as a stylistic choice, and looks especially good if you use early Mia Thermopolis as the “before” pic.