Friday, August 2, 2013

Hair for Hope 2013

Hair for Hope is a fund-raising event for the Children's Cancer Foundation.  The main purpose of this event, other than fundraising, is to raise awareness of childhood cancer and to say that: "Hey, it's ok to be bald.".

This year's Hair of Hope is in it's 11th year and the main event was on 27 and 28 July.  Just a few days after this, there was news about:

3 girls who shaved head bald for charity told to wear wigs in school by principal

In summary, 5 students from a girl's school sought permission from the school to participate in Hair for Hope, whereby they will get their head shaved, with a condition of wearing a wig to school after the event.  3 of the girls went back to school without wigs, thus breaking their earlier promise to the school.  This has triggered some debate online.

In my view, there are 2 main issues here:

  1. The students broke a promise that they made to the school.
  2. Imposing the condition of wearing a wig after the event defeats the purpose of the event itself.
Yes, I agree that promises made should be kept.  Yes, the 3 students broke a promise that they made.

No, I disagree with imposing the condition of wig wearing after the event.  This act of shaving is also to tell people that it is ok to be bald and there is no need to hide or be embarrassed if kids with cancer lose their hair due to the treatment.  Wearing a wig totally defeats this purpose.  

Some replies from the school's principal were inappropriate in my opinion:
The school's rules do not allow "punk, unfeminine or sloppy hairstyles". It's very clear in our mission: it's about their turnout as a young lady.  Can you imagine if I were to say yes, I'd have everybody coming to school with a bald head. Sometimes it's a fad, so they would take advantage of the situation.
 First of all, does being bald affect the "turnout as a young lady"?  Secondly, if the school said yes, everyone would take advantage of the situation and come to school bald?  Really??  As someone pointed out online, the school should be very proud if everyone turned up bald because they participated in the event!

I think it takes courage for a teenage girl to say: "Yes! I'm going to shave my head bald for a good cause".  This is the period in life where they are the most self conscious and yet they are willing to do it for a good cause.  Being newly bald is easy.  The difficult part to me is the growing out phase.  It'll take a month or more for the hair to grow out enough to be styled again.  The turnout of a young lady does not depend on her looks, it depends on her actions.

I can understand the rules on hairstyle for normal school days.  But, since the school is allowing their students to take part in the event, could there be an exception for those for participate as long as they can prove that they went bald for this event?  Seeing that the school in discussion is a rather reputable school, why is there so much distrust in their students?  Is there a real need to impose such conditions on the do good-ers just because there is a fear of others taking advantage of the situation?

Lastly, is there an implication that being bald is "unfeminine"?  This point struck me because many many years ago, an Extra Cirricular Activity of Taekwondo was disbanded when a new principal took over the reigns in a girl's school.  And the reason?  "It was not ladylike and didn't fit the school motto of being demure"!  Well, all I can say is that Taekwondo is even more important for girls as it is a form of self defense.  I wouldn't fancy waiting for my Prince Charming to rescue me while all I can do is to scream like a damsel in distress...  Imagine how many thugs I would have to whip with my braided long hair before Prince Charming appears...

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