My Hair Color is Triggering to Conservative Men

Amber Fraley
3 min readJul 30, 2023
Me with pinkish hair and my debut novel, The Bug Diary.

Just before trump was elected president, I dyed my hair pink. I didn’t do it because I’m liberal or because I’m a feminist. I dyed my hair pink because it was something I’d wanted to do back in the 1980s when I was a teenager, but I was too scared to do so. I was a typical suburban white girl who hated my looks and desperately wanted to fit in. So I did what all suburban, white, Midwestern girls were doing at the time: I permed the shit out of my hair and teased it big, lacquering the whole mess in hairspray.

When I entered my 40s, a wonderful thing happened that often happens to women when we enter middle age: We stop giving a shit what other people think about us. I decided I wanted to dye my hair pink before I was too old to get away with doing so, so I took the leap. I thought it would be one and done, but guess what? I loved it, and other people did, too. Even younger people.

I’ve tried going back to my natural brown a few times, because occasionally I’d worry I was getting too old to pull off the pink anymore. But every time I tried it, I hated it. It legit makes me sad. We live in an age where we can dye our hair any color of the rainbow — why not take advantage of that if we want to?

Nowadays, instead of hot pink, I dye my hair purple. But whether it’s pink or purple, one thing is always true: My unnatural hair colors trigger the shit out of conservative men.

“You look exactly like I thought you would,” they sneer when they see my photo. Cool, Cletus. And you look exactly like I thought you would, with your cammo baseball cap and your giant penis truck you drive around to make yourself feel more manly.

I don’t hassle you about your looks. Why do you feel the need to hassle me about mine?

So I will continue to dye my hair wild colors until my hair falls out or I die, not just because I like it, but also because I can, and also because conservative men hate it. Why? Because they think they get to dictate what makes women attractive and what we should look and behave like.

Lucky for me, I am married to a real man who doesn’t give a shit what color my hair is, and never tries to tell me how to to wear it, because he loves me for who I am.

Amber Fraley is the author of the hilarious college coming-of-age tale The Bug Diary, as well as the author of the viral essay Gen X Will Not Go Quietly. Become a Medium member for only $5/month to access TONS of great writing and information!

--

--

Amber Fraley

Writing about abortion rights, mental illness, trauma, narcissistic abuse & survival, politics. Journalist, novelist, wife, mom, Kansan, repro rights activist.