Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cure for Baldness

Apparently, there is yet another putative cure for baldness out there. Yes, I know these things have been coming out every few years for as long as I can remember, and none have caused significant change to men with baldness. But bear with me.

The thing that strikes me is the term "cure". You cure an illness or a disorder. I, on the other hand, have never felt that in being as bald a coot that I was either ill, or had a disorder or abnormality. I certainly have never felt disabled by it. Baldness is just how I am, in the same way that some people are blond or auburn, curly haired or straight. I know some people with red hair would claim that this marks them out for special abuse, and everyone assumes blonds (especially female blonds) are stupid, but as far as I recall, hair colour or type has never been seen as a disorder.

So why am I in need of a cure for being bald? Or is this another symptom of a society that medicalises everything? Therapy culture tells us that we all need a bit of therapy (or so the people who make a living out of selling us therapies tell us). We even turn opinions and emotional reactions to concepts and groups in to diseases (see Frank Furedi's latest article on phobias)! Yes, I know that some men feel very self conscious about hair loss, but that is as much to do with stereotypes and expectations forced upon us by the wider culture - and these days being bald is not automatically a sign of being old or sad. It is a matter of self-worth and self-perception rather than there being anything intrinsically wrong with being bald.

I am bald and overweight and 41 years old, male and white, a father, a Christian, middle class (University educated and a professional) and English. Any one of these could be seen by one group or another as a disorder that needs a cure (or euthanasia!). To me, it's just who I am, and if you think I need therapy, then keep your opinion to yourself thank you very much . When I am genuinely ill, I will seek help from the appropriate source (one that has no vested interest in selling me some quackery or other).

Otherwise, warts and all, I am who and what I am, and need make no apologies for that. And nor should you.

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