5 Hair Accessories for Destroying the Patriarchy

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Are you sick of making $0.78 to a man’s $1? Tired of receiving lesser treatment from medical professionals in a healthcare system that’s catered toward men? Has the pressure of always having to break the glass ceiling got you down? Or are you just sick to death of experiencing mansplaining everywhere you go? Then, honey, it sounds like you need to get off your butt and destroy the patriarchy.

However, dismantling a system of society and/or government in which men hold the power is hard work. You’ll need to make sure you’re up to the task not just mentally, but physically too. I mean, you wouldn’t go to the gym without the proper attire, would you? So, why shouldn’t you prepare the same way to tackle foundational female oppression? 

Never one to send a sister out in the wild without having her back, I’ve thought ahead. Here are the best hair accessories for destroying the patriarchy:


You may think that headbands are just for the long-haired ladies out there. But, anyone with hair long enough to reach their lashes knows the pain of catching strands in the eye on a windy day. A headband can serve many purposes while still keeping your locks out of your face so you can keep your mind on your goals. Some can act as sweatbands, so while you’re engaging in the sweaty work of calling out pay inequality, you’ll never have to worry about the errant drop leaking down and taking your eye off the prize. At night, when you need to wind down and engage in self-care after a long day of working to upheave systematic oppression, you can use a headband to hold your locks back while you smear on the fancy face mask you bought with money from your newly negotiated raise. And, for those of you who prefer a hard headband, you can take a cue from Wonder Woman and toss it like a boomerang to surprise, confuse, and even impress your foes, all while demonstrating what a multi-talented woman you really are. Superman doesn’t have any attractive yet functional accessories, does he now?

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2Bump It

In the wild, it’s common for many animals to increase their size in order to ward off any would-be predators. You can do the same by utilizing an old school Bump It. For those of you who don’t know (or don’t buy things off of infomercials), a Bump It is worn under your hair to give it extra volume and lift. Many women are used to being the only lady around in a host of situations and/or offices. I have been the shortest person in a room filled with large men looming over me a number of times, which can be unsettling to say the least. If you’re tired of feeling physically dominated, it’s time to close that gap. Even the taller ladies out there may want to tower over their colleagues from time to time. Sure, you can try to put on high heels, and if you’re a fan of them, go ahead. However, high heels have long been a tool of female oppression and sexualization, with women being required to wear them in the workplace and other formal occasions. So, if you want to fly in the face of societal gender expectations and rock your flattest footwear but still increase your height to intimidate your peers, what’s a girl to do? It’s time to tease your hair, layer it over a Bump It, and, like a manspreader on the subway, take up all the space you want. Unleash your inner Snooki and wear your poof loud and proud. After all, the 4’9” media mogul never let her short stature hold her back, so why should you?

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3Big Hair Clip

As someone who’s always had a mane of frizzy, curly locks, I’m a huge fan of a big ol’ hair clip. A hair clip can quickly take a mess of loose hair and turn it into a manageable ponytail or bun. An on-the-fly updo can come in handy at any time, whether you’re taking a stand against street harassment or demanding your doctor’s office stop dismissing your unusual symptoms as typical period pain. Plus, one time I clipped my hair clip around a post on one of my shelving units in my apartment, and my fiancé later told me it had scared him because it looked like a giant spider at first glance. So... apparently hair clips have that going for them, too. It’s like that old saying, “If you can’t beat them, scare the pants off of them.” (That’s the saying, right?)

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4Hair Sticks

We can all agree that hair sticks are some of the coolest hair accessories around, right? They have existed for thousands of years, dating as far back as ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In modern times, the most influential culture when it comes to hair sticks has been the Japanese, especially the use of decorative Japanese kanzashi. Learning how to put your hair up using only two sticks is tricky, an art form in itself. It can be beautiful to watch — and I’m not ashamed to admit it — hella intimidating. A woman who can style her hair into an elegant bun using only two sticks can definitely run a Fortune 500 company. After learning that numerous women, like the Japanese kunoichis (female ninjas), have been using hair sticks for self-defense for hundreds of years, these babies have earned themselves even more street cred. Does anyone else remember the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where she pulls out a stake that was holding her hair up to use against a vampire? Talk about fashion meeting function.

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5Standard Hair Elastic

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my old, trusty friend the standard hair elastic. I watched Iron Man 2 the other day and was horrified to see Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanoff) take her hair DOWN out of a functional updo for her big fight scene at the end, leaving her with loose hair when she charges in to defeat a bevy of bad guys. The whole time, all I could think about was how hard it would be to fight with those long, flowing curls flying in your own face and blocking your vision, not to mention getting caught in the fray. In reality, trying to fight like that would result in a clumsy mess — and probably a few bald patches. I’ve injured myself just walking idly on the sidewalk when my hair has gotten in my face at the wrong time. It was obvious the film was directed by a man because no woman would create such a safety hazard for herself. Luckily, by the time Natasha got her own movie, eponymously named Black Widow, the (female) director understood it made way more sense for her hair to be smartly up and out of the way, leaving Natasha able to save the world unobstructed. You’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who hasn’t grabbed a hair elastic to tie her hair back in order to tackle a difficult task that has been thrown her way, whether it be saving the world or just rearranging furniture for better feng shui. How many of us walk around with a hair elastic on our wrist at all times, just in case it’s needed? Any woman who plans to take on the patriarchy should know where the nearest hair elastic is located, whether for herself or for a fellow female fighting for social justice.

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Now, if you’re tired of worrying about your hair altogether, you can always go all Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road (or Sigourney Weaver in Alien 3) and shave it all off, shouting goodbye to society’s outdated standards of female beauty. But, if that’s not your thing, these hair accessories are here to help you on your journey to destroy the patriarchy. They’re not just multi-functional — they’re also aesthetically pleasing. I mean, just because you’re taking down a system of foundational female oppression doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with your ‘do while you’re at it.

Tags: Empowerment, Fashion, humor, Gender Equality

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Written By

Allie Nelson

Allie is a TV producer and writer with credits on Netflix, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, TBS, E!, & HGTV. See Full Bio

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