There are a few reasons why softball players have long hair. When it comes to softball players they wear their hair long because it makes them look more feminine and it is easier to keep out of their face.
Looking Feminine; Fighting Stereotypes
For a long time, women were not allowed to play sports. When they finally started, they were often forced to wear gender-neutral clothing to hide their femininity. While these expectations have changed some in the past few decades, remnants of this past are still visible.
Women who play sports such as softball, basketball, and soccer are often viewed as unfeminine. A recurring stereotype is that of the lesbian player. The stereotype centres around a belief that many women in the sport are lesbian.
Often this stereotype leads women who are lesbian or bisexual to hide their identity, so they do not perpetuate the stereotype. Women her are heterosexual are constantly having to defend their choices. Even then they are often accused of lying or hiding the truth.
For softball players the answer is simple. Longer hair is associated with femininity and therefore a defense mechanism against this stereotype.
Looking feminine and looking pretty are two sides of the same coin. In the past women may have been discouraged from flaunting their femininity but times have changed. There is no reason a softball player can’t play hard and look pretty while doing it.
No matter what your sexual preferences everyone wants to look good. Playing sports should not prevent a woman from looking her best. Longer hair has many more options when it comes to styling than shorter hair.
A softball player may choose a ponytail or braid to play in but can put her hair up or let it down when she isn’t playing. She can make herself look as feminine and pretty as she wants.
Some players will put ribbons in their hair. While people have speculated that this is a way for heterosexual women to differentiate themselves there is no data to support this theory. Most ribbon wearing players do so because they like the way it looks.
A more utilitarian reason for having long hair as a softball player is that short hair cannot be pulled back out of your face. Bangs can get in the way when you need to see the ball coming at you or when you need to see where to throw the ball.
Long hair allows a player to put their hair back in a ponytail or braid. Many players choose simple braids, but they always have the option of more complicated braids.
Braids and ponytails hold hair back out of the face preventing obstruction of a player’s vision. This is also why many players either cut bangs short or grow them to the length of their hair.
Braids are often the more popular option because they protect hair from getting tangled. A ponytail is looser and therefore more likely to get tangled.
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The simplest braided hairstyles include simple braids, Dutch braids, French braids. The next simplest are the double Dutch braids and pigtails. Next up is the double boxer braid which starts as two side braids and merges at the nape of the neck becoming one braid.
The final braids are for advanced braiders only. They include the 3-in-1 Dutch Braid, the Waterfall Twist Combo, and the Criss Cross Dutch Braids.
Among ponytails the easiest ones are the single ponytail, double ponytail, and the caterpillar. These three are the most popular ponytail options. The caterpillar is popular for those who have longer hair as it provides some protection from tangling.
There are also hairstyles that are combos of the two. For instance, the ponybraid is a ponytail first and then French braided further down. There is another one that starts as a French or Dutch braid on the side and ends as a ponytail.
Whether a softball player chooses to have short, medium, or long hair it is not an indicator of their sexual orientation or preferences.
So long as fans and spectators insist on viewing players through the lens of a stereotype, players will feel the need to express themselves through more and more feminine hairstyles.
Softball players have a right to choose long hair because it makes them feel pretty or because it is the easiest way to keep their hair out of their eyes.
Every article or blog post that judges softball players for their hairstyle choice perpetuates the stereotype. Each time someone asks a player, “Are you gay?” because they wear their hair short reinforces players’ beliefs that long hair is the only way to combat this stereotype.