symbolic interactionism and britney spears
i'm sometimes caught off-guard by the ferocious intensity of celebrity news and the savagery with which it is reported. i learned this week, for example, that ms. britney spears shaved her head. she took so many hits for this act that it actually made news when a talk show host refrained from trashing her.
i have no idea why she did it or what else is going on in ms. spears' life, but shaving one's head is a fairly common practice among those making life transitions. for example, some friends have been encouraged to shave their heads and toss their makeup upon entering a rehab facility. other friends have shaved their heads upon reaching milestone birthdays or when the last kid leaves the house, just to symbolize their fresh start. still others regularly shave their heads for religious reasons, for athletic performance, or simply to get the best bang for the buck at great clips (you know who you are, dude).
hair has long been associated with youth and sexuality, i suppose, and it can sometimes be healthy to just take a little break from thinking about one's outward appearance or sexuality. more basically, however, hair is superficial. it isn't necessarily an unhealthy development for a pop star to start afresh and change the way that people look at her. were i to shave my head tonight, others would perceive me differently tomorrow, opening up new reflected appraisals of self, new identities, and new behavior. so, maybe britney spears is just a thoughtful symbolic interactionist -- changing herself from the outside-in.