Breaking Barriers: Sophomore Shares Hair Transformation

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Deana Trautz

Sophomore Deana Trautz holds up her cut brown hair to her freshly dyed pink buzz cut. "I don't want them [society] to be intimidated by a color or something that is not normal," Trautz said.

Anjali Sundaram, Reporter

Her long legs were draped over the leather black chair, clad in dark blue jeans, dark black boots, and her torso was dressed in a worn grey shirt with faded graphics. The sophomore was by most definitions, “normal.” That is until, the eyes caught the cool, bright, blue tones painted through her pixie buzz cut.

Sophomore Deana Trautz is ranked 81st in her class and involved in yearbook, Art Club and Girl Scouts. For most of her life, one would have seen her with long brown hair tumbling down her back, however on Oct. 23, she cut all her hair off and soon after, dyed her hair bright pink. Each phase elicited its own distinctive reaction, according to Trautz.

“After cutting your hair, you realize that you use your hair as sort of a shield,” Trautz said. “I never put my hair up because it always seemed like I was exposed. It gives you a new layer of confidence. You are sort of pushed into something. You are forced into totally being yourself because you can’t hide behind your hair.”

It’s just you and you are just purely you.”

— Sophomore Deana Trautz

It was right after that when Trautz decided that she wanted to color her hair. The idea came to her when she was walking through the mall one day. She saw mannequins that had lazy town pink wigs, and that was when she decided to dye her hair pink. Despite the commonality of coloring one’s hair, Trautz purposely chose pink for its uniqueness.

“I knew that it would probably look good, and it is less conventional than a lot of dye colors,” Trautz said.

The first step was researching the different methods and narratives of people who have dyed their hair.

“Before I dyed it, I was looking at all these blogs about people who had dyed their hair,” Trautz said. “They said that when they would dye their hair a weird color they would have to put more effort to be more bubbly or happy around people because they didn’t want people to associate their unconventional color with someone doing something bad.”

Then on Dec. 23, Trautz dyed her hair. The days after her haircut, students had been more welcoming and willing to talk to her, according to Trautz. She had done something that they didn’t expect and it was a conversation starter. However, the reaction to her dying her hair countered the response to the cut.

“They don’t talk to you as much from when it was just cut and brown versus when I dyed it,” Trautz said. “I guess it is sort of that intimidation layer. They don’t feel as welcomed when it is dyed. I think when you dye it, you are put into a different group. You associate different colors with different groups, and you have that perception that you don’t mess with them.”

This was a big change for Trautz as she realized that she had to make certain adjustments to her personality and the way she presented herself. Trautz recalls a time in which she had accidentally popped a balloon in one of the hallways. A teacher ran outside and reprimanded her, a reaction that she didn’t expect.

“People are ready to jump and take care of the situation especially because they don’t know who I am, they just think I am some rebel kid in the hallway, which I am not,” Trautz said. “I think that if I had just my brown hair, he [the teacher] would have just seen a balloon and been like ‘don’t do it again.’ You have to make sure that you are being polite always, because they automatically have that first impression already.”

Intimidation seemed like a bigger part of her life than it did before, according to Trautz.

“It’s sort of sad that people would feel intimidated because I don’t want people to feel intimidated at all,” Trautz said. “And while it doesn’t make me regret it, it makes me sad that our society is programmed in a way that when something is unconventional, you should just stay away from it. It’s not even this idea that you shouldn’t just do it yourself, but it is overall, just keep yourself away from it and don’t get involved.”

Despite all the reactions Trautz received, she remains strong in her decision to cut and color her hair.

“I am not going to change my choice in dying my hair based on a job or a college interview because I want them to know that it comes with me to make these decisions,” Trautz said.

According to Trautz, this experience is more of a discovery in self-identity.

Trautz before and after getting her hair cut.

“I think after dying your hair and cutting it, you recognize yourself more in the mirror,” Trautz said. “It is corny, but it lets you bring out more of your personality when you have something so obviously unconventional about yourself because your unconventional personality is kind of brought out of you.”

Now, Trautz has a cool vibrant blue threaded throughout her hair and she doesn’t plan to dye it back to brown, at least not anytime soon. Trautz has the ability to express herself in a way that she had never been able to before.

“When you dye it back, it kind of simultaneously holds yourself back,” Trautz said. “I wouldn’t want to hold myself back just because of regulation. I also want to change the perception of society. I don’t want them to be intimidated by a color or something that is it is not normal. So, I wouldn’t just want to tone it down for them, just for the sake of getting something for myself.”