Name any hair length or style and I have had it; I’ve done the sleek bob, the impressive long mane, the short and shaggy, the butch-crop, the pixie-look, the layered, soft-falling ‘just to the shoulders’ look. I have done them all, and none of them necessarily made me feel more leopard or not.
I realise, of course, that both Quil’s and Swiftpaw’s point was how haircut correlated to therianthropy for them, and also how it is perceived in society. Both mentioned that short hair contains some social connotations, such as that one must be a lesbian, particularly a butch lesbian, to have hair so short; to wear hair at a length which has been deemed solely for men. I agree to a point. I have been called a lesbian for my short locks but from the kind of people who I wouldn’t spit on if they were on fire. By this I mean that they used the word lesbian as if it were an insult, which has little effect on me since I see nothing insulting in loving women. The only time the general public might have assumed I was gay was when I purposefully wore my hair in a butch cut and dressed androgynously, otherwise I look feminine; with short or long hair. In fact, I have looked my most feminine when my hair is short, since it shows off my very female features of high cheekbones, soft eyes, and heart-shaped face.
In regards to therianthropy, when I had long hair it felt divine flowing down my naked skin, like the softest fur. When it was mid-length, the ability to peek out between my glossy curtain as I watched my “prey” felt like peering through foliage; my eyes keen and reflecting my predatory nature. Unsurprisingly, at that point in time many people commented on my “beautiful eyes”. And when it is short, like it is now, it is convenient. I like how easy it is to keep clean, to style, to not have to bother with if I don’t want to, but that in itself does not make me feel any more or less leopard.
Similarly, the social aspect of hair style is not so cut and blowdry (sorry, couldn’t resist ;p). Although short hair, particularly buzzed, is seen as a symbol of homosexuality among women, the label of “butch”, even used by the uneducated and bigoted, has far more connotations than your hair. I see women everyday with gorgeous, stunning, flowing hair that reaches well passed their shoulders, and yet they’re still butch. How? It’s their walk, their eyes, the line of their mouth; their presence.
If you find yourself being labelled as “butch”, I’d look beyond something as inane as your hair. In fact, I’m telling you; it’s your attitude. Most likely gender roles mean little to you, something which the majority fail to understand since they have slotted themselves so easily into the boxes of either “masculine” or “feminine”. For some of us that is undesirable, and for others simply not possible.
I also feel that the short hair equals butch mentality evolves partly from those lesbians of past and future who have purposefully buzzed, shaved, or dyed their hair in such a way as to make a firm statement about their sexuality and alternative outlook, even if said style does not suit them. I know a number of bisexual and lesbian women, and one in particular (who reads here) has “out there” hair. First it was a buzzcut, now it’s a mohawk. It suits her, and she looks fan-fucking-tastic, but on many others it would look awkward and ugly. You might not agree, but I’m all for working with what you have, and those people choosing to make a statement through their outward appearance in a way that doesn’t suit them often propogate the notion that short hair equals butch, and butch equals ugly or undesirable.
Of course, I’m certainly not saying they are not entitled to their statement, their style, I’m simply looking at the wider picture of where such a mentality might stem from.
For me, hair will always be something I just have and something I am free to play with. Even now I’m bored with my current look and I’m planning to grow it out. I know once it is long that I’ll soon be cutting it again. It’s fun. I like changing my image, but it’s merely an external thing. There is no style or cut I could adopt that would make me feel closer to leopard, or which might better express my animal nature. Leopard cares not for what is done with the stuff that grows on my head. She’s far more concerned with the busy, fascinating, often bemusing walking-monkeys that she is surrounded by everyday.