top of page

By Orna Raz

Gloria Steinem once said: "Women grow radical with age. One day an army of gray-haired women may quietly take over the earth." Yesterday, someone shared a picture of this phrase on Facebook. There could be a silent takeover of the world one day by a group of gray-haired women. Reading that made me realize that gray hair a rose is never just a rose, and that perhaps my decision to leave my hair natural has subversive undertones.

My mother's lovely gray hair was kept short and allowed to dry in the sun for as long as I can remember. It was a sensible, no-nonsense hairstyle that complemented her demeanor and was appropriate for a nurse. My mother's gray hair, in my opinion, represented her experience and wisdom.

I was certain that I would resemble her in the future, but my daughter asked me to color my hair after noticing some gray in it. She insisted that I was too young to be old when I objected. Making my daughter proud was crucial, I told myself, so I put off my plan to age gracefully.

However, we know from experience that trying to please our loved ones rarely succeeds. I despised the effort I made to conceal it from the rest of the world because I was aware of the truth behind it. I noticed that whenever I encountered gray-haired women, I would complement them on their hair and give an explanation for why mine was dark. I obviously came off as phony and foolish.

My situation might have been described as cognitive dissonance by a psychologist, but it only means that I'm not being honest with myself. I therefore stopped dyeing my hair one day. At first, my daughter was upset, but soon after, she wrote to let me know that gray hair has made a reappearance. I want to believe it was her way of letting me know she respected my decision.

Going back to Gloria Steinem's statement, I agree that women get more radical as they age, however hair color is a matter of personal preference. It is up to us, as their moms, to once again come to their aid and carry out their activism because young women already face enough difficulties managing family and job, and the majority of them have no spare time for it.

The latest protest marches on women's human rights drew a sizable number of young women, I noted. They made a special effort to come and express their displeasure. However, more often than not, it is elderly women who devote their lives to the cause and get involved in various social and political activities.

For instance, women in the organizations I volunteer are activists in their late 40s to late 60s. Women that old can shine and truly make a difference here, unlike many other areas of life where they; begin to feel like they lose relevance. I believe that many of us have the insight, knowledge, and tenacity to effect change because we are willing to give all of our time and energy to advancing women empowerment, peace and justice.

Gloria Steinem gives young women something to look forward to by making becoming older seem like pleasure. Hopefully it won't be long until they team up with us to conquer the world and improve it.

About the author Orna Raz
She has a PhD in English literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and she usually writes about issues concerning women, literature, culture, and society.

1 view


bottom of page