You may have noticed that a lot of gamers have less than natural looking hair. Hell, I have less than natural looking hair. And by that I mean blonde. Which is actually a perfectly natural hair color, but the polar opposite of my own naturally almost-black colored hair. The question of why people dye their hair has stumped scientists and horrified parents for time immemorial. I mean seriously, can’t you just imagine a teenage Egyptian getting yelled at for using henna to dye their hair? Okay, that’s not historically based at all, but stick with me.
There are obviously as many reasons for dying one’s hair as there are for people who have dyed hair, but I’ve put together this little list based off of personal experience and complete nonsense I’ve construed in my own mind…also shit from people I’ve talked to who have hair that’s different from their natural color. Reminder when reading: It’s not the color of hair that makes a gamer…unless you’re Ninja. In which case it very well might be.
1. We want to look like someone we admire
I like to think of option number one as parallel to why people cosplay. I cosplay because the characters I dress up as are bad-ass and share attributes that I admire. It’s not about putting on a costume. Cosplay is about embodying some part of yourself that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to express. That’s also why cosplayers are so much more intense than buying a costume off Amazon. It really is a passion project. Think of hair in the same way, it’s a love of something you weren’t born with that you still want to embody as a part of your identity.
2. We don’t feel like we belong anyway
A lot of people in the sci-fi/fantasy/gaming communities feel an “otherness” and that’s why they connect so deeply to these genres. I can definitely relate on this front because I was raised in a community where I never saw anyone who looked like me. I seriously felt like some kind of alien, and I distinctly remember seeing Spock for the first time and relating so deeply. I was like him. We both were a part of two different cultures and felt torn between them. I felt like I identified more with a fictional character than I ever did with a real-life person. I’m not saying this to be sad, but to emphasize how important these communities are. If we’re going to stand out, why not change our hair color? I think people who have never felt like they fit in (even when they’re ‘normal’) have a lot fewer shits to give when they’re thinking about changing something like hair color.
3. It’s personal expression
Now here’s a crazy thought. What if it’s just self-expression plain and simple? Hair, like any other kind of body art, is just that …art. Hair stylists are artists. Whether you’re going all pink or getting a glorious rainbow dye job, hair is just another way of telling people who you are and who you want to be. It’s a way of building out an internal identity that you identify with. It’s a way of making you, more you.
4. Yes, it actually is about rebelling
Hands up if you were raised conservatively! I happen to know that a lot of people with dyed hair would have probably been disowned if they had come within 5 miles of their hair with dye, before their 18th birthday. So when it came time to “grow up” we did exactly what we were never allowed to do when we were kids. It’s kind of like buying all the toys you never were allowed to get when you were a kid. Now we’re the boss and we’ve got 18 years worth of rebellion to make up for.
5. Absolutely no reason.
You know, some people dye their hair for absolutely no reason. True story. It just seems like a good idea, and that’s it. I would venture to say that usually, these are one-timers, not people who keep up with their hair dying, but there are exceptions to every rule, so you really never know!
In the end, it really doesn’t matter why people dye their hair. For a lot of gamers, it’s a way to feel more in touch with a personal identity and a community they love. And you know what? I think that’s beautiful and amazing. Keep being yourself, lovelies.