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Embrace the identity of being a bald woman’

By Kaitlyn Rabach | Wednesday, April 17, 2013

After participating in St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser, “The Bald and the Beautiful” last year, senior Maeva Alexander said she wants more Saint Mary’s women “to embrace the identity of being a bald woman” and shave their heads to fundraise for childhood cancer research.

Alexander said she appointed herself the Saint Mary’s coordinator of the St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser, after she realized how much of an impact shaving her head had on her perception of female beauty. 

“It was an amazing experience,” Alexander said. “It affected me in so many different ways because our society does not view women without hair as feminine. Shaving my head actually made me feel more empowered because I knew I could be a woman without hair.”

 A woman’s appearance often affects how other people treat her, Alexander said. She said The Bald and the Beautiful challenges our culture’s narrow view of external beauty.

“I consider myself a feminist and I am not afraid to say it,” Alexander said. “It means equality for all genders. One of the reasons women are not treated equally is because a lot of times they are treated based on their looks.” 

Alexander said she has encouraged Saint Mary’s women to participate in the event, whether they have a family member battling cancer or not.

“This is a great cause,” Alexander said. “You do not have to have a loved one diagnosed with cancer to raise funds for [cancer] research. This event allows you to be a visual symbol for cancer research.”

Sophomore Molly Smith said she is participating in this year’s event to raise awareness of childhood cancer and show her support for those affected by this disease. She said she will be shaving her head this Friday at 5 p.m.

“I want to do it because as a healthy young adult I feel it is something I can give of myself,” Smith said. “I think too often I take my health for granted. Shaving my head is a small way to show cancer patients and all that are affected by the disease that I support them.”

Smith said she has personally seen the negative effects of cancer and these experiences pushed her to fundraise for the event.

“Two of my aunts are breast-cancer survivors and they both lost their hair when they were going through chemo,” Smith said. “My doctor died this year because of cancer, and that also reaffirmed my decision to raise funds for research.”

Smith said she wanted to shave her head last year but was toldbecame aware of The Bald and the Beautiful after fundraising had already begun. 

“I decided I wanted to shave my head around the time of the event last year,” Smith said. “A couple of my classmates participated in the event last year, and they really inspired me to fundraise this year and participate in St. Baldrick’s.”

One of those classmates is sophomore Emmi Hazen, who said she shaved her head last year to show solidarity with those affected by childhood cancer.

“I’m hopeful that because of this research, shaving a head now will prevent a child from losing their hair to cancer in the future,” she said. 

All three women said they are excited to see The Bald and the Beautiful grow at Saint Mary’s. 

“I would do St. Baldrick’s again in a heartbeat,” Hazen said. “It was a great experience because I was not only able to express that beauty is not external, but I was also able to fundraise for childhood cancer research. I think everyone should participate in the program.”

Contact Kaitlyn Rabach at krabac01@saintmarys.edu