I was watching one of the new episode of All Saints recently, and one of the ambos, Cate, had her hair tied back with a few tendrils framing her face. She spent the entire episode either tilting her hair to push the hair out of her face, or talking while peering through the hair.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been annoyed by the complete lack of practicality of a female character’s hair. I never understood how Faith from Buffy could see, let alone slay the vampires, given her loose, flowing hair was always at least partly obscuring her face. And Calleigh from CSI Miami? I refuse to believe that anyone who isn’t a professional model has the time or inclination to grow and maintain hair that long and healthy-looking.
I’ve never seen a male character wear clothes that are impractical to his line of work (unless they’re making a deliberate point, like the rich guy who shows up for community service picking up litter in a designer suit), so why are we seeing females with hair obscuring their faces and wearing high heels that would be hell to walk around in all day just to look more alluring? It’s created a standard of presentation that women are meant to look attractive while doing practical work, yet never being impeded by stray hair or chafed feet.
I’d like to see more characters who dress appropriately for their job. How can nurses function with hair hanging over their eyes? What are we supposed to make of crime scene investigators who appear to spend a second job’s worth of time and money looking after their hair? And doctors who wear high heels on long shifts? Female characters need to stop being dressed as eye candy for jobs that aren’t about appearance, unless it’s to tell us this character pays more attention to her beauty than her function.