The New York Times asks the question Why can’t middle-aged women have long hair?
As a long-haired person myself (mine goes down to my hip), I agree with the author. Though the pressure on women to cut long hair doesn’t start with middle age, it starts much earlier. I have had long hair for most of my life (I started growing it out at six and never stopped) and I’ve felt the pressure for most of my life. “When are you going to cut it off?” Interestingly, the pressure mostly comes from other women, usually women who have short hair. Sometimes I suspect it’s jealousy, because long hair certainly attracts attention. I get a lot of pressure, true, but I also get many compliments.
As for older women with long hair, when I was fourteen and had my confirmation (which is a big event in Germany), I had to make the thank you round afterwards, visiting neighbours to say thank you for presents and money. One woman, a former colleague of my mother’s, asked me into her house. She said her mother would love to see me, because she hadn’t seen me since I was a baby. I barely knew the woman and didn’t know her mother at all. Still, I was ushered into the kitchen and there was an old woman, in her seventies or even eighties. That old woman had the most amazing long white hair, bound into two braids. It was a little girl hairstyle that shouldn’t have worked on a woman of her age, but she looked fabulous. Much more fabulous than all the other old women of my acquaintance with their short hair and perms. I told her that I loved her hair and she seemed very pleased. That was the moment where I realized that I wouldn’t have to cut off my hair, even when I grew old.