Sho-Lo Showdown: The Do’s and Don’ts of Lesbian Chic

Jodi R. Schorb and Tania N. Hammidi, University of California, Davis
Vol. 19, No. 2 (Fall 2000), 255-268.

This essay examines standards of beauty in the lesbian community, particularly as they surround specific haircuts, including the nearly universally disliked but frequently worn sho-lo (mullet). The essay asks three questions: what triggers a strong negative reaction to the cut among lesbians; why and how has the cut survived so long given its widespread dislike; and what can discussion about the sho-lo reveal about disregarded lesbian beauty ideals. The goal presented here is to make “beauty” more of a verb than a noun, to focus on the process, so that minority communities can explore beauty on their own terms as opposed to those of the dominant community. Part of this essay’s objective is to observe the type of beauty that renders lesbians visible to a larger, dominant community. The sho-lo, love it or hate it, is a haircut that makes one visible, but not always, the essay argues, in a way that lesbians appreciate or value.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]