Wednesday, October 27

Beautifully Bald for a Good Cause

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A WELL-KNOWN news anchor recently went bald for a good cause – to create awareness for cancer.

Unfortunately her commendable and charitable act came at a price. The television station for which she read prime time news informed her that she would not be allowed on air until her hair has grown back to a considerable length.

A source from the station said management had fully supported her cause to the extent of even providing coverage of the event.

However, the station felt that it is unable to “put a bald person on air, especially for news and the anchor is a woman. We have to upkeep a certain look and feel.”

The station would not even allow her to use a wig on air because management felt it would be “weird” for her to have hair when reading the news and no hair in public.

The Eye began to wonder if the anchor had been a man, would he have been taken off air as well until his hair grew back?

And what exactly does the station mean by needing to “upkeep a certain look and feel?” Are all anchorwomen supposed to have well-coiffed hair?

Local anchorwomen do always seem to have hair that is swept up, blown back and looking like it is held in the position by half a can of hairspray! Is this the “look and feel” that an anchorwoman must have to be on television?

The Eye feels for this particular anchorwoman. She doesn’t look bad at all with her shaved head. In fact, photographs in the media show that she looks beautiful and elegant without her usual long locks.

Why shouldn’t she be allowed on air? Her being on air while reading the news would bring about even more awareness (and of course admiration) for the cause she gallantly gave up her crowning glory for.

And that is what the media is about isn’t it? To create awareness? Create solidarity in fighting for good causes?

“No” says a friend. It is about keeping up an “image”, increasing viewership and generating profits.

Eye hardly think that there would be a decrease in viewership if this particular news anchor went on air bald.

The problem of going bald for a good cause is not restricted only to personalities in the media.

After the recent ‘Go Bald’ campaign which was held here in Sarawak, a friend (yes, a young woman) confided that she was discouraged from going bald for the children’s cancer awareness campaign by the management of the private company she works for.

She had taken the initiative to inform her bosses that she wanted to contribute to the campaign and she had a number of family and friends (including colleagues) who were willing to support and contribute to her cause and would have been able to raise a considerable amount of money.

Having seen close friends lose loved ones to the illness, cancer is a matter close to her heart.

However, she was advised against going bald for the reason that she had to maintain the company’s image, especially since she is in a position that deals with meeting clients.

What exactly is this company’s image then? Not supporting a good cause for children suffering from cancer just because they think their sales personnel should have a full head of hair?

She tried to argue her cause by saying that she could wear a wig or fashionably styled head scarves to work. The response was still negative.

Who says a bald woman cannot look or feel elegant?

Last year, Datuk Lorna Enan Muloon, the wife of former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan went bald and raised RM1 million for the cause. And she still looked beautiful without hair and went about her daily business with elegance and poise.

Another female friend, who is a teacher, was also advised against going bald for the cause. She was told not to encourage the girls in her school to go bald as a fashion statement.

So, here we are, on one hand applauding and commending those (especially women) who give up their beautiful locks for a charitable cause. And on the other, there are those literally putting down these women by setting conditions (as in the case of the news anchorwoman) for shaving their heads or not allowing them to go bald at all.

Let us go back to the real reason people with big hearts are shaving their heads for cancer awareness – cancer patients lose their hair as a result of the treatments they undergo.

There are many women and children out there undergoing cancer therapy who are hiding under scarves, wigs and caps. Losing one’s hair can be traumatising, especially for children who, unfortunately, are often teased mercilessly by other healthy children.

The message of the cancer campaign is generally to tell patients, hey look, it is not a bad thing to be bald, we are here for you, walking tall with pride and no hair!

By discouraging those who dare to go bald to show that bald is beautiful, we are actually taking 10 steps back into the dark ages. By saying that it is not a good thing to be bald will indirectly discriminate against cancer patients who have lost their hair, by no fault of their own.

Think about it.