We decided to cut our hair. All of our hair. Off. To the scalp.
The reasons for this are not clear, even to ourselves. When we decided to embark on the this project, we wanted to make our bodies more strange somehow. Sister-Strangers. I hear the critique loud and clear, that our white-queer-cosmopolitanism does not bring us any closer to the people we want to learn from.
And yet it felt right, just felt right, as some ideas sometimes do. And to meet people in this way, closer to our strange, queer-bodied selves, wearing dresses, wearing pants, wearing make up, not hiding anything, or assuming that we would not be received well in this way, made it easier for me to present myself, to ask, and to learn, to be present.
We left pieces of our hair behind wherever we travelled, a little here on this beach, a little there in that ruin, clippers sliding across my scalp in the market place, hair lines fixed with a razor, a last minute rush in the hostel bathroom before our journey was over.
We hope to make visible our presence, not hiding behind the mirage of invisible, universal, white subjectivity – the transparent anthropologist, sociologist or ethnographer. And we hope that this process we have begun can be productive and transformative, rather than being simply about consumption – of knowledge, facts, images, text – by a neutral observer.