Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens has sparked a debate in response to one aspect of her column. The comments, however, have less to do with the words she's written and more to do with the hair in the photo that accompanies her byline.
"The people have spoken, and the people hate my hair," Stevens wrote in her column on March 20 titled "Hate mail lesson: Uncombed hair threatens the natural order."
The column, Stevens wrote, was prompted by a slew of email she received commenting on the wavy bob in her photo on the site. "'For heaven sake comb your hair,'" one woman wrote. "'Your picture instills not one iota of a knowledgeable person.'"
"Each one takes me aback. Not because my hair is above reproach, but because my hair is completely beside the point," Stevens wrote.
While Stevens noted that powerful women like Sheryl Sandberg, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama (remember when the first lady got bangs?) have launched countless discussions with their hair, Stevens commands relatively little power.
However writing the original column, Stevens wrote in a follow-up piece on Thursday, has prompted hundreds of more emails, some of them continuing to criticize her hair (and its lack of professionalism) but also this time supporting the writer. Many women took the time to thank Stevens for speaking out about the struggle to accept their curly hair, or to be taken seriously professionally without being judged by their appearance.
"'Your voice is beautiful, and your message is important. You concisely hit upon an issue that underscores every woman's life every single day,'" one woman wrote, arguing that women constantly debate between women listening to social pressures regarding appearance or trusting that their worth comes from within.
And countless took to social media to share their support of Stevens (and her hair):