Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor, 56, who had a distinctive shaved head and a powerful voice, has died. To her unique allure as an artist, her signature hairdo undoubtedly contributed. However, she has a tragic backstory that led her to the choice to cut off her hair.
The strength of a buzz cut.
As a link between the furious and the ethereal, Sinéad O’Connor’s bald head became a symbol of many dreamy rebellions. Her identity was inextricably linked to the shaved head that brought to mind the Irish musician and activist whose death was reported on July 26. Sinead O’Connor’s unusual lack of hair is almost always the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about her and her artistic accomplishments.
Shaving her head and wearing her famous Dr. Martens with ripped denim became her signature look. In an interview with Billboard published the year before her death, Ms. O’Connor, who was 56 years old at the time, referred to herself with pride as “the bald woman from Ireland.”
“I just don’t feel like me when I have hair,” she explained.
Sinéad O’Connor told The New York Times in 2021 that she didn’t feel like herself when she had hair. Her baldness was now a significant part of who she was. Sinéad O’Connor explained why she had her hair cut short in a Dr. Phil interview broadcast in 2017.
She said that her mother made life even more difficult by constantly contrasting her with their sister, who, unlike Sinéad, had long red hair. Sinéad was hurt every time her mother referred to her and her sister as her “pretty daughter” and “ugly daughter.”
Sinéad O’Connor said in the interview that she didn’t want to be “pretty” or “traditionally feminine” because that would mean conforming to societal gender expectations. She was against gender conformity and the idea of being seen as conventionally beautiful.
Amazingly resilient, she.
In her autobiography, she describes an encounter with a male music industry executive who suggested she alter her appearance to fit in better with society norms. The following day, she went to a barbershop and got her hair cut short on purpose, choosing an unconventional style that would give her greater freedom to be herself.
You, Sinéad O’Connor, will live on in infamy. You challenged the status quo and inspired genuineness with your courageous attitude and strong voice. Your songs will live for forever, inspiring people to be themselves and moving them with their music. Sinéad, you will be missed, but your passion and legacy will endure.