For most women, losing their hair is terrifying. It challenges their very sense of what it is to be a woman.
Lisa Lefkowitz has had alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition characterized by hair loss, since she was in her 20s. She says she was “in the closet” about it until her late 30s, choosing to wear a wig. Then, when she was 38, she shaved the hair that was left on her head and ditched her wig.
By embracing her baldness, she believes she is making “a conscious, transgressive choice to challenge a social norm” in her daily life.
Lefkowitz needed camaraderie as she navigated the challenges of living bald. She says people are often uncomfortable with a bald woman and she is regularly asked if she is sick.
“Our bodies are somehow open for public questioning,” said Lefkowitz.
She needed a group of women who understood what it was like to live bald. So, with the support of her hairdresser and friend, Emily Howard, who also lives openly bald, she founded the group SF Bay Area Bald Girls.
Bay Area Bald Girls is for all women with involuntary hair loss who are choosing to live their lives bald, without wigs. According to Lefkowitz, living this way “comes with significant challenges, and our group seeks to offer support to women as they live as their authentic selves.”
“I feel like I’m with my people," she said. "I feel normalized."