Bullying can take place at school, in the workplace; even on the street, and nobody is immune – the effects on self-esteem and confidence can be devastating, no matter what your age.
One young woman has taken action, launching her own anti-bullying campaign, ‘The Baldness in You’, aimed at protecting children experiencing hair loss. Jakina Dortch, who was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata aged nine, was totally bald by the time she reached age eleven, and is well aware of the harassment people affected by Alopecia and other hair loss conditions can face. She launched the campaign to share her story with others, make people aware of the consequences of bullying and provide a space where respect and tolerance is promoted.
Harassment and verbal abuse
As she explains in the video above, Jakina grew up in a culture where, she says, “if you didn’t have hair, you weren’t a girl” which is why she started wearing wigs initially.
From the ages of 11 to 18, Dortch wore wigs, and at one time owned 150 of them, even learning to make her own. She grew up in a town where, she says, “hair was considered a ‘nacessory’ instead of an ‘accessory’” and always felt like she needed to wear wigs in order to be beautiful and feminine, even though they didn’t make her happy.
Jakina was the victim of harassment throughout her teens as people made fun of her wigs, making negative comments about her appearance. She explains, “I felt like I was allowing wigs and weaves to define my beauty. I didn’t want to be captivated by that anymore. So I was like, ‘I’m done’”.
Relating fact to fiction
Dortch relates heavily to the recent scene in popular US TV show ‘How to Get Away With Murder’, where actress Viola Davis – who suffers from Alopecia in real life – exposes her head by pulling off her wig in a powerful, revealing scene. But she stopped wearing wigs long before this, back in May 2009, and the launch of her campaign has been inspired by her own experiences.
Shared hair loss experiences
‘The Baldness in You’ uses art to promote tolerance of others and remind people that bullying can have serious consequences. Dortch’s first YouTube video shown above, explains her initiative in more detail and invites others, who may have their own experiences of hair loss and baldness (not just from Alopecia Areata), to share their bullying experiences and steps they took to overcome their struggles. Jakina, who is currently working as a Team Lead for an inner-city children’s after school programme in her hometown of Chicago, intends to develop a series of videos dealing with these subjects.
In Dortch’s own words, “The Baldness in You documents other people’s version of baldness. It highlights their story of bullying and how they have overcome their struggles.”
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.
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