Demi Lovato Cut Their Hair to Step Away From Gender Norms

They explained the chop to Jane Fonda.

Fans were used to seeing Demi Lovato with long hair, blunt bangs, and even blonde locks, but after they came out as non-binary earlier this year, they stepped out on the red carpet at the iHeartRadio Music Awards with a choppy mullet-inspired look. It was a stark change from the old Demi and it was intentional, they said, to distance themselves from gender norms and expectations. Lovato described the process of coming to terms with identifying as non-binary and choosing to reflect that with their hair in conversation with Jane Fonda on the June 16 episode of 4D With Demi Lovato.

Fonda and Lovato spoke about how deeply engrained the expectations of the patriarchy run for everyone, dictating appearances, attitudes, and more. Lovato noted that coming to terms with being non-binary came in phases for them, first with a poetry performance and a year-and-a-half of "healing and self-reflective work."

Demi Lovato
Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

"I think it came in two tiers for me," Lovato said. "I think the first tier was going to a friend's poetry slam show that I identified so profoundly with, because they were talking about not conforming to genders and identifying not as male or female. And when I heard their take on that, I identified with it so much that I thought to myself, 'Ooh, there's something here, there's something that I've never known about my entire life but it's clicking now. And I need to research this. I need to do more work, I need to sit with this.' So I did, I sat with it for over a year."

The new hair was part of that and one way that they could "shed" the gender norms that they faced as a kid.

"The more I sat with it, the more research I did ... the reasoning behind me cutting my hair off was because I was shedding all of the gender norms that had been placed on me growing up female in this world" they said. "And I just always found that men were at the root of pushing their agendas on me, to be a sexy pop star, to - whatever would make other people the most money. And I had to break that mold because I had to find the freedom for myself in order to survive - to live."

Lovato also spoke about how their 2018 overdose and near-death experience helped them reflect on multiple parts of their life. As they worked through recovery, Lovato realized that they had to live the way they wanted to, not by a set of expectations established by the patriarchy.

"There was a voice inside of me that said: you're not living, and if you don't start living your life for you, it's going to be your demise," they shared with Fonda. "So, I woke up and I thought, you know, I'm gonna live my truth. And no matter who it scares, no matter who in the patriarchy it shakes, I'm gonna live my truth for me."

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