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Black Widow's Hair Choices as Character Development

By Genevieve Burgess | Marvel Movies | March 19, 2018 |

By Genevieve Burgess | Marvel Movies | March 19, 2018 |


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A new trailer for Avengers: Infinity War came out this week and it’s very exciting to catch up with all our favorite superheroes since we last saw them. It’s been three years since Age of Ultron when we had the gang all together, but we’ve gotten updates on most characters since then and know where they are in their stories. Or in other people’s stories, for some. Since there STILL has not been a stand-along Black Widow movie, she’s been stuck playing the supporting character to her (almost entirely) male colleagues. This means we’ve gotten snippets of her backstory and personality, but not the spotlight focus that, say, Tony Stark or Iron Man have received. Who IS Natasha Romanov and what is her life outside of The Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D or whatever the hell it is now? Well, we have gotten some clues from her hair. And as someone who has taken then journey from aggressively over-dyed red hair, to chopping it all off, to letting the dye grow out with totally obvious roots because fuck it all, I feel like I have some insight into Natasha Romanov, the woman, and how she has been developing through the movies. Now I will share that insight with you.

Iron Man 2 - You know how I know that Natasha has just embarked upon a New Phase, New Me, New World journey? Because Natasha looks like this:
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Lady! I like the aggressive style choice, I do! It says A LOT. And I remember also wanting to say a lot when I took two (TWO!) boxes of Feria’s richest red shade to my dirty blonde hair my first semester in college. I tell you what, it looked like someone was murdered in that dorm shower but I was reinvented! I was a fresh, shiny person in a fresh, shiny place, and so are you! But don’t worry, you’ll settle in soon, learn not to leave the dye on for the full 25 minutes, and get a little more natural in your look.

The Avengers - See? I told you you’d settle in and get the color to settle down.
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We’re looking a lot more natural here, but still kind of stiff in the styling. We still don’t feel 100% at ease in our new surroundings but we’re getting there. Doesn’t help that you basically work with a bunch of dudes in kind of a dudely field so you feel like you have to both emphasize your femininity while also not appearing TOO feminine to maintain a sense of self. But this is a good look. And you’re confident enough that even as you walk that tightrope of being a cool chick without being a “cool chick” you’re learning to assert yourself more. Like not letting the other bass players superheroes call you “Big Red” because fuck that shit.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - I know some people aren’t a fan of this look, but I get it.
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Not a lot of product, maybe some light straightening, it’s a casual look. A “I’m going to hit the snooze button one more time instead of fussing with my hair all morning” kind of look. No layers to keep up every six weeks on the dot, she can grow that out for a while. She looks comfortable, and she acts it too. She and Steve have a very easy, natural chemistry through the film that includes work but also includes teasing and supporting each other. While she may have known Hawkeye first, I think Steve is the one she can relate to the most in a lot of ways and it seems to show here. Of course, the film ends with her new life and purpose being destroyed for the farce that it was, so we’re back to square one.

Avengers: Age of Ultron - Yup, darker, shorter, and more tightly styled.
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Not AS tightly styled as in Iron Man 2, though. We’re claiming control but we’re still in a better place overall. And having to hit that stylist’s chair every six weeks to take a couple hours to let someone else gently paint your head with chemicals, chat about celebrity gossip, and give you a trim? Also an excellent excuse to take a couple hours to yourself when you feel like you’re just a supporting player in everyone else’s story. And she’s looking outward and upward in her life, wanting more than just work, and making the first move on a guy to let him know that. Shame about him being a coward and all, but it’s a good personal moment even if it doesn’t work out. And it seems like we keep that attitude into…

Captain America: Civil War - Natasha is out here just trying to live her life and these assholes just have to keep fucking it up for her.
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This is a hairstyle that says “I’ve settled in for what’s next.” Those layers need both regular maintenance and a regular styling routine, that means YOU need a regular routine. This is the hairstyle you have when you sign a lease and don’t plan to be moving out a year later. It’s the hairstyle you have when you actually shop for REAL furniture instead of just “whatever looks nice enough at Ikea that I can put together myself.” Natasha IS ON HER WAY TO HAVING A LIFE here. Maybe not the one she thought she’d have, exactly, since Banner ditched her like an asshole, but a life. Maybe there’s a cat in that apartment sleeping on that nice new dresser. But of course Stark and Rodgers have to go and fuck it all up for her. And Tony we all get because Tony just blows up lives wherever he goes, but STEVE?!? Just because you helped move the dresser does NOT get you off the hook for immediately escalating to Threat Level Stark and forcing an international incident. You’re on notice, buddy.

Avengers: Infinity War - You know how I know Bruce Banner/The Hulk will be in this movie? Because Natasha looks like this:
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This look? This is a directionless shrug. This is “I’m not committing to anything right now because I have no idea what’s going to happen.” This is weaponized refusing to primp so you don’t give your Ex-whatever the SATISFACTION. Satisfaction of what? Who knows. Not only did she not update the color, she let it fade out or had it stripped entirely AND LET THE DAMAGED-BLONDE HAIR GROW OUT TO INCH LONG ROOTS. Civil War was pretty rough, right? Listen, I was there. I’m not trying to shame anyone. There’s nothing here that can’t be fixed with a bitch fest over a couple bottles of wine, a good wardrobe clean out and refresh, and a new project. Could be a dog (or another cat), could be a new job, could be you lose all your friends and have to reinvent your identity entirely. I don’t know! But I do know that we can right this ship, Natasha. Call me. My stylist is GREAT with reds.

Also, can SOMEONE get this woman a ponytail holder or a headband? Anything, come on.



Genevieve Burgess is a Features Contributor for Pajiba. You can follow Genevieve Burgess on Twitter.



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