Sinéad O’Connor: The devastating and dark story behind the Irish singer’s shaved head
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Sinead O’Connor shaved her head when she was just 20 years old and the style instantly resonated with a generation set on defying gender norms and societal beauty standards. While the late Irish singer decided on the style to send a message to music executives, the reason she stuck with the cut is far more devastating.
It was confirmed by O’Connor’s family on Wednesday (July 26), that the iconic singer had died aged 56. In a statement, the singer’s loved one’s said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad. Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”
The Dublin-born musician will be remembered for her prolific career, in which she released 10 studio albums between 1987 and 2014. But the icon’s androgynous image stuck out amongst a music industry known for selling a stereotypical standard of femininity.
O’Connor first shaved her head in 1988, in order to send a message to music executives who wanted her to be more feminine. But the singer chose to keep the style for the remainder of her life.
During an interview with Dr Phil, she revealed why the decision was so important to her and candidly discussed the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother.
O’Connor said: “My sister had the most beautiful red hair, glorious red hair, the type you’d be jealous of.”
“But my mother took it into her head that my sister’s hair was ugly, and horrible and disgusting. And she started, when I had long hair, she would introduce us as her pretty daughter and her ugly daughter. And that’s why I cut my hair off. I didn’t want to be pretty.”
O’Connor continued, suggesting there was another devastating reason why she cut it short.
“It was dangerous to be pretty because I was getting raped and molested everywhere I went,” she said.
“That was a huge part of it. I didn’t want to be raped or molested, I didn’t want to dress like a girl, I didn’t want to be pretty. Other girls beat you up if you were pretty too.”
O’Connor then turned her attention to the ‘music business’ and how alleged pressure from executives inspired her to keep the length. She told Dr Phil: “I was asked one day would I grow my hair long and wear short skirts because they wanted to sell me on my sexuality.
“I didn’t want to be sold on that,” she added. “If I was going to be successful, I wanted it to be because I was a good musician.’