I found this article in The Guardian by Anne Billson very, very interesting, given that the heroine of The Duke and The Pirate Queen shaves her head, mainly for the purpose of displaying the privateer tattoos on her scalp.
“…long, lustrous tresses are one of the major signifiers of femininity. One of the first things a girl does when disguising her gender is cut her hair…”
“Short hair on female characters is rarely permitted to exist in its own right. It’s a statement, a sign of playing men at their own game…Getting chopped is seldom something female characters do of their own volition. It deprives them of a formidable weapon, and, instead of giving them masculine strength, only emphasises their helplessness.”
“When women have their hair cropped on screen, it’s usually because they’re under some sort of compulsion or duress.”
“It’s a small step from boyish crop to baldness, which may in real life signify Britney-style breakdown, but in the movies more often means alien (Star Trek: The Motion Picture), monster (Splice) or homicidal maniac (Blue Sunshine).”