The use of stereotypes in advertisements does not always have to be negative, as this hair commercial shows:
The commercial opens with a man and woman walking into separate meeting rooms. The man leading the meeting is attributed the word “Boss”, the female leader the word “Bossy.” The video features men and women doing the same things, but being labeled differently. Where the man is “persuasive,” the woman is “pushy.” A man working late is shown as “dedicated”, the woman doing the same is labeled “selfish.” Finally the ad closes by urging women: “Don’t let labels hold you back. Be strong and shine.”
That hair is a highly sensitive issue shows this 2011 advertisement of NIVEA.
The ad features a short-haired black man about to toss the decapitated head of another black man with an afro and beard with the motto: “Look Like You Give A Damn…. Re-Civilize Yourself.”
Styleite’s Justin Fenner writes: “Black men have to deal with a lot of inextricable and damaging stereotypes, but the idea that we’re savages who can’t even be trusted to groom ourselves when the occasion calls for it is among the most offensive of them.”
After outrage and accusations of being racist, NIVEA finally pulled the advertisement after only a few days, apologized, and stated that they did not want to offend anyone. Still this incident shows, how careful we have to be with our statements and assumptions.
Punk elements have been commercialized a lot throughout fashion. Its origin is to be found in 1970s and 1980s, however. While the first Punk-Rock bands came from New York, it became a real subculture in London. The youth was frustrated about unemployment, their hopeless perspectives for the future and the English class system. The ruling values and ideas were negated by a broad nonconformity, by emphasizing imperfection and individualism.
Consequently punks developed a style that diverted items from their intended use and served as clothing or jewelry. The long-hair hippie look was replaced by generally unkempt, and often short hairstyles that were meant to look messy and were often dyed in unnatural colors. In the 1980s, tall Mohawks became particularly popular and took on a more extreme character than in the 1970s.
One of the subcultures that is recognized easily by a majority of people are the hippies.
Originally taken from ‘hipster’, the term “hippie” was used to describe beatniks in the late 1960s and early 1970s who wanted to drop out of the norms of society and establish a counter culture. One sign of doing so was to not cut their hair like all the people in the offices but to keep it long and wild.
Although the Hippie culture is often judged based on its members’ appearance and use of drugs, there was a greater idea behind the movement. Starting as an opposition to the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) the overall goal was a more humane and peaceful world.
The buzzword “flower power”, coined by Allan Ginsberg, was not only about wearing floral fabrics but in fact has a deeper meaning as people started to dole flowers out to the public and even soldiers.
The post WWII Baby Boom Generation had become teenagers in the 1960s so culture was dominated by youth. The Beatlemania coined the middle of the decade and made thousands of fans getting a mop-top. -A cut with straight bangs, collar-length in the neck and covering the ears at the side that got its name because of its resemblance to a mop.
According to the “inventor” of the bowl-shaped hair do, Jürgen Vollmer, he one day just decided not to backcomb his hair as it was usual at that time but to wear them as bangs as a personal sign of rebellion against the squares.
With their messages of love and non-violence the Beatles were symbols of the 1960s counterculture and were perceived as the embodiment of progressive ideals.
The 1950s were a decade of vast social and political change and hairstyles shifted accordingly. The post-WWII era was both dynamic and more conservative than former times with women returning to a more feminine and very glamorous style, wearing their hair a little longer than the typical bob length.
The “Golden Age of Television” had a great impact on how Americans perceived themself and women loved to copy the styles of actresses, musicians and other celebrities. Most popular were the styles of Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy.
In last week’s post Benjamin von Stuckrad Barre argued that nowadays there is nothing really “new” or “revolutionary” left anymore, as all hairstyles have already been tried out in the past. This inspired me for a new series of blog posts in which I will guide you through the hair styles of our former generations.
Today: the 1920s!
Maybe the hairstyles of the 1920s were the most controversial in the history of hair fashion. As a symbol of gender equality women started to cut their hair short and the “bob” was leading to severe discussions.
Soon young women became bolder, started curling their hair, wearing short skirts and make-up, and started to defy the rules of “good behavior”. -Becoming known as the generation of “flappers”.
Some people in society, however, weren’t happy at all with the changes going on. In New Jersey, for example, a teacher was ordered by the Board of Education to let her hair grow as one would spend to much time fussing with bobbed locks. Preachers warned that “a bobbed woman is a disgraced woman.” Some bobs apparently even led to divorces and a large department store fired all women with bobbed hair.
One might understand the concerns of the Board of Education when watching this video.
While the previous posts all supported the idea that hair is political, Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre argues that whereas in the past it was possible to make a political statement with your hair, provoking hair-dos have lost their revolutionary character … Continue reading →
In China, maybe more than in any other culture, hair was a symbol of ethnicity and class but also an expression of political alignment.
In ancient times, hair was valued as a symbol of self-respect and cutting off or shaving one’s hair was a severe punishment. Hair also helped to distinguish several ethnic groups so when the Manchu people took sovereignty, one of the first things they did was to order civilians to shave their heads, what therefore became a sign of dissent.
Hair had a strong political influence: during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) men had to tonsure their heads and in the years of the Republic of China (1912-49) it was forbidden to have pig tails.
During the “cultural revolution” (1966-76) “corrections” were made to women who wore their hair inappropriately. “Capitalist-style” perms disappeared and women cut off their hair very short to show their revolutionary spirit. In his article “Cultural Revolution and Hair”, scholar Gu Nong writes that at that time one braid was seen as feudalistic, two as capitalistic, and shoulder-length hair as purely revisionism.
With the opening-up of China in the late 1970s, hairstyles finally became subject to an individual’s choice and preferences.