The balding history of the buzzcut as told by Sinéad O’Connor

In 2014, the now-deceased Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor told Oprah Winfrey, “They wanted me to grow my hair really long and wear miniskirts and all that kind of stuff.” because (record execs) reckoned I’d look much nicer. So I immediately went to the barber and had the remainder of my hair shaved.

O’Connor, who passed away on Wednesday, July 26 at the age of 56, made her buzzcut debut in 1987, when she was just 20 years old and had just secured a record deal.It was an act of defiance, a protest against the music industry’s commodification of her gender and looks. Baldness soon established O’Connor’s public persona and served as a visible indicator of her rebellious nature.

The hairstyle is more prevalent today. The coronavirus lockdown limitations in the UK caused a boom in clipper-only crops, earning it the moniker “hair cut of 2020” according to the London-based pop culture publication Dazed. Florence Pugh, Kristin Stewart, Amber Rose, Iris Law, Willow Smith, and Saweetie are just a few of the prominent people that have boldly worn buzz cuts. Even if the look has become popular, its female wearers still exude a sense of liberation. Actor Kate Hudson said in 2017 that she was astonished with how well she took to the change after shaving her head. “I wasn’t expecting the connection to (my hair) to be as strong as it was. It’s really empowering.

Sinéad O’Connor But due to its convoluted and conflicting history, the shorn head has come to represent nonconformism, particularly for women.

a background of hairlessness
Prior to the widespread production of hygiene goods and functional plumbing systems in ancient cultures, tightly trimmed hair served as a barrier against the spread of head lice in communities. In order to promote cleanliness, priests and priestesses in ancient Egypt were well renowned for shaving their entire bodies. Roman soldiers also had short hair, unlike Scandinavian or Celtic warriors who were famed for their customarily long hair.

One of the earliest instances of form over function, at least in the realm of beauty, was the buzzcut. The US military adopted shorn hair as a standard hairstyle for males in the 1950s. If they opted out of updos like buns and ponytails, women would also be in the buzz. No one was protect from the enforce uniformity, which aggressively opposed identity and self expression through external appearance. Elvis Presley was assign to the military barbers at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas after being enlist in the US army in 1957. The same year, according to a Washington Post piece, Presley saw his hair fall to the ground and remarked, “Hair today, gone tomorrow.” The “jarhead” hairstyle, in which the hair is very closely cropp to the skin with a lengthier island of about half an inch on top, is still common among US marines today.

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