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January 2, 2013
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hair length and roles among the sexes

:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I heard in art history that when a character in a painting had body hair it meant that they were virile and(or) promiscuous. HoweverI am starting to realize that not only body hair but the length of hair seems to have a correlation with gender and sex roles.

Girls in many fictional settings are usually supportive, obedient, kind, nurturing and have long hair. Older respectable women are seen with long hair only put up in a bun. While women with short hair or no hair are portrayed as strange or mean. One example that comes to mind is the borg queen from Star Trek, she has no hair, and is seen as manipulative, creepy, and over the top evil.

When I think about men with long hair I think about romance novel covers with Fabio or Fabio clones, and the beast from Beauty and the Beast (tv show and movie). These men are not real men but idealized projection of what people want men to be.

Let me know if this makes sense or sounds crazy.
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:icontheawesomeshoexd:
TheAwesomeShoeXD Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I personally never really understood the whole body and pubic hair thing. I hate seeing it. I personally get rid of mine and the characters I draw are also clean shaven, although most of the characters express massive amounts of sexuality.

I think the whole long hair thing on women comes from the classic gender roles. Women are to stay at home with the children. This fits the description of supportive, obedient, kind and nurturing. Why long hair? Any active person would know long hair really gets in the way of things. It requires a lot of care; care that an at-home woman can handle but an active one would have a hard time with. I used to have long hair but I couldn't keep up with it and I thought it looked fucking stupid, so I cut it. I was in many activities and didn't have time to wash it every day, I hated combing it because it was a big pain in the ass to do, my dog would sit on it at night, I couldn't wear hoodies, it got caught in everything including my backpack, and I was into fighting and it would always be pulled and used against me. Not fun. It also gave me headaches. After I cut it, it was quite the weight off my shoulders. Unfortunately, many people saw me differently after that. You're right, short haired girls are portrayed as strange or mean so that social stigma stuck. I am very strange, so it went well with my personality there, but I am by no means mean. Back to gender roles, it is expected of a woman to be subservient. One that doesn't conform to those standards is considered strange, and being independent could come off as mean. Many strong, independent women have short hair, so the misunderstood stereotype stuck.
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I am glad you are enjoying your short hair.
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:iconrockygems:
RockyGems Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Student General Artist
Among old European aristocracy, an abundance of pubic hair was seen as so sexy, that when people got syphilis and the hair started to fall out, they would actually glue on wigs down there :XD:
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That explains the body hair in Art History.
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:iconwandereratheart:
WandererAtHeart Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013
In Asia men used to always have long hair as well as women, it was a sign of well-being, status, beauty and pride. Somewher along the course of history the Europeans decided short hair was the thing and spread it around and somehow it stuck although slowly the stereotype is being broken as we see more celebrities like Emma Watson cutting their hair and she's not a symbol of cruelty, evilness, or creepyness at all. And with the whole emo phase hitting teenagers more guys are growing their hair too.

At least that's a miz of what I've learned and observed. Personally I dig guys with long hair though :P
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hooray for Emma Watson.
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:iconnecroraevyn:
NecroRaevyn Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Student Writer
It's an ancient idiot sexist stereotype people still haven't gotten over.
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:iconrionx:
RiONX Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
Alice Krige who played the Borg queen in Start Trek 8 was also in Silent Hill where she was just as evil but had very long hair.
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
cool
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:iconstoneman123:
stoneman123 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't think there is any objective correllation. It seems these things are rather arbitrary and mercurial; artefacts of the culture that produced them. The Masai people of East Africa seem to be rather fond of bald women, for example. What's more, I think shorter hair was preferred on women in the earlier half of the 20th century. Looking at media from that era, it certainly seems more common.

Anyway, if you see it in fictional settings, it's just the result of lazy worldbuilding, with the writer simply projecting a melange of Western cultural perceptions onto the characters.
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Interesting tidbit about the Masai. I will have to check that out. Nice use of the word melange.
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:iconstoneman123:
stoneman123 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, I remember seeing a documentary or something about them once, and I noticed that many if not all of their women were walking around with their heads clean-shaven, something which an American girl would likely jump off a plane before doing.

I thank you for complementing my diction, by the way. I say "melange," as I've noticed very few old ladies putting their hair up in buns these days; that's more of the "fairy-tale" version of old-ladyness. The current generation of old ladies seem to mostly keep their hair short and curled, a style popular in the fifties and sixties, whereas unbound shoulder-length hair seems to be the preferred style among Western women today.
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:iconi-stamp:
i-stamp Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
Long hair is for people who don't mind getting eaten by zombies. So easy to grab. :no:
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:iconvisionoftheworld:
VISIONOFTHEWORLD Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013
You seem to be using some vague stereotypes about hair length that I suspect are.. derived from cartoons. I don't know how else you could have gotten these ideas otherwise.
Girls choose to have long hair. They consider it sexy. It is not because men necessarily want perfectly straight long hair on women- a glance at the typical top selling porno flicks will prove that wrong like immediately. And those flicks really are probably the best way to figure out what the horny people want women to look like- and it isn't good- though it is quite varied. There seems to be a fixation with pigtails, honestly when was the last time you saw a woman over 18 wearing those things?
As for men with long hair... well all the stereotypes I'm thinking of, like from American movies especially- always show longhaired men as dirty, stupid, violent, and/or riding a motorcycle. What long haired men in romance novels? Beauty and the Beast is a bit out of date isn't it?
As for short haired women... well I love short hair. I've more than once been disappointed when some lovely girl in the office has decided to grow her hair out :( But.. strange and mean?!? Where are you getting this from? Perhaps you haven't seen this month's cover of Glamour- prettymuch the last word in current women's fashion: [link] I think that is possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen. So when thinking about idealized gender roles- long haired women and short haired men might be the most common stereotype, but villains tend to be more the opposite of what you described.
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You are correct. What I used to support my argument is outdated and vague. I do not watch porno thereby don't have a good idea on what is considered sexy, despite living only a couple hours away from the Kinsey collection. I have been told the most popular costumes in porn and among strippers are little schoolgirl costumes. That could explain the pigtails (shudder).

I did not think much about long hair being synonymous with white trash stereotypes, but it makes sense.

Kudos on you for loving short haired women. Although I find it interesting that you used the word "cute." I have found that word often used to describe short haired women. Even people who stereotype short hair as a sign of independence.

keep sharing your opinions! I look forward to them.
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:iconvisionoftheworld:
VISIONOFTHEWORLD Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
I knew my mentioning porno would make me sound bad no matter what. I honestly don't watch it either, it is really all the same and seems to all be geared to one specific type of male- I didn't explain but what I meant was if you go to one of the websites that sells it (voluntarily of course :roll: ) just the cover pictures are pretty much telling the whole story. School uniforms, pigtails, huge fake boobs... the point I wanted to make obviously being that even in the world of actually selling sex- long hair does not dominate. Therefore I felt I was right that women prefer long hair because they think it makes themselves more cute and feminine.

As far as the word cute goes... I don't know what to say. I hear more women using it to compliment eachother then I ever hear men using it. I didn't think my using it had anything to do with the length of her hair specifically, and use that word probably more than most men would use it. I abhorr the word 'hot' and most of the other shitty words men use to objectify women. Not that I think women don't willingly objectify themselves...
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
My apologies for misreading your example.

I never gave thought of the word hot as a form of objectification. Next time I will think of many other words to describe a visually appealing woman like, beautiful, lovely, gorgeous, attractive, becoming. Being Latino there are plenty of Spanish words as well: bonita, chula, guapa etc..
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:iconpriteeboy:
priteeboy Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think long hair (provided its healthy and well kept) is generally regarded as attractive by many people and has been for a long time. There are always exceptions of course, and I frequently hear of women (and gays) favouring men with short hair. But onto women first - I think the "ideal woman" from a typical man's point of view would have a variety of things she conforms to physically, one being she would have lots of elegant, beautiful hair. The older women you mentioned with their hair up in a bun are kinda "past their prime" and so they would probably wear their hair according to what's practical, rather than what's beautiful. Almost everyone stops trying to look good past a certain age, people reach a point where being comfortable is finally worth looking "average" :p Short hair on women has always been an extreme minority, and humans naturally don't like or trust minorities in any sense, sometimes because an unusual look can even be a sign of sickness or flawed genetics (not that short hair is either). In modern culture short hair on women is usually affiliated with lesbianism. I think some can look really cool with it though, but it's gotta match their overall look, fashion choices and personality to really work :hmm:

As for men, one would think women would like long hair on men as much as men like it on women. In fact maybe even moreso - in animals the male of the pair often has the flashiest features. Whether it be the lion's mane, a peacocks tailfeathers, a Betta-fish's brighter colours, the crabs giant claws etc. All tools used to attract females. Human men don't really have any of this, so longer hair could be our "mane". I would see it as a sign of health and vigour in a man if he actually looked the part. And maybe that's why long hair on men isn't that popular - because few men take care of it. Most of the long-haired men I see look like either nerds or drug addicts and certainly don't help the reputation of long haired men :bleh: Like short hair on women - I think long hair on men needs specific care and a "look" to pull it off successfully. It won't make every man look like a young Fabio :no:
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I never considered the idea of short hair being associated with sickness. Most of the time people look down on it because it is outside their comfort zone.

I love the examples of other animals. And as stated above, I did not consider the drug addict or the strange long haired man, so thank you for your feedback.

In retrospect I should have mentioned Bishi boys like Kurama from Yu Yu Hakusho.
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:iconpriteeboy:
priteeboy Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The sickness thing was in reference to more nomadic times though. For ages now hair has been deliberately cut short for practical or fashion reasons. In times before cutting hair was common - one would assume that shorter hair is a result of slowed hair growth or hair strands falling out before they get too long etc, which would be something caused by sickness or poor genes, making it a sign of someone being less-desirable :hmm:

Yes unfortunately long hair on guys looks 100 times better on anime or fantasy characters than on real men. Most long-haired men I do see in real life definitely aren't bishie-material :XD:
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ha ha, so true.
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:iconblack-allison:
Black-Allison Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013
Well in the 20's short haired women were considered rebellious harlots who spent most of their money on Chanel bags and fancy cigarettes. In Ancient Chinese culture having your hair cut was a shameful thing and it means you got beat up pretty badly by some guys at school.
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh my. My sister often says my mothers short curly hair makes her look like a 1920's flapper. I feel the sudden urge to defend my mothers honor.
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:iconmci021:
mci021 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I think the Borg Queen and Fabio have nothing to do with art history.
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:iconstoneman123:
stoneman123 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
But don't they both feature in works of art? That would make them recent history, granted, but any work of art that gains widespread recognition can be analyzed as a cultural barometer. Though I must admit general ignorance of the subject, I should think understanding the culture that produced a work of art is part of the reason people study art history in the first place.
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I hope it stays that way.
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:iconmci021:
mci021 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I kind of dread the idea of future anthropologists discovering a marketing department at a romance novel publisher and finding a bunch of poster-size prints of Fabio's novel covers. They'll think he was a god in our culture or something.
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:iconblack-allison:
Black-Allison Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013
God of dissatisfied housewives everywhere. With his great mane he sweeps in when their husbands are working night shifts away in the big city and remind them of the true comfort that only a man and woman in understanding of each other, body, mind, and soul can share. And whilst she sleeps, he ascends back into heaven, and they called him Fabio.
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:iconmci021:
mci021 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
:rofl: well done.
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:iconder-freishutz:
der-freishutz Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
it is a good observation,and i agree. although i prefer women with short hair, probably because alot of girls with long hair are usually white trash.
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
To tell you the truth, one of the factors for posting this was because a guy told me that bald women are "creepy." I wanted to know whether most people felt this way because I feel that creepyness is more dependent on the content of someones character than the length of their hair. I am pleased with most peoples answers and glad to know I share peoples opinion.
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013
I preferred Jack's look from Mass Effect 2. Bald can be very sexy.
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Your view of women's hair is the traditional one, and is now very old-fashioned. Back in the day, respectable women did not "bob" their hair. Only "loose" women did so. And then, only young girls wore their hair down. Adult women would put their hair up.

On the other hand, men's hair has been more a matter of fashion of the times. Generally it's been shorter than women's hair, but this is in part because men's hair does not grow as long as women's on average. There are situations when men were expected to let their hair grow out for symbolic reasons. For instance, to this day Russian priests do not cut their hair in token of their dedication to God, but most other men are expected to keep their hair short.
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:iconbullet-magnet:
Bullet-Magnet Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013
Long hair is indicative of nothing more than a morbid fear of barbers.
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:iconreptilliansp2011:
ReptillianSP2011 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Student General Artist
What about laziness and the opinion that long hair is more comfortable?
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:iconbullet-magnet:
Bullet-Magnet Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013
Nonsense. Long hair is uncomfortable and nobody has ever been lazy.
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:iconreptilliansp2011:
ReptillianSP2011 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Student General Artist
Tried shorter hair, it is uncomfortable and I am very lazy to get myself a barber.
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:iconbullet-magnet:
Bullet-Magnet Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013
You don't even have hair, lizard boy.
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:iconreptilliansp2011:
ReptillianSP2011 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Student General Artist
Hahaha. Amusing remark.
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:iconbullet-magnet:
Bullet-Magnet Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013
I'm sorry, that was mean. I shouldn't have been so rude about your skin condition. I have something similar. Also I'm compelled to eat crickets regularly.
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:iconreptilliansp2011:
ReptillianSP2011 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Student General Artist
Hahaha. How does crickets taste?
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(1 Reply)
:iconwolfyspice:
WolfySpice Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Crap barbers, to be precise. I've seen those horror stories.

If my current hairdresser retires, I will be lost. No-one else can lightly trim that good.
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:iconbullet-magnet:
Bullet-Magnet Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013
Starting to think that maybe baldness is the right idea.
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:iconwolfyspice:
WolfySpice Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Nah, I'll just metamorphose into Cousin Itt.
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
LoL
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:iconetheara:
etheara Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
This...

"...hair seems
to have a correlation with gender and sex roles."

...and...

"...idealized projection of what people want men to be."

... are not on the same page. Show's me that you can make sense
but this may sound crazy. :peace:

Seems that you already realized that archetypes should stay with art and literature
and have nothing to do with the real world. Kudos! :D
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:iconeldingagunman:
EldingaGunman Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013
This is true. Even things like the egyptian hieroglyphs and old, written-down viking laws reinforce this. It hold true for different cultures of different ages, over vast time spans.

There are subcultures that don't care about the length of the hair, though. The ones crazy enough about Heavy metal to grow their hair out have been among the manliest and most macho people I've ever known, no joke.
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:iconsaidryian:
Saidryian Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013
A thousand different exceptions, with different cultures and even just trends changing it all.
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:iconwolfyspice:
WolfySpice Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
That's the first time I've been called an idealised projection, I'll give you that much.
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I am sorry, I was not trying to be condescending. I am currently trying to grow my hair.
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