In an age where the hashtag ‘short hair don’t care’ trends on a daily basis, it seems laughable that there is still any kind of stigma attached to young women who choose to go for the chop. However, with mainstream fashion currently failing to showcase many styles of a shorter persuasion, it’s an interesting conversation to have.
A 2008 Daily Mail poll found that less than 10 percent of men surveyed favoured short haired females, with long wavy hair being the preferred look. As well as this, it has long been suggested by various feminists that the ‘patriarchy’ has a problem with young women having their hair cut short, supposedly because it’s a sign that the fairer sex is taking back control (God forbid) and is apparently said to make us appear less attractive. But surely this cannot still be anyone’s mindset in 2017? And even if it were, it’s certainly not stopping women like Katy Perry and Lupita Nyong’o from proving that trimmed tresses are both elegant AND empowering. Cara Delevingne has also shunned societal beauty norms in favour of a fully shaved head (albeit for a movie role) in recent weeks, stating “it’s exhausting to be told what beauty should look like.” Another insightful quote comes from Juliet Joan Buck, best known for her role as editor-in-chief at Vogue, who famously claimed that “short hair removes obvious femininity and replaces it with style.” Many view long hair as conventionally more feminine but it can’t be denied that short hair exudes confidence and sexiness in a way that the everyday curtain hairstyle just can’t compete with.
Believe it or not, the short hair trend is by no means a new thing. In fact, records show that women were lopping their locks off as far back as 1000 B.C, with widows in Ancient Greece burying their hair with their deceased husbands. Records also show that 15th-century sass pot Joan of Arc rocked a cropped style that was similar to that of her male counterparts at the time.
The early 1920s saw the boom of the ‘bob’, with many flapper girls flaunting the style; however, this was deemed controversial at the time with American authorities rallying against the ‘masculine’ trend and scaremongering parents into banning their daughters from emulating the look.
By the Second World War short styles were still popular but had transitioned into more of a fixed up-do style, often incorporating victory rolls. When the fifties arrived this shifted to more of a relaxed, loose style as promoted by several sirens on the silver screen such as Marylin Monroe.
Then along came Twiggy, who set the fashion world alight in the 1960s with her iconic style. Her mod cut made a huge statement and put an edgy twist on popular short styles from earlier that decade such as the ‘pillow-box perfect bob’ sported by Jackie Kennedy. Vidal Sassoon was the artist behind the look and gained widespread recognition for his ‘five-point cut’, a style exhibited by the likes of Mary Quant and Mia Farrow. On the other side of the pond, the Supremes were also fans of a shorter ‘do with Miss Ross and the girls parading big bouffant bobs.
Never one to follow the crowd, Princess Diana’s stylish mane whipped women of the UK up into a bit of a frenzy during the ’80s, becoming a popular go-to cut. This style was often accompanied with a perm for extra oomph.
During the 1990s girls went crazy for short, untamed styles with Kate Moss, Winona Ryder and Drew Barrymore all sporting edgy cuts.
The early noughties saw the beginning of our love affair with Posh and Becks, a period which can be documented purely through her glorious catalogue of hairstyles, but this one has to be our absolute favourite.
While the long vs short debate still rages on, it can’t be disputed that short hair has stood the test of time and continues to conquer in the style stakes. But despite its deep-rooted links in fashion throughout history, it seems that, for now at least, the majority of young women in the western world love it long. Perhaps this is due to celebrity culture, or maybe it’s simply a maintenance problem; after all, haircuts aren’t as cheap as they once were. Whatever the reason, we can only hope it has nothing to do with poll percentages on the Daily Mail.
Words: Kate Dooley
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