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Hair News: What’s on My Mind (Pantene’s Dad-Do / Strong is Beautiful)

Hello everyone,

I’ve been busily working on several academic manuscripts, launching a new research think tank Natural Hair @ Work Day with the fabulous Terresa Hardaway and Antonia Opiah (Natural Hair @ Work Day is coming in July 2016, check it out here: http://naturalhairatwork.com/)) all while doing my best to be a good wife, Mom, daughter, sister and volunteer (when did life get so busy)!  Nevertheless, I’ve had a lot on my mind!

For one, I LOVE the new Pantene commercial “Strong is Beautiful” featuring NFL players giving their daughters “Dad-Dos” (how cute is that?!).  ABC News provides a lovely extended version where Benjamin Watson (Tight End for the New Orleans Saints) is with his beautiful daughters and states, “She’s going to really judge all men by how I treat her and so it’s important for me to connect with them and do things that they want to do.  Whether it’s doing their hair, whether it’s riding bikes…it’s about connecting and showing them that they’re important.”  (around 1:17)

Here’s the 30-second version from Pantene’s website:

I think that Pantene has done a phenomenal job illustrating that hair is an important way to bond with our little girls.  Watch out! Daddy-Dos coming to the playground near you!

Check back soon to talk about hair in Beyonce’s latest video (Formation)!

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A balding 13-year old boy and me

Harold movie poster

Good day everyone!  I recently watched a movie on Netflix called “Harold”.  Here is a description of the movie on NetFlix:

“Fitting in at his new high school is tough for Harold (Spencer Breslin), especially since he suffers from early male-pattern baldness. With mean classmates making his life miserable, Harold tries to turn his luck around by taking the advice of a caring janitor (Cuba Gooding Jr.). Co-starring Ally Sheedy, Nikki Blonsky and Chris Parnell, this delightful comedy cleverly depicts the harsh realities of being an outsider.”

Ohhhh how I felt for Harold.  I couldn’t relate to everything because, fortunately, I was not the recipient of bullying.   It was so interesting to me that the whole premise of the movie was how a child would be tormented for his bald pate, how his hair could make him an outsider.  I can relate to feeling like an outsider Harold.  I have been there.  On numerous occasions, I’ve shared how I felt almost like a water-aversive alien because of my hair; afraid of rain, pools, humidity, even a crazy fool with a water hose.  Thanks be to God, I’ve learned (am learning) to accept my hair in all of its glory (even in its smashed, half frizzy state as I type this).  No, I’m not equating kinky / coily hair to male pattern baldness. But, what I am doing is recognizing that we all have identity battles, as we work hard to figure out how we fit in in this world.  May this year bring you self-discovery and self-acceptance as we strive to become the best people that we can be.  Hugs to you all.

Tina

If you or someone you know has experience with male pattern baldness, I’d love to hear more about your experience.  Please email me at contact@hairasidentity.com to schedule a chat.  Thanks!

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Facial Hair and Identity: A Male Perspective

As I was shaving my face this morning I thought of Tina Opie’s post on hair and identity. She raises some interesting questions. From a male perspective, I know that the expectation in a professional setting is to either be clean-shaven or if we choose to wear a beard/mustache, the expectation is that it be neatly trimmed.

Hello everyone,

I recently wrote a Post on facial hair and I am delighted to publish commentary that I received.  Mr. Amir Reza wrote an interesting personal piece on his experience with facial hair.   Here it is; I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

“Men and Facial Hair” by Amir Reza

As I was shaving my face this morning I thought of Tina Opie’s post on hair and identity. She raises some interesting questions. From a male perspective, I know that the expectation in a professional setting is to either be clean-shaven or if we choose to wear a beard/mustache, the expectation is that it be neatly trimmed. I recall when I stopped shaving a few years ago during vacation and decided not to shave before returning to work – that period when your beard hasn’t fully grown in and you are not clean-shaven is interesting – there were colleagues that loved the facial hair and others that didn’t care for it. There wasn’t much in between. Most everyone had an opinion one way or another. There were many questions; was I going to grow it indefinitely? Would I consider a goatee? What did others think about my new look?

Mr. Reza sporting a beard

There were also joking comments about my identity as a Middle Eastern American and what facial hair meant in light of the stereotypical terrorist suspect. This makes me think of that period after September 11, 2001 when the Department of Homeland Security instituted color-coded threat levels and profiling of Middle Easterners (in particular young men) was prevalent. I recall half-jokingly commenting to my friends that if the color code was “orange” or higher I would definitely shave, lest I be profiled as “one of them.” Maz Jobrani (an Iranian-American comedian) has a funny segment on this topic – “you don’t want to be Middle Eastern and show up at the airport with a beard!” (watch here minute 3:50 of this youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYlaIxNX01Q ).

Returning to Opie’s blog on facial hair, it seems that facial hair is a political & social matter for men, whether you are running for office or trying to navigate society (east or west). As for me, I ended up shaving my beard/mustache eventually, not because of my colleagues’ comments, but because my two-year old daughter didn’t want to kiss me because I was too itchy!

Mr. Reza sans beard

What do you all think?  Please share any thoughts that Mr. Reza’s story triggered in your mind.  Thanks for reading!

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Beards, Goatees and Mustaches: How Facial Hair Frames Identity

Hmm, what does the beard symbolize? As a matter of fact, most politicians I envision are clean-shaven, no mustaches and definitely not a goatee. Wait, there are Che’ Guevara, Fidel Castro but both men were revolutionaries. In some cultures, does a beard symbolize divergence from the norm? Men, please chime in, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you wear facial hair? Why or why not? Any stories to share?

Hello everyone,

The other day I heard a radio story about Egypt’s new Prime Minister Hisham Qandil.  So, why am I discussing Mr. Qandil on a website about hair and identity?  Interestingly enough, the story was about how Prime Minister Qandil’s beard is stirring discussion about what a beard symbolizes.  I am not an expert on Egyptian politics or on Islam, so I apologize if I am oversimplifying the story.  Apparently, in the past, beards have been associated with Muslim “hardliners” (according to the article, hardliners refer to devout Muslims follow the exact teachings of the Prophet Muhammad).  However, Egypt is described as a country with secular traditions; therefore, a beard might not be a welcome symbol in some circles. Please see the BBC’s story on this topic here.

Come to think of it, off of the top of my head, I can’t think of ANY politicians (other than Abraham Lincoln) who wear beards?

President Lincoln donning his famous beard

Hmm, what does the beard symbolize?  As a matter of fact, most politicians I envision are clean-shaven, no mustaches and definitely not a goatee.  Wait, there are Che’ Guevara, Fidel Castro but both men were revolutionaries.  In some cultures, does a beard symbolize divergence from the norm?

As I did some research on this idea, I came across an article by Slate.com–> Slate’s article on “Beards in Politics”.  Wow, the article is all about politicians and facial hair. An interesting read (e.g., I never knew why the military banned facial hair!). This story has prompted me to consider how facial hair frames identity. Men, please chime in, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you wear facial hair?  Ladies, do you love or despise men’s facial hair?   Why or why not? Any stories to share?  Now, should we venture into facial hair on women?  Wow, that’s a whole different series!

Thanks!
Tina

  • rosemaryandrock

    Yes, I’d agree with your comment that today, beards indicate a sort of alternative culture. Full beards make me think of the Unabomber. Neater ones make me think of people who are maybe academics or writers. “Scruff”, on the other hand, I associate with hipsters or people who (think they?) are really handsome and can “get away” with not shaving. I agree though that historically beards would have been associated with power and masculinity–think of the horrible attacks in the Amish community of late that involved people forcibly cutting off others’ beards: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/16-amish-ohio-reject-beard-cutting-plea-deals-16887977 Then too there’s the story of Samson–hair = power. A topic with a lot of substance to it!

    • drtinaopie

      Hi Rosemaryandrock. I’m usually much better about responding to comments! Forgive me. thank you for taking the time to read the post. It’s amazing to me that something as common as facial hair can carry such meaning!

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