Mar 29, 2014

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: The North Korean Hair Rumor

Hair styles are such a symbol of cultural conformity and nonconformity. Just like fashion, we use hair-dos to fit it or stand out. We Americans relish the freedoms we enjoy to do whatever we like with our looks, even when its tasteless to the point of offensive. So the internet rumor that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was forcing male university students in the capital to sport the same 1/2 shaved style as Dear Leader Jr. understandably went viral. It speaks to our supreme distaste for the idea of communism's cultural control.

While the mass buzz cuts may be a rumor, according to the New York Times North Korea did wage war against long hair in 2005.
"... the government waged war against men with long hair, calling them unhygienic anti-socialist fools and directing them to wear their hair "socialist style." It derided shabbily coifed men as "blind followers of bourgeois lifestyle." The country's state-run Central TV even identified violators by name and address, exposing them to jeers from other citizens.

The hair campaign, dubbed "Let's trim our hair according to socialist lifestyle," required that hair be kept no longer than 5 centimeters (2 inches). Older men received a small exemption to allow comb-overs.

The campaign claimed long hair hampers brain activity by taking oxygen away from nerves in the head. It didn't explain why women were allowed to grow long hair."
Sheesh, who knew? Glad I cut my hair off, hopefully I'll get smarter now!

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