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I was just sitting in the living room taking a break and there was a movie on. The father looks at his son and asks him when he’s going to get a haircut. The boy’s hair is already shaved on the sides and maybe two inches long on the top, so not much to cut. However, the father insists that the boy needs a haircut. It made me think of the connection some people draw between the length of a male’s hair and his level of manliness.
Having short hair doesn’t make you more of a man, and having long hair doesn’t make you less of one. Some people have let go of this antiquated idea, but for some reason many still cling to it. They have somehow failed to realize that a man or woman is not defined by how they look.
Most people would agree that Vikings were pretty manly men, right? well, they often wore their hair long, either braided or loose. Their hair could be anywhere from shoulder to waist length. Samurai and other Japanese warriors whose manhood never came into question often wore long hair and even used it to help secure their helmets. It was considered a dishonor for someone to cut their hair. Native American warriors also kept long hair and even believed that if it was cut, they would lose their ability to track and fight.
Throughout history there have been plenty of perfectly manly men with long hair. At some points it was even a sign of affluence, because only a wealthy man could afford to groom and maintain long locks. Several cultures around the world believe that their hair actually hold properties that allow them to be stronger or better able to complete certain tasks.
Strictly speaking, short-haired men are not more manly than those with long hair. Certain religions and the onset of homophobia are mostly responsible for the idea that a “real man” has short hair. Over time people have attached ridiculous significance to certain aspects of appearance. They push those ideas on the rest of society, sometimes even to the point of trying to crush traditional ethnic beliefs that contradict them.
The truth is, a man is made a man by who he is and what he does, not by the length of his hair or what he wears. In my opinion, a real man wouldn’t judge another by their appearance and imply that they are somehow less of a person because of how they look. A real man is a good person, balancing strength and compassion, who is dedicated, honest and respectful. A person’s actions mean far more than their appearance.
Of course, the opposite of all this is true as well. Though it is more typical for a woman to have long hair, it doesn’t make someone less feminine or womanly if she cuts her hair. She is still the same person, no matter what her clothes and hair look like. Defining a person’s sexuality, prowess or character by their appearance is just a pointless act. We should pay more attention to what’s on the inside and the actions people take than we do to how they choose to look.