If you live in the United States, you’ll be familiar with the National Bald is Beautiful Day which is celebrated every September. Even if you don’t live in that great country, you might have seen coverage of the day in various media outlets. It’s an opportunity for those people who are bald to hold their head up (literally) and take pride in their baldness. It’s an interesting concept but does it work in practice?
This article will look at how baldness affects men and women differently. We’re also going to explore how being bald by choice can be a different experience from being bald by circumstance. Keep scrolling!
The Male Experience
One would think that men would be happy to shave their head. After all, there is academic evidence to suggest that they might benefit from a bald dome. A few years ago, University of Pennsylvania researcher Albert E. Mannes authored a study with the title Shorn Scalps and Perceptions of Male Dominance. It found that bald men are perceived as being more dominant and more attractive by those around them.
Why would that be? Long flowing hair, after all, has been revered as a symbol of youth, strength and vitality in virtually every society since time began. Perhaps a shaved head is viewed as an act of rebellion against this societal norm. Someone who can carry it off successfully, therefore, is likely to be seen as a strong, confident character. As bald comedian Larry David observed, ‘Anyone can be confident with a full head of hair. But a confident bald man – there’s your diamond in the rough.’ It may have been a comedic observation, but as with all great comedy, it might just contain a grain of truth.
The Case for Hair
Despite that, many men just don’t want to lose their hair. The list of male celebrities who choose to have a hair transplant and are proud of their new look grows longer every week. It includes footballers like Wayne Rooney, David Silva and Andros Townsend, for example, along with actors John Travolta, Tom Hanks and James Nesbitt. Some of these have been honest about just how much the prospect of being bald affected them. Nesbitt, for example, worried that his baldness would harm his acting career.
The Female Experience
Hair and femininity have been strongly linked down through history, so the woman who shaves her head is, in some ways, subverting certain perceptions of what it means to be female. This makes it a much bigger deal for a woman to be bald. Some women have taken that fact and used it to make a bold statement. Irish singer Sinead O’Connor’s sensational appearance at the Grammy Awards in 1989 is one example of that. It was the appearance that launched her as an international star. With her shaved head, boots, ripped jeans and a bra top, she was young, beautiful and defiant. She was telling the world that she was not going to be defined by any patriarchal notions of female beauty or behaviour.
Other women have used baldness to say something different. Britney Spears’ decision to shave her head in 2007 was driven by the turmoil in her life at that time. It wasn’t so much a statement as a cry of distress from the ‘Princess of Pop’.
Unlike the two singers, actress Jada Pinkett Smith didn’t choose to be bald. It was something thrust upon her when she was diagnosed with alopecia in 2018. Since then, and particularly after events at the 2022 Oscars, she has become the public face of the autoimmune condition. She is more comfortable with her baldness now but that wasn’t always the case. For a time, she tried to hide it by wearing a turban. Only after about three years did she choose to embrace her baldness, posting photos of her shaved head on social media. She was pictured looking fabulous as part of the National Bald is Beautiful Day. The message she sent out with the picture was simple: “Happy Bald is Beautiful Day to all my brothers and sisters with no hair.”
Events like National Bald is Beautiful Day highlight the fact that a shaved head can look attractive. If you’re someone who chooses to be bald or are happy with the look, then good luck to you. Not everyone will be comfortable with giving up their locks, however. For millions of people, their hair is a vital part of their identity, one which they don’t want to give up. These days, holding on to your hair or going bald is a choice.
If you’re concerned about hair loss or thinning, Vinci Hair Clinic can help. We’re one of the largest hair restoration companies in the world with clinics in many countries across the globe. We’re offering a free, no-obligation consultation to all our new clients. Get in touch with us and book your appointment today. We look forward to welcoming you!