Back in 2001, Hillary Clinton told a class of students graduating from Yale University, “Hair matters. Pay attention to your hair – because everyone else will.” Her comments were echoed a few years later by another leading female barrister, Cherie Blair. She told a newspaper that she never realised just how much attention would be focused on her appearance when she moved into 10 Downing Street as the wife of the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. On reflection, she told the paper, she wished ‘she’d put more effort into doing her hair.’
Two eminent women who held positions of power and influence in major western democracies. Two women who felt judged by society on the state of their hair. Is that still the case today? And is the situation any different for men? Scroll down to learn more!
The Situation Today
CTV, Canada’s largest privately-owned television network, hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently. It happened when CTV News anchor Lisa LaFlamme, who had been with the company for thirty-five years, was dismissed for reasons that have still not been adequately explained. One suggestion that gained traction in the media was that Ms LaFlamme had been let go because she had allowed her hair to go grey. CTV denied that this was the case, but that didn’t stop over seventy leading journalists, politicians and activists from signing an open letter protesting the decision.
Whatever the truth behind this particular story, the row surrounding it suggests that little has changed since Clinton made her comments. That fact is supported by a quick look at the treatment given by the media to other prominent women. Many column inches are devoted to the state of the Princess of Wales’ hair, while judgemental comments about the hair colouring and highlights of Prime Minister Liz Truss are routinely posted alongside analysis of her political views.
The Male Experience
Yet men are not exempt from being judged on their hair, either. Former international footballer Pat Nevin was told by a producer that if he didn’t do something about his receding hairline, his fledgling career as a sports presenter would be over before it started. Actor James Nesbitt has confessed that he worried that his receding hairline would cost him acting roles. A clip on TikTok mocking Prince William’s baldness was viewed millions of times during the period of mourning for Queen Elizabeth. So, it seems that it is not just women who are judged by their hair; bald shaming of men is still a thing. Why is hair a lightning rod for such toxic commentary?
People often mock that which they fear, and there is little doubt that people fear hair loss. That’s hardly surprising given the significant role hair has played in all cultures and societies from earliest times. For both men and women, it has always represented strength, power and attractiveness. Losing our hair is a symbol of losing all these things. It is an indication that we are growing old in a society that worships youthfulness. This brings with it a sense of shame. Gershen Kaufman, author of The Psychology of Shame, puts it this way: “There is tremendous shame about growing older, particularly in a culture that overvalues youth, as ours does.”
Viewed from this perspective, it’s easier to understand why hair loss can be a gateway to anxiety and a crisis of confidence. It is no exaggeration to say that it can destroy careers and wreck relationships.
Those who work in the hair restoration business know this already. They’ve heard the stories from countless men and women. They’ve also seen the transformation that takes place in a person by the time they finish their hair restoration treatment, a transformation that is more than a physical or aesthetic change. Hair restoration treatment can repair a person’s damaged self-esteem. With this healing comes a whole different attitude to life. Two phrases dominate the customer feedback sheets collected by Vinci clinics: ‘best decision I ever made’ and ‘wish I’d done this sooner.’
Society still judges a woman by her hair but, as we have seen, it often judges men in the same way. It’s why baldness can affect us at such a deep level and cause problems that go far beyond aesthetics. It’s also the reason why hair restoration is increasingly being recognised as a healthcare treatment.
If you are worried that you might be experiencing hair loss or hair thinning, you should talk to a hair expert sooner rather than later. You may be worrying needlessly, as some daily hair loss is normal. If you do have a problem, however, then the sooner you take steps to deal with it the better. Vinci Hair Clinic is here to help. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to all our new clients. Get in touch and book your appointment today!