Protecting Teenagers from the Stigma Surrounding Certain Hairstyles, Cuts and Colors
A 15-year-old girl walking into her classroom on a Monday morning owning beach blonde Marilyn Monroe like tresses is almost certain to be branded as promiscuous. Whilst a 16-year-old lad whose face is framed by
long dreadlocks is going to be labeled as ‘crusty’ and a ‘hippy’, and a young girl sporting purple, spiky hair will be regarded as a ‘punk’. Certain hairstyles, cuts and colors evoke stereotyped connotations,
which unfortunately are usually derogatory. Although some hairstyles have deservedly warranted their reputation. For example, in the 1960s the working-class youth subculture the ‘skinheads’ were born, who were
notorious for creating havoc and unease in society, and whose shaven heads were an emblem of violence, hostility and degradation. It is little wonder that many parents try to prevent their teenagers from shaving
their heads, given the symbolism ‘skinheads’ incite. In this sense it is arguably justifiable that teenagers should be refrained from making their own minds up about whether to do something as drastic as shave
their heads, given that their relatively small number of years on the planet means they are unaware of the negative associations with some radical haircuts and equally as radical movements.
Freedom of Expression
On the other hand freedom of expression should be a granted trait of society, and unfortunately it is often teenagers who are the most eager to express freedom, whilst being the most restricted from doing so.
A positive advancement into allowing ‘freedom of expression’ within the realms of teenagers and hairdos was accomplished last year in the particularly conservative state of Texas. Despite the fact a school in
Texas employed a strict “grooming policy”, which disallowed boys from having long hair, the school district’s board of trustees voted unanimously to allow a teenage boy to keep his shoulder length locks after
his family had filed a complaint about the school who had suspended him for violating his “right of religious expression”. The ruling was undeniably a mark of progression in allowing teenagers to be able to
make their own minds up about how to wear their hair.
A boy or girl’s choice of hair, like the amount of makeup they choose to wear, or the clothes they dress in, will never impede any fellow students from learning, jeopardize safety or hygiene, or ridicule
anyone else, so why is it something that even needs to be addressed? Because society has become so intent with following a set of socially accepted standards regarding the way we look, particularly with ‘ones
so young’, teenagers rarely stand a chance in their crusade to hairstyle liberation. To alter these codes of conduct which obstruct freedom of expression, parents should allow their teenagers to decide what
hey do with their hair, and if they do ‘bite their lips’ and let their adolescent offspring ‘get on with things’, the number of arguments should be decreased.