Teenagers and Hairstyles (2)

Teenage girl with long hair
Photo: Fanfo/Shutterstock
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Protecting Teenagers from the Stigma Surrounding Certain Hairstyles, Cuts and Colors
A 15-year-old girl walking into her classroom on a Monday morning with beach blonde Marilyn Monroe-like tresses is almost certain to be branded as promiscuous. While a 16-year-old boy whose face is framed by long dreadlocks will be labeled as "crusty" and a "hippie", 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 earned their reputation.
For example, in the 1960s the working-class youth subculture the "skinheads" was born, who were notorious for creating havoc and unease in society, and whose shaved 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 that "skinheads" evoke.
In this sense, it is arguably justifiable that teenagers should be restrained from making their own decisions 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 radical movements.
Girl with a shaved head
Photo: Ekatarina Pereslavtseva/Katyasmailey via Canva
Freedom of Expression
On the other hand, freedom of expression should be a granted right of society, and unfortunately it is often teenagers who are the most eager to express freedom, while being the most restricted from doing so. A positive advancement into allowing "freedom of expression" within the realms of teenagers and hairstyles was accomplished in the particularly conservative state of Texas.
Despite the fact that 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 progress 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 on following a set of socially accepted standards regarding the way we look, particularly with those so young, teenagers rarely stand a chance in their crusade for hairstyle liberation. To alter these codes of conduct which obstruct freedom of expression, parents should allow their teenagers to decide what they 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.
See also:
Kids and hair decisions
Hairstyle advice for teenagers
Hair, teenagers and peer pressure