Head Shaving in Popular Culture

Head Shaving in Popular Culture

Head shaving has been a part of human culture from time immemorial for diverse reasons and choices. The earliest recorded instance of head shaving goes back to the Meditteranean cultures, such as the Egyptian Priest removed their hair from the head by plucking it. More or less every culture has some history or reference to head shaving and over time the tools linked to shaving have only been upgraded, just as the conventional razor is on the verge of total replacement by the electrical head shaver.

While speaking of head shaving and how it has been always there, let’s have a look at the various beliefs and reasons that promoted head shaving in humans, particularly in men.

The early history records hair shaving as some form of subordination or religious beliefs that have forced or inspired men to embrace a shaved head. While the world has transitioned from manual shaving razors to head shaver for men, beliefs have still been preserved through culture and heritage.

Head Shaving As A Subordination:

Ancient Greece culture has records of enslavement where hairs were considered a symbol of power and prospective and slaves donned shaved heads. This represents a grim history where slaves were considered possessions and the owners established their power by forcing certain decrees such as physical tortures or shaving off their hair. Although these reflect a torturous past there are other references to head-shaving in human history such as one such instance is associated with the army. The military culture has the practice of shaved heads as part of the army decorum and discipline and has been often cited as a hygienic practice during life in the trenches. Moreover, for prisoners and also as a means of punishment head shaving has been in practice for quite some time.

Head shaving as Tonsure:

Shaving the head as part of religious practice is one of the widely valid reasons. In the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain religions head-shaving is associated with many religious customs. For example, the Vaishnavas or followers of the Hindu God Krishna shave their heads before entering the monk order; the Buddhist monks and nuns, too, shave their heads upon entering their order; and the Jain followers perform the “Kaya Klesh” ritual by pulling out all the hairs from the head. Muslim men are permitted to shave their heads after performing the pilgrimage of “Umrah” and “ Hajj”. These tonsures have been a part of human culture from the beginning of human civilization and will be followed till the very end.

Practical Scenarios of Head Shaving:

  • The most notable practical scenario of head shaving is impending baldness. Lifestyle changes and pollution have only promoted excessive hair falls plus genetic conditions have seen a rise in the patterned baldness in most men above the age of 35. To hide the bald hair or to end the regular stress of witnessing oneself going bald, many men are opting for shaved heads. Shaved heads are of late trending and are a major fashion goal because of their growing popularity and the advantages that it poses. Besides, many notable personalities and celebrities embracing the bald head with confidence have paved the way for many others to take the step towards a shaved head.
  • Many sports personalities are also opting for a shaved head for convenience and as an advantage for their respective sports. Especially swimmers are mostly seen shaving the body hairs including the head to reduce the resistance during swimming.
  • Apart from Alopecia, some men also adopt the shaved hairstyle simply to try something new or find a shaved head more convenient. The shaved head being an easy to maintain and cost-effective option is garnering more and more popularity among men.

Head Shaving with a Humanitarian Edge:

  • As it is a known fact that one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy, the treatment of cancer, is hair fall and most people suffering from cancer go through this bald phase. Of late, many organizations and individuals have come up with the idea of donating their hair in solidarity with cancer patients. The shaved hairs are donated to prepare wigs that help bald people in their somber phase and can cheer them up.
  • During the Covid 19 lockdown, the demands of the head shaver have seen new heights. With salons being closed for several months, many men opted for a shaved head to try something new out of boredom, or just as a solution to the growing hairs. Many countries and organizations have also used the idea of the “Covhead-19 challenge” to inspire people to shave their heads and also donate to pandemic-affected people.

Final Word:

Whatever the reason may be, head shaving has always managed to be a part of human culture and practices. A bald head in a common man has been often scrutinized which leads to a person donning a bald head losing confidence and being living with the fear of being judged. However, of late, a shaved head is perceived more as a style statement and so more men are opting for it. Moreover, a bald head comes with its own set of conveniences, as all you need to do in the name of maintenance is to shave off the hair with a head shaver for men and can ditch the long salon hours. One can, however, deduce from this that the practice of head-shaving has only evolved with time and is adopted more generally.