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The 2022 Academy Awards will forever be remembered by the slap heard round the world, as actor Will Smith assaulted comedian Chris Rock before a live, international audience. What started it? A joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
It bears noting that Mrs. Smith, herself an acclaimed working actress, made her hair a style choice: her shaved head is partially intentional. She suffers from alopecia, an involuntary loss of hair, but has significant resources at her disposal. She could have found the best nonsurgical hair piece (extensions, wigs, etc.) that Hollywood has to offer. Make no mistake … Hollywood, along with every major US city features some of the best hair loss solutions providers around, helping men and women overcome various hair loss conditions including alopecia treatment for women. But she wears her shaved head loud and proud, illustrating how beauty doesn’t require hair – and in fact, her enviable cheekbones and other features might come through better without it.
Men are much more confident about head shaving today
Both men and women shave their heads, although it’s far more common among men. They certainly have many role models, including Michael Jordan, Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, and others. And based on a review of men’s grooming advice websites, the shaved head has several advantages:
Less muss and fuss. Getting ready for the day, or an evening or event, might require a close shave. But that’s about it: no shampoos, conditioners, styling gels, and certainly no bed head after a nap.
There’s a good chance it makes you sexier. There are several indicators to suggest a shaved head can increase one’s attractiveness and even perceptions of masculinity and authority. One consideration is that competitive bodybuilders shave their heads to make their shoulders bigger in proportion to the head once the hair is gone. Another reason going hairless makes a man (and a woman) attractive is it can highlight other features: eyes, cheekbones, lips and the jawline. In fact, some women prefer a shaved head.
Save money on haircuts. During the pandemic a lot of men grew their hair out since a visit to the barber wasn’t in the cards. Suddenly, they had $30 or more saved by growing ponytails (to mixed reviews). A shaved head accomplishes the same without having to revive a 1990s style.
Don’t like it? You can always grow it back. In the meantime, a sharp beret or a straw boater hat can keep you interesting.
It’s different for women to shave their heads
Women who shave their heads probably might be considered braver. It’s just social convention, still, that women have hair. But Pinkett Smith isn’t the first to trim her locks, even outside of theatrical productions. Ayanna Pressley, a US congressperson from Massachusetts, decided to shed her wigs after being elected to office in 2018, to reveal her own case of alopecia. Two years later she is holding onto the shaved – and attractive – look.
Blogs about women shaving their heads offer this advice and commentary:
Saves time and money. Even more so than men, women’s investment in hair styling and products – of both time and money – are considerable. A shaved head on a woman, as with men, requires a good razor and 10-15 minutes at most. (In both cases, skin creams may be necessary to combat dryness.)
You will really stand out in a crowd. It’s still fairly uncommon (except in Hollywood, perhaps) for there to be a woman with a shaved head at a party. Be it, own it, live it, and people will notice you and perhaps seek you out.
It can be an altruistic act. A couple of things have happened in recent years. One is that women shave their heads in comradeship with friends who had a loss of hair while undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Second, cutting hair to donate to wig charities is increasing common as well, including with younger women and even high school girls.
Don’t’ like it? You can always grow it back. The part of hair that we see is actually dead – it’s the roots that are alive and always pushing out more strands for the future. Shaving is a kind of styling reset, allowing for style experimentation as it regrows.
Regarding that joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head: She was compared to Demi Moore’s character in the 1997 movie, G.I. Jane. Both women are attractive without hair, on film and in real life, so their choice to be shaved was hardly worthy of ridicule.