*** gender hair styling

Gender Hair Styling

historic children's  hair styles
Figure 1.--This cbinent card shows three unidentified siblings, we think in the late-1890s. The girls have their hair done in bangs, part becuse of the ringlets. Notice that unless we could see how they were dressed, we could not tell the gender of the children. The boy has a striped ruffled collar, worn with a large floppy bow. Notice the girls jewelry. The photogrpher was Hawkins in Medina, Ohio. .

There are often substantial differences between hair styles of men and women and women. It is fair to say that adults, especially women, have more attention to hair styling than children. Nothing in history quite matched the elaborate hair styles pf 18th century aristocratic French women. Less attention is generally given to children's hair. Short and long styles is generally the major difference, probably because women are more concerned with their appearance. This is understandable -- because throughout history beauty was a primary determine of their future., much more so than men. And the long / short dichotomy generally began in childhood. Even when this dichotomy existed, here were often overlap between the longer styles of boys and shorter styles of girls. And at times short bobs were stylish for girls and long hair for boys. There were also age differences that blurred the standard dichotomy. Boys have worn quite diverse hair styles even in recent years, varying from shaved or clipped heads to elaborate ringlet curls. I have listed here the specific boys' hair styles with which I am familiar and a synopsis of the available information on those styles. Considerable information is available on some styles, but only limited information on other styles. Please let us know if you are aware of any others or have any childhood memories about your hair styles. HBC does not planned on going into great detail on girls' hair cuts. We at first were hopeful that some one would launch a sister site on girls historical clothing and styles. Assessing gender in old photographs, however, is such a difficult problem that we have concluded that some basic information about girls' hair styles, especially 19th century girls' styles would be useful. Just as you can not assume that children with long hair are girls, it is also true that you can not assume that children with short hair are girls. And knowing more about girls' hair styles helps in assessing old images for which the gender is not specified.

Younger Children

We note some younger children who had their hair done alike regardless of gender. This seems common in the 19th century. We do not have a lot of information on earlier centuries at this time, lthough paintings privuide some limited information. We do have considerable information on the 19th century, especially after the invention of photography (1839). Subsequently photography generated large and increasing bnumbers of images on fashion and hair styles for the first time. We see this very extensively in both 19th and early-20th century photography. century photography. We see boys and girls with ringlet curls, but younger boys had their hair done in many other styles more associated with girls. A limiting factor here is that many really young children did not have much hair. We even see boys with hair bows. Many mothers resisted cuttung boys' curls for some time and when cut kept the curls as keepsakes. In some cases this was only done when boys appropached school age. This trend seems to have declined after World War I. This situatiin continued fir several days with even younger boys commonly had their hair cut short. This became more complicated when biys began wearing longer hair (1970s). Near the turm of the century we see more varied hair styles for boys with longerr hair seen, but not standard. The styles for younger boys could also be longish, but we never return to the girlish styles of the 19th and early-20th centurues.

Boys' Hair Styles

Boys hair fashions have ranged even more significantly than their clothes and have varied from the long sausage curls of the 1880-90s to shaved heads in Germany in the early 20th century and the short crew cuts in the America of the 1950s. Long hair became popular again in the 1970s and early 1980s. Boys in the 1990s have been more free to select a style and length that suited them with no one style predominating. The long hair worn in the 1970s, however, is now rarely seen. One style popular in the 1990s has been shearing the head off at the neck giving a bowl-cut look. In our modern age the greatest attention is given to women's hair styling. Lesser attention is given to that of men and children. This has not always been the case. Men have given great attention to hair styling in some ciltures and historical eras. In our modern era, boys have begun gicing great attention to their hair. This began with Elvis Presly and his side burns in the 1950s and the Beattles in the 1960s with what was at the time considered long hair. The teenage boy in the 1990s might spend considerable time preening in front of a mirror. Perhaps not as much time as the modern girl, but certainly more than was common in the 1950s.

Girls' Hair Styles

Just as you can not assume that children with long hair are girls, it is also true that you can not assume that children with short hair are boys. What we want to do here is to assess stylistic and chronolgical trends associated with girls' hair styles. We want to assess styles like bangs, curls, parts, and other hair styles. Girls have generally worn their hair long, in some cases very long. We have, however, seen many short cuts as well. This of course has varied very widely over time and among vountries. In general. girls have had much more flexibikity than boys as to how they wore thei hair. We see long, medium, and short hair done in many different styles.


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Created: 4:48 PM 8/10/2022
Last updated: 6:10 AM 12/26/2023