Boys and girls normally wore destinctive hair styles. In fact, hair styles have commonly been more gender destinctive than clothing. This has, however, varied over time. Boys for many years wore dresses and since the 1960s girls have commonly worn pants and other boy styles. Now boys have been most associated with short styles and girls with long styles, but over time we have seen many boys wearing long hair and girls wearing short hair. What is relatively rare is mothers using the same hair styles for siblings. Notably when long ringlet curls were worn by boys, it is relatibely rare for mothers to do sister's hair in similar ringlets. That it not to say that mothers never did this, but as far as we can tell it was not at all common. I'm not sure about the family dynamics here. Perhaps more mothers wanted to do this, but fathers put their foot down. Perhaps it was essentially a decesion by mothers. Here we are not entirely sure.
Boys and girls normally wore destinctive hair styles. In fact, hair styles have commonly been more gender destinctive for younger boys than clothing. Boys for many years wore dresses and since the 1960s girls have commonly worn pants and other boy styles. Now boys have been most associated with short styles and girls with long styles, but over time we have seen many boys wearing long hair and girls wearing short hair. Length is an imprtant clue, bur even more consistent is the part. Boys had side parts abnd girls center parts. The gender connotation is not absolute, but used with length is a very strong indicator.
What is relatively rare is mothers using the same hair styles for siblings. Notably when long ringlet curls were worn by boys, it is relatively rare for mothers to do sister's hair in similar ringlets. That it not to say that mothers never did this, but as far as we can tell it was not at all common. I'm not sure about the family dynamics here. Perhaps more mothers wanted to do this, but fathers put their foot down. Perhaps it was essentially a decesion by mothers. Here we are not entirely sure. Boys ad girls have not always worn destinctive styles. We see quite a number of images in the photographic record in which siblings havethe same hair cut. Normally this was a convention for younger children. The more common approch was to hve destinctive styles.
Gender trends like hair styles have varied over time. THis is a subject not well covered in period texts. There is considerable discussion of women's hair styles, but less about mens' hair styles and reltively little about children. Paintings provide some information. The photographic record is much more complete and provides a wonderful record of these changing styles. At times boys wore destinctive short cuts and girls long styled hair. Center cuts were also a major style for girls. And we see boys with center parts. There have been times when shorter cuts were stylsh for girls and long hair for boys. These swings in popularity have not all occurred at the same time. And as far as we can tell, boys and girls styles seem to fluctuate indepedently of each other. When short bobbed hair became popular for girls in the 1920s, we do not see any major shift for boys and when boys short hair styles became popular after World War II, we do not see any major shift for girls hair styles. The same is true in the 1970s when many boys wore long hair.
There are gender conventions associated with quite a number of hair styles. Some styles are genfer specfic. We have never, for example, seen girls wearing crew cuts, but we commonly see them with short bobbed hair. Here girl's bobbed hair was commonly not as short as boys' cuts an styled differently. Some styles have been worn by both bows and girls, even at the same time. The most obvious here are various styles of bangs. There were are a wide range of bangs cuts and we commonly see boys and girls with their hair cut in bangs.Other styles hve been worn by boyth bots and girls, but usually at different times or mot in the same family. The best example here is ringlet curls. Many boys wore ringlets in the 19th century, but generally their sisters did not.
American boys have worn a wide range of different hair styles over time. We note styles varying from short buzz cuts to long ringlet curls. We have collected some information on many of these styles. Some styles like bangs are a recurring fashion over time. Others like ringlets had a relatively brief popularity. A range of factors affected hair stles, including fashion, social class, health as well as other fsactors. Hair styles varied over time just like clothing. American boys wore generally short hair in the early 19th century. Bowl cuts were common in frontier America. Hair styles by mid-century had become longer, often worn to or even over the ears. Some younger boys wore long-shoulder length hair, often done in ringlet curls but there were various styles. After the turn of the 20th century, short hair became increasingly common even with younger boys, especially after World War I. Very short hair vecame popular after World War II, especially in the 1950s. Boys wore crew cuts or buzz cuts. Destinctive national styles began to decline in importanmce with the appearance of the Beatles in the 1960s and longer hair became stylish for boys. Since the 1980s, boys hair styles in the United States and Europe have been remarably varied, although not destinctive by country. After the turn of the 20th centuiry close cropped hair has become increasingly popular both in America and Europe.
We also notice American girls wearing a wide range of hair style. This included short, boyish styles as well as long hair styles, both curled and uncurled. we also notice the frequent use of bows. Many of the girls' sty;es were also worn by boys, but usely not at the same time. A good example was long ringlet curls. They were also worn by boys, especially during the Fauntleroy era. We note that mothers who did their sons hair in ringlets, often refraimed from that style with their daughters. There were of course major differences chronologically in the popularity of different styles. There was one consistent element over time in girls's hair styling. hat was a center hair part. It is the most valid element in assessing unidentified images. Boys attimes had center parts, but the primary trend in boys hair styling was and continues to be a side part. Girls on the other hand durng the 19th anf 20th century genrally had center parts. A factor here is that girls and women often had long hair and a center part is the most fuctional way of styling long hair. Both short and long styles.
We will archive portraits here that show a range of hair styles with gender connotations, but with unidentified subjects. Most available images are not identified. Quite a number have names on the back, but most unfortuntely do not. Thus we can only speculate as to gender. There are, however, a rang of indicators, includung both hair and clothing that can help identify or at least suggest gender. We will try to identify the gender, but readers are incouraged to add any insights they may have.
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