Saturday 28 December 2013

Is the near-ubiquity of bleached and/or dyed hair significant?


I would say yes.

Yes, on the whole, on average - and perhaps even yes in the large majority of instances...

It seems to correlate with a lot of bad, somewhat bad, or at least suboptimal, things.


There is rebellious dyed hair - in non-natural colours and designs - which is rebellious; and there is pretending-to-be younger dyed hair - which is dishonest.

I did have rebellious dyed hair for a while in my twenties, and once rebellious bleached, and it did correlate with bad beliefs, attitude and lifestyle.


As for pretend young hair: just because something is nearly ubiquitous and accepted without comment doesn't stop it being bad, doesn't make it Good...

I suppose everybody is guilty of dishonesties, but even if all-but everybody does it, lies are still wrong; and when almost everybody is lying, then that makes it worse - not better. 

A culture of lies...



The Crow said...

Finally, something to feel good about, now that almost all my hair is either gone, or coming out of my nose and ears :)
I'll never, ever, have to dye it.

What about dental work? Does that qualify as dishonesty, too?
At least my bridge and implants are the same awful colour as my last remaining natural teeth.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Crow - I am a dentist's son, and British dentistry is almost all functional. The cosmetic aspects are very subordinate - albeit necessary.

The Crow said...

My wife is 70 years old, and has long blonde hair. Only now are silver threads appearing, among the gold.
Ironically, people often think her a liar if she mentions she has never dyed it.
The Shadow knows!

Wm Jas said...

When I wore a beard, people always assumed I dyed it because it was a different color from my head hair. (In fact, my photo used to be featured on the Hebrew-language Wikipedia as an example of blond hair with a red beard.)

I mostly agree with your point, but is it really dishonest to change your appearance in socially accepted ways? Men routinely "pretend" to be young by shaving their faces, but it's not dishonest because everyone understands that most men do that. Women dying their hair isn't quite the same, but the difference is only one of degree.

Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - I don't think your analogy is accurate.

I'm just old enough to remember how decent people used to feel about hair dying - and to feel that way myself.

Essentially the change is due to the social acceptability of antisocial rebellion on the one hand, and the hyper-sexualization of modern life (with the look-ism that comes from a kind of expectation of sexual attention) on the other.

I think all this is significant. Maybe not huge in the scheme of things - but significant.

Al. said...

Dr Charlton,

as an aside: What does the pervasiveness of dietary variations tell us? This Christmas, it has become clear to me how difficult it is to organise a meal where everybody from "raw vegans" to "gluten-free" preferred may "feel welcome".

Bruce Charlton said...

@Al. I would say 'because we can'. The variety and abundance of food allows individual preferences to be indulged and amplified until we get to the situation you describe. If only one kind of food was available, and not much of that, then it would be a case of 'like it or lump it'. It would be 'Hobson's choice': yams, or potatoes, or rice, or seal blubber - or nothing!

George said...

@Al - I recently discovered I have coeliac, which is responsible for several years of intestinal problems which was poorly diagnosed as "Irritable Bowl Syndrome." The amount of harmful ingredients put into processed food is sad! It is not real.

A very large percent of Northern European ancestry has sensitivity to gluten, which has increased in quantity with the change in what "wheat" is (there were/are multiple strains of varying gluten density), I don't know what effect GMO has on this, and how bread has been processed (at one point sprouted first, which also reduced gluten). I used to eat bread fine, it is a recent change in my reaction.

If the available foods were as Dr. Charlton describes, we would all eat Vegan, Gluten-Free diets ;-)