October 4, 2012
Bald Is Beautiful, Powerful, Commanding And Bold
John Neumann for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Hair loss among men has led to some questionable styling statements over the years - toupee´s, hair transplants and perhaps the worst offense of all, the comb-over. According to new research, lack of hair on men makes its own statement and projects an image of toughness, manliness and intelligence. Men with shaved heads are also seen as taller, stronger and having greater potential as leaders.Researcher Albert Mannes, a University of Pennsylvania lecturer, and a balding man himself, carried out three experiments to delve into how men who shaved their heads were perceived by others, writes Emma Clark for Daily Mail. The paper, “Shorn Scalps and Perceptions of Male Dominance,” was published online, and will be included in a coming issue of journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Nearly 60 participants in the first study were asked to look at a series of photos of men who were similar in age and attire but with differing amounts of hair. When the results were averaged, shaved men topped the ratings in terms of how powerful, influential and authoritative they looked, Time.com reported.
In the second study involving 344 subjects, each man was shown twice - once with hair and once digitally shorn. Not only were the bald men perceived as more dominant, but they were also viewed as nearly an inch taller and 13 percent stronger.
In the final experiment participants were given written and verbal descriptions - where shaved men again got the highest marks for masculinity.
Men with thinning hair were viewed as the least attractive and powerful of the bunch, according to the study, a finding that tracks with other research showing that people perceive men with typical male-pattern baldness, affecting roughly 35 million Americans, as older and less attractive. For those men, the solution could be as cheap and simple as a shave.
Mannes says he was inspired to conduct the research after noticing that people treated him more deferentially when he shaved off his own thinning hair, writes Rachel Emma Silverman for the Wall Street Journal.
The bald is beautiful look appears to be catching on. A 2010 study from razor maker Gillette found that 13 percent of respondents said they shaved their heads, citing reasons as varied as fashion, sports and already thinning hair, according to a company spokesman. Revenues are also growing 30 percent a year for HeadBlade, which sells head-shaving accessories.
New York image consultant Julie Rath advises her clients to get closely cropped when they start thinning up top. “There´s something really strong, powerful and confident about laying it all bare,” she told the WSJ reporter, describing the thinning or combed-over look as “kind of shlumpy.”
A bare scalp “is nature´s way of telling the rest of the world that you are a survivor,” adds Michael Cunningham, a professor at the University of Louisville, who has studied social perceptions of baldness.
Cunningham adds that the deliberate shaved-head look conveys aggressiveness, competitiveness and shows “willingness to stand against social norms.”
Male-pattern-baldness sufferers can take some consolation in looking older, as it can be helpful in the workplace.
Caroline Keating, a Colgate University social psychologist who studies dominance relates that just as older silverback gorillas are “typically the powerful actors in their social groups” in the wild, so it goes in the office, where a bald head may “signal who is in charge and potentially dangerous.