Haircuts as Punishment

Someone truly understands the historical and psychological symbolism of long hair and cutting or shaving it to degrade victims! The French did this to women who had been involved with German soldiers or officers in 1944. Throughout the ages, prisoners and slaves had their heads cropped, and the tonsure is a part of monastic asceticism.

Georgia barber offers free ‘old man’ haircut as punishment for misbehaving kids

I suppose this is another bright idea from the Christian right, from the kind of red-necks I had to deal with not so long ago when discussing the Islam question.

I came from a country when the punishment in vogue in schools at the time of my childhood was the old-fashioned six of the best with a cane or slipper, or at home, a couple of smacks by my father’s hand. Corporal punishment has rightly been frowned upon – now illegal in many places – due to the many abuses that happened, not excluding the possibility of adult perversion in some cases. Parenting is not one of my skills, but I believe that better results can be usually obtained via positive character building and instilling a sense of care for other people.

This barber proposes a service that involves making a child look like a bald man! What is the child in question to think of bald men? Do men become bald because they did something wrong in life? Is their baldness shameful? Of course the barber squirms out of scrutiny by saying that it was to be a very extreme punishment, but less so than spanking or whacking. Shaming a child has been standard practice in schools, such as having the child stand in the corner. Shaving the head leaves the child punished for at least two months, the time it takes for one inch of the hair to grow back.

The more I hear about things like this, the more I encourage men to grow their hair long if they feel it to be a part of their identity and way of life. Mine is coming on just fine, thank you…

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5 Responses to Haircuts as Punishment

  1. Fr. David Marriott SSC says:

    Strangely enough, the current fashion amongst many of the young(er) here in Western Canada is to have their heads ‘almost shaved’: however, it might also allow for some sort of pattern to be made between hair and shaved: so not perhaps the ‘old man’ haircut which used to be a regular request in the old style Lancashire barbers of my home town: ‘short back and sides’!!

    • Oh yes, the so-called “buzz cut”. When I was a kid and went to “Slash Harry” in Kendal, he would leave a fringe and an inch or so on top, and taper the back and sides. It was the same kind of cut as in the 1930’s, during the war and the 1950’s. The present-day buzz cut is quite ghastly. I did it for some years myself, for the last time in September 2013. I had shoulder-length hair between about 16-22 years of age, 1970’s style.

      I am against anyone being made to have a haircut, especially as a punishment. People need to be free to wear their hair as they want, though perhaps I draw the line at dreadlocks!.

  2. James Morgan, Olympia WA USA says:

    Regarding shaming and shaving: Native American people frequently used shaming as a discipline for unruly children and teenagers. It was usually sufficient to bring them back in line, especially as the ‘elders’ were so respected (and still are!)

    • I find hair cutting excessive, and the Native Americans of all people value long hair. In my opinion, shaming is a punishment that can contribute to psychological problems, just like beating.

      Parents can do better by establishing clear rules for kids and taking privileges away when the child violates rules or behaves unreasonably. The approach needs to be positive and constructive. Parents also need to be reasonable with expectations. Many children offend not by maliciousness but by misunderstandings and making mistakes, or expressing themselves inadequately. Parents need to listen to their children and explain why such and such a thing is not done.

      Timeouts are effective and constructive. You send the kid to his room for a set length of time of “until he is prepared to be reasonable”. It is also good to deprive children from TV, computers and games for a time.

      Above all, parents and teachers need to set an example.

  3. It’s “redneck”. One compound word. No hyphen.

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