General Question

goootli's avatar

Why did it become almost universally accepted women should have long hair?

Asked by goootli (162points) March 28th, 2010

And men short? How long has this been the case?

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31 Answers

Ame_Evil's avatar

Probably became practical thousands of years ago for men to have their hair short whilst hunting/working which was sort of sustained until now-a-days. As for why women not doing the same, no idea. Perhaps they just didn’t feel the need as it probably would be easier to not cut their hair in ye oldey times.

Just_Justine's avatar

So that women could be dragged to the cave by the hair just joking No idea I think it is a male sexual trigger so it’s not universally accepted it is part of the “look at me baby” I am hot!

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m guessing it’s a holdover from a time when men did the work and women were able to stay home.
Long hair, like high heels and big boobs, are not practical but sure do catch the eye.

Cruiser's avatar

Longer hair is plain damn sexy. ;)

Judi's avatar

Somewhere in Proverbs (I think) it talks about a womans hair being her crown of glory, so I would say at least back to Solomons time.

UScitizen's avatar

Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
1 Corinthians 11 >>
King James Bible

wonderingwhy's avatar

not speaking historically mind you, but it seems having short hair is considered more “professional”. as men were the primary professionals until the last couple decades, perhaps in part, it’s simply a holdover from that? that many women have long hair, and there are of course many exceptions, may have something to do with an expression of youth (and femininity), where as shorter hair may lend itself more towards maturity/matronliness? I base that on my observation that it seems around the age of 55 or so many women (though this is purely US based, as I’ve seen it doesn’t always hold true in other countries) tend to convert to shorter hairstyles which are seen as more “befitting”. Obviously local custom/culture plays a role too.

It also reminds me that I’m while I tend to be more attracted to women with long hair, it’s when they put it up that I find it most alluring, yet shorter (similar) hair styles don’t have the same effect. Interesting (at least to me).

msbauer's avatar

thinking of this in terms of the psychology/biology of attraction…women who have long, healthy looking hair would be more attractive because their hair would indicate their physical vitality and youthfulness and so suggest their reproductive vitality as well. men gotta find a good babymaker!

davidbetterman's avatar

About the same time it became universally accepted that men should wear the pants, and women wear dresses.

john65pennington's avatar

Every photo, every cartoon i have ever watched has a cavewoman with long hair.

But. on the other hand, so did all the cavemen.

Go figure.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

because women with long hair are hot and it has always been that way!!! Men have short hair probobly for many reason. Roman soldiers use to cut their hair short while the barbarians they faced did not. Probobly so the enemy couldn’t grab their hair and slit their throats. I don’t know if thats true but it makes sense.

msbauer's avatar

somewhat relatedly, interestingly, and just plain sadly…“the relative difference between newlyweds’ levels of attractiveness appeared to be most important in predicting marital behavior, such that both spouses behaved more positively in relationships in which wives were more attractive than their husbands, but they behaved more negatively in relationships in which husbands were more attractive than their wives”

Source: McNulty, J. K., Neff, L. A., & Karney, B. R. (2008) Beyond initial attraction: Physical attractiveness in newlywed marriage. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(1), 135–143.

ucme's avatar

I guess the seventies blurred the issue slightly.

DarkScribe's avatar

Until relatively recent times, men also had long hair. Hunting etc., doesn’t really come into it. It is just style and fashion. Less than three hundred years ago men wore long haired wigs. Judges and advocates/barristers still do.

ubersiren's avatar

@Judi I was going to say the same thing. There are lots of references in the Bible about having long hair.

laureth's avatar

I really would like to provide a link for this, but I read it in a book a while back and can’t find a website saying it, so there you go. There was one of those Paleolithic era cave art sites found a while back, an unusual one with portraits of many individuals. (Usually if there are human figures, they’re stylized to the point of abstraction, but in this one particular cave, it looked like they just painted the whole local group.) Anyway, those figures which could be clearly classified as men and women overwhelmingly showed the women with long hair and the men with short. It seems to have been the norm for tens of thousands of years, at least in some places.

The thing about this question, though, is that it begs the question of female hair length. I’m not sure it’s almost universal for all women. Maybe the “ideal,” or maybe something “prevalent in younger women,” or maybe “in most cultures,” but as soon as you look closely at it, the granularity of cultures and styles and times are so different.

Also, while Biblical references to long hair may clearly represent the Hebrew/Christian preference for long hair in women (and that in itself informing later European, Puritan, and Western preference for it), Biblical culture is by no means what I’d call “universal.” Their neighbors, the Egyptians, didn’t have gender-based standards for hair length (link), various religious orders shave their heads, etc.

ChaosCross's avatar

It shows that women do less physical work back in ancient times, the tradition has carried over.

Besides…it is quite attractive!

Mariah's avatar

I read a book once that attributed the attractiveness of long hair to evolutionary psychology. Hair, being a very non-vital part of the body, is one of the last priorities to receive nutrients, so during a sickness, it is likely that the hair will be one of the first body parts to start looking unhealthy. Having hair that looks nice therefore sends an instinctive message to the opposite sex that you are healthy and have good genes to give to your offspring. Having long hair that looks nice sends the message that you’ve been healthy for many years, and is therefore extra appealing. Supposedly that’s why long hair is so attractive. Why don’t men have long hair, then? Beats me.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

It’s a trait young women mostly get into.
You don’t often see a lot of 50+ women with hair down to their waist.

davidbetterman's avatar

That’s only because the 50+ women wear theirs in a bun.

gailcalled's avatar

@davidbetterman: Where did you get that idea from? Certainly not by observing.

Exhausted's avatar

I am 50+ and have waist length, very straight hair. I have worn it long most of my life. Most men that I’ve known prefer long hair on a woman. It was one of the main things my husband liked about my appearance and would be devistated if I ever chose to cut it short. I have no idea why this seems to be the norm. Once, as a child, my mom cut my hair short. I was devistated. I thought long, flowing hair was beautiful and wanted mine long. I tried wearing it short, once, as an adult and did not like the way I looked with short hair, so I grew it out and it’s been that way ever since.

sakura's avatar

So… I have short hair soes this mean I’m not attractive?? My hubby reckons I am but is he biased?

Why is long hair considered more attractive?

Berserker's avatar

@Mikelbf2000 That’s what I heard in Child’s Play 3, anyways…

Trillian's avatar

I have long hair and I like to see it on either a woman or a man. My reasons are psychological.
What we are leaving out is style and culture. Various societies have had long hair as the standard for men, while women were required to keep their hair covered. 100 years ago sailors had long ponytails that they dipped in tar to keep from flying all over the place. That’s where the term “tar-back” comes from.
Our society looks with a favorable eye on short hair for men, but two hundred years ago this was not the case. Look at the portraits of our founding fathers!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’m a female I’ve had hair of all lengths from spiky buzz cuts to below the waist, the hair has always been healthy and shiny and still men and women have preferred it on me long and without exception, each of my romantic partners.

gailcalled's avatar

@Trillian; British sailors were also known as plain old “tars,” a favorite crossword puzzle choice.

Trillian's avatar

@gailcalled As in “Jolly Jack-tars?” I never put that together until now. Duh.

gailcalled's avatar

@Trillian: Jack, I guess, for Union Jack. But where did that name come from? There is also another x word reliable…“salt.”

Here’s another derivation

tar (n.2)
“sailor,” 1676, probably a special use of tar (n.1), which was a staple for waterproofing aboard old ships (sailors also being jocularly called knights of the tarbrush); or possibly a shortened form of tarpaulin, which was recorded as a nickname for a sailor in 1647, from the tarpaulin garments they wore.

Trillian's avatar

That makes sense..

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