Zim Male Short Hairstyles: Fashion Statement or Mere Convenience?
A majority of Zimbabwean men generally prefer short brush cut hair over other adventurous hairstyles. Can this be said to be their independent sentiment or rather the way in which they have been socialised. Most African expectations especially from the parents dictate a ‘son’ should be a leader, exemplary in the way they conduct themselves; and this may not go well with society if a male child prefers ‘dreadlocks!’ to say the least.
Similarly as a young Harare businessman views it , ‘’if a black man is to work at a non-black organisation he must be perceived as clean cut and non-threatening which entails a clean and neat haircut amongst other characteristics.’’
That can be taken to mean that looking professional equals ‘short hair for men’, but is this entirely true? Can one not look professional with neatly kept dreads or even an afro? Interviewing more individuals and the question of hairstyles as reflective of economic cost emerges.Some men prefer or rather opt for short brush cut hair because, “it offers a stylish look at a very cheap cost and is low maintenance. But can we say these men are ‘lazy’ and do not want to make an effort with their appearance? Or are they actually running away from the stereotype attached to long hair, dreadlocks, braids and afros? Which is in most cases associated with criminals, thugs and laziness.Another man went on to say, “short hair is a quick and cheap way of maintaining hair and so as to overally feel comfortable. Í dislike spending minutes when combing my hair, that’s why I keep my hair short. However fashion dictates too, seeing pictures of my dad when they were young with the afro, which was a fashion trend in those days’’.By saying this can we assume that the ‘short’ brush cut hair is a fashion trend of the 21st century or it is rather a neutral stance to the Mohawk hairstyle of today? This brings to rise the issue of whether this short hair is kept by the conventional/professional man or is it for the elderly who feel they are mature and should conduct themselves as such.
In response, an elderly man told this reporter, ’’After a certain age you want to present an air of responsibility. You hardly look responsible and trustworthy with an afro!’’
Another went on to say, “There is a good feeling you get when you raise your hand and rub your freshly cut and sharp looking low cut. It feels great and air flows through it. I don’t know about other black men but having too much hair makes me uneasy and feels like a burden.”He went on to add, “Too much hair makes me look like a child while freshly cut hair makes me feel mature especially if you are going to wear suits. It has zero to do with any inferiority complex but everything to do with masculinity, too much hair is for women and looks rubbish on men.” However celebrities, fashionistas and many public figures can be said to have changed from short hair into funky hairdo’s suitable for both men and women. For example certain people began to copy and find acceptable the advent of dreadlocks because of their liking of local celebrities like Thomas Mapfumo, Andy Brown, Chiwoniso Maraire to name a few. Another example is that of Sulumani Chimbetu who has made popular the so-called Dendera hairstyle, which is more or less the traditional boxcut similar to the one his father, Simon Chimbetu had. Some of his fans have undoubtedly copied this. So next time, if you are a Zimbabwean male, and find yourself going to the barbershop, ask yourself, what motivates my hairstyle?