"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

A temporary history of hairless men

Balding is admittedly common, most affected by 50% male. It can also be physically unnecessary (bald men live the identical as hairy men). So why, in his memoir Spear, does Prince Harry mention his brother's baldness? “fearsome”?

Ancient Egyptian image of a bald man.
John Gardner Wilkinson / British Library

As a social psychologist with a special interest in bowling (and a forthcoming book titled Branding Baldness), I do know that this was not the case – because the presence of bald men in art history shows. .

Historically, baldness was treated with indifference as an everyday a part of day by day life. In 2019, Professor of Egyptology Samar Kamal Evidence of 122 bald men has been present in ancient Egyptian tombs dating from 2613 to 525 BC.

Most of those men were clearly old (the remaining of their hair was white). They were depicted in various sectors of Egyptian society, from farming and fishing to sculpting and scribing.

Art shows that ancient Egyptians treated bald men no in another way than their hairy counterparts.

Kamal also noticed that the traditional Egyptians had Specific conditions for male pattern baldnessA “bald streak” was included during mummification, and the hair had different hair styles (e.g. all short or long on the back).

Bald men in European paintings

European art also shows the historical prevalence of baldness. Vincent van Gogh's painting On the Threshold of Eternity (1890) depicts a bald Dutch pensioner. Adrianus Zuyderland.

A painting of an old man in a blue suit sitting in a wooden chat.  His head is in his hand which reveals his bald head to the viewer.
Vincent Van Gogh On the Threshold of Eternity.
Kröller-Müller Museum

While the painting evokes a way of existential despair, Zuderland's baldness is an incidental – even attractive – feature of the artwork. Van Gogh Painting explained In his letters, writes: “What a fine sight an old working man, with his bald head, in his patched bamazin suit.”

Zederland isn't any exception – there are lots of other bald men featured neutrally in historical art. For example, Dutch Golden Age painters Frans van Mieris The Younger's Man With A Tankard (1793) depicts a bald man contentedly having fun with a pub lunch.

Bald men have also historically been idealized in art. For example, the sixteenth-century Italian Renaissance painter Paolo Veronese Eternal Father Features a bald god performing a heavenly miracle.

Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp (circa 1632) shows multiple bald doctors studying a dissection. Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoirs Portrait of Ambrose Willard (1908) depicts a Balding art collector.

And there may be loads of other historical evidence to challenge the claim that baldness is “dangerous.”

Baling religious figures are present throughout Almost every faith. There is Buddha, the Christian saints Jerome and Augustine, after which there are bald gods, including Japanese gods. Fukurokujo And HOOD.

Six bald doctors gather to watch a demonstration of dissection.
Dr. Nicholas Tulp's Anatomy Lesson by Rembrandt (1632).
The Hague

Religious and political precepts have also promoted baldness. This range from Christian monks The tensorwhere the hair grew to mancho across the centrally shaved a part of the scalp. “Row” haircutwhere the hair behind the pinnacle was styled into an extended plait while the remaining of the pinnacle was shaved.

How baldness became 'dangerous': promoting and the mass media

The mass marketing of anti-baldness products within the twentieth century modified the best way baldness was viewed. It transformed the perception of baldness from a benign aesthetic to a pernicious disease requiring a “cure.”

Such “treatments” range from expensive and ineffective “snake oil” products to regulatory approved formulations which have some hair regrowth properties, reminiscent of minoxidil.

The promoting of those products promoted the concept that baldness was dangerous. Professor of Sociolinguistics in 2013 Kevin Harvey observed that online anti-baldness advertisements portrayed men with hair as attractive, successful, and pleased.

A 2001 Rogaine television business.

Conversely, the identical ads promoted the claim that baldness is a disease that deeply distresses and marginalizes men. Advertisements for anti-baldness shampoos RenaxilFor example, hair follicles on the verge of suicide are depicted. Renaxil is shown reaching out to avoid wasting the bottles.

In contemporary media, baldness is never seen beyond just a few actors (eg Jason Statham, Vin Diesel And Bruce Willis) who've made hair loss their unique selling point. The research was conducted in 2006. It found that out of 1,356 characters in popular US children's TV shows, only 3% were bald.

In one study I ran 5,000 photos of men. Popular magazine Published between 2011 and 2012, we found that only 8% were bald.

Many contemporary depictions of baldness also contain negative stereotypes. website TV Tropes Indicates that there are bald TV and movie characters. The villain or the old man?. Another study It found that greater than 60 percent of Nineteen Eighties TV actors portrayed bald characters who were “ugly,” incompetent, or lazy.

Even scientific research promotes the danger of baldness. Me and Dr. Hannah Frith Recently found that about 80% of studies on the psychology of baldness were related to business. Studies presented baldness as a disease (77%) and promoted anti-baldness products (60%) without meaningful discussion of their limitations (68%).

Representation of baldness is vital. Modern images in TV, promoting and research support the claim that hair loss is a loss and a disease. But a take a look at the history of bald man art shows that this was not all the time the case. Bald men could be healthy, successful and content – ​​identical to their hairy counterparts.