Last week TIME magazine published an article, written by Alexandra Sifferlin titled Shave it Off! How Bald Guys Can Look More Manly and Dominant, encouraging balding men to completely shave off their wispy manes. Balding is a serious concern for many men who understand the social impact of hair loss and perceived attractiveness. Well, now there’s some scientific backing to the claim that a shaven dome makes you seem stronger, and sexier, than if you let the last few wisps linger or opt for the ill-fated comb-over.
Researcher Albert Mannes, of the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a series of studies to determine the perceptions about balding men versus completely shaven men. It turns out that participants found that men with completely bald domes were perceived as more masculine and dominant than men who opt to bald the natural way. Interesting, huh? Clean shaven men were also perceived as taller and bigger in size than balding men.
But here’s the rub, bald men are still perceived as older and less attractive than men with full heads of hair. Mannes, who is bald himself, apparently stated that balding men may “better improve their well-being by finishing what Mother Nature has started.”
Mannes seems to think that his studies will help more men change their lives for the better by forging ahead with a completely bald head rather than going the natural way. I appreciate that Mannes is giving balding men like him the chance to be perceived as more dominant and powerful, but I guess my problem is that it reinforces the idea that’s all men should really aim to be. Has anyone done research on what makes you look more responsible? What about intelligent? Kind? I’m just saying.
I haven’t been able to read the research itself therefore I can’t speak that strongly to the methodology, but I can say that from what I’ve read from some posts online, some of the sample sizes seem pretty small to me. I think only time, and replication, will really solidify Mannes’ findings. While I still have many questions, I appreciate that Mannes is giving guys with thinning manes some insight into how others may be perceiving them. Who knows, there may be a day when I have to make the decision myself. To be honest, I don’t know what I would do. Do you?
For more reactions to this research, check out the following: