February 15, 2013

Girls' hair that "frames the face" vs. reveals the face

[Edit: See the comments for many examples of 1940s hairstyles that look like those of the Millennial age.]

Today at Starbucks I overheard some loud airheaded faggot giving beauty tips, or beauty commandments, to his fag hag friend. Something about how she can't get a certain haircut that she'd wanted -- it needed to be some other way in order to "frame her face". I didn't get a real good look at her, but she didn't look fat, ugly, or mannish, hence no need to worry about disguising her face through hairstyling.

What does this phrase mean, then? Here are some examples from Google images, all from the past 20 years naturally:

The common denominator seems to be a lack of volume, and using the hair to hide the face. Sometimes even the eyes are hidden from view. You generally don't see the ears or a good part of the jawline, perhaps not the forehead / temples / upper face area either. It appears more common for hair below the chin to angle or curve inward rather than outward, thus hiding the neck from view as well. The face peeks out from a narrow opening between an almost closed pair of forward-jutting curtains. Basically the goal is to look like you're wearing a hoodie.

That fits in with the tendency toward cocooning, feeling awkward about your body, and of course the rise of hoodies. Wrap your face in a little security blanket, and venturing out into public doesn't feel so threatening.

For comparison, here are counterpart pictures to the ones above, but from the '80s:

You sure can see a person's face without so much hair getting in the way. It gives a more open, trusting, and confident look -- no security blanket vibe given off here. And by throwing it away from the face, creating volume, it puts the hair, as well as the face, on full display. The blown-back look also makes it seem less self-conscious, and so less neurotic or narcissistic, compared to the micro-adjusted arrangements of hair in the framing look. Plus she can now get your attention by showing her earrings.

Guys with long hair show the same change over time from face-revealing to face-concealing:

Aside from its use in comforting the cocooners, the face-framing hair also gives contemporary women another outlet for their OCD. There are a half-dozen facial shape types, and through hairstyling all are supposed to be altered Procrustes-like toward a single ideal. Plus, each type has its own intricacies of how to use hair to re-shape it into the single ideal. All right, more rule systems to wrap our brains around! And as long as you check off all the items in the list of prescriptions, you can rest stress-free!

Back on planet Earth, though, the OCD types are always super-stressed. You'll only feel care-free by just letting your face be your face (again, if it isn't fat, ugly, or mannish).

I wonder if that's why girls have started to pay so much attention to queer advice about beauty over the past 20 years vs. would have written them off in the '80s. If their goal is to not look very pretty for the boys, then why not take advice from a boy with a broken aesthetic antenna?

Normal dudes look on at such an interaction and think she's either clueless or being manipulated -- but just maybe she finds boys bothersome and doesn't want to attract attention from them. Yep: no jewelry, all clothing items baggy as hell, no smile. Her little faggie friend is just telling her what she wants to hear, in this as in so many other cases.


  1. Hogarth said ('Analysis of Beauty') that a girl who has one strand of hair in her face is too attractive to be strictly decent. One, not two. The difference between one strand of hair whisped across the charm of her countenance and a Maori war mask is the difference between a girl who knows how to use makeup and a drag queen.

  2. It's striking how many of the images for face-framing hair show women with wide bands (not just a strand) cutting across their face, pulled down over the eyes.

    Selena Gomez

    Sienna Miller

    Random model on a beauty tips website


  3. http://web.archive.org/web/20120114133633/http://dienekes.ifreepages.com/blog/archives/000334.html

    Reminds me of Dienekes theories on facial framing.

    I'd guess under his explanation, surrounding the face rather than lifting the eye up or away around the face would be a falling crime thing, because falling crime period people are less narcissistic and don't want to present their best side or distract from their shortcomings in the way that more psychopathic and "give a good impression" rising crime people would be.

    If these falling crime haircuts are
    less popular with attractive women though (for example, do more attractive women more tend to wear their hair up and back or less so?), this idea may be falsified.

    Iconic hairstyles of the 1950s don't seem to show any such trend, really. Big curls, big volume!

  4. You're benig a little too hard on the womenz.

    You said yourself that lack of social cohesion means that there is a higher tolerance for harassing behavior.

    Furthermore, you also pointed out that, during cocooning times, misanthropes and weirdos frequent public venues, while healthy people stay home.

    Finally, you made a third point that Millenial boys tend to have mean streaks, because they were isolated when little and never developed empathy.

    Given all that, we can see why young girls want to be intimidating.


  5. Ever heard the song, "Somebody's Baby", by Jackson Browne?

    "Well, just, a look at that girl with the lights comin' up in her eyes.
    She's got to be somebody's baby.
    She must be somebody's baby.
    All the guys on the corner stand back and let her walk on by."

    I can't imagine Millenials letting her walk by. Someone would probably make a crude remark, then be congratulated on his new alpha status. Or they would all desperately start hitting on her. Or not even notice her in the first place...

    Another one of those paradozes - in the crime-ridden 80s, a gang of street toughs - who have probably committed real crimes - respectfully move out of the way of a pretty girl, without even hitting on her. Maybe those days weren't so harsh afterall..


  6. Also, agnostic, while we're on the subject, what do you think of the differing fates of the mullet and curtains, respectively the archetypal 80s haircut, but which rapidly died in the 90s and the archetypal 90s haircut, although actually born and popular in the 80s?

    Mullet - "business in front, party out the back"
    Curtains - "party in front, business out the back"

  7. Well, on second thought that may be an exaggeration. I think the guys on the corner are just the local teenage gang, not criminals.

    But still. the song is an example of how "rising-crime" men were generally more respectful of girls and women. And when men are respectful of women and let them "walk by", women will have the confidence to make themselves attractive and vulnerable.

    Of course some Millenials are good in this respect, and they're not just the bad ones. The past 20 years all the malcontents and straight-out jerks have come out of the woodwork.


  8. "and don't want to present their best side or distract from their shortcomings in the way that more psychopathic and "give a good impression" rising crime people would be."

    Yeah, having consideration for others -- how psychopathic.

    "do more attractive women more tend to wear their hair up and back or less so?"

    Seems like it's the more Plain Jane type that pulls her hair back in a simple pony tail or bun these days. The hair-curtains look started off and continues to be most popular among younger women, or those who still look pretty young like Reese WItherspoon.

    "Iconic hairstyles of the 1950s don't seem to show any such trend, really."

    By the later '50s people were starting to come out of their cocoons, so that may be why. They didn't have very long / big / volumized hair just yet. It was a signal of being open and trusting, but not so flirty and fun-loving.

    If you go back to the '40s, though, the "peek-a-boo bangs" were pretty popular, most associated with Veronica Lake. Again a close fit with the curtain-like hair and a personality that says men are under suspicion, I'm keeping you guys at arm's length, social interaction with be transactional rather than trusting, and so on.

    It's that whole manipulative femme fatale look.

    Veronica Lake

    Look familiar? It's so weird how close we are to that time. We'll know when we're into the late '50s phase of the cycle when these kinds of hairstyles are gone.

  9. Here's Bette Davis, judging from her age, sometime in the '40s. No eye cover, but the two big curtain-like planes are pouring forward to hide most of the sides of her face.

    Bette Davis

    Lauren Bacall gets pretty close too. The two main sections are aggressively pushed forward in the wise-cracking dame type.

    Lauren Bacall

    Barbara Stanwyck and Gene Tierney with near eye cover:

    Barbara Stanwyck

    Gene Tierney

    Even when re-creating the '40s femme fatale for more recent movies:

    Jessica Rabbit

  10. "what do you think of the differing fates of the mullet and curtains"

    Mullets seem like the male version of the female trend -- having longish / big hair, but keeping it back so that it didn't hide any part of your face.

  11. I'm more interested in another big change in women's hair over the last decade. What I'd really like to know is how something mainly limited to porn actresses a decade ago is now almost completely universal. Today at least 85% of adult women are hairless, the only significant exceptions being Asian women, lesbians, and hippie chicks, and even these groups are joining the bandwagon.


  12. man, you have to make a post about the Pistorious murder. the guy killed a beautiful woman, and the media is still glorifying him!


  13. yeah but remember that he Overcame Adversity, so what's a murder?

    Black OJ got away with murder, and Jewish Polanski got a pass from the elites for underage anal rape. If you fight to help the adversely affected Overcome Adversity, then you get a pass too, like Ted Kennedy or Bill Clinton.

    Remember that liberals judge things morally based on two dimensions only -- harm avoidance and fairness. Sure, hero may have killed or raped someone else, but it was only one murder -- weighed against all the other reduction in harm that they brought about, it's only a drop in the bucket.

    And if they struggled to reduce inequality, fight for fairness, break down barriers, etc., they score big-time on the fairness dimension. If Rosa Parks had led a second life as a kidnapping serial killer, she would've gotten a pass too.

    Only conservatives look at murder, rape, etc., on other dimensions -- like purity / taboo / sacred / disgust. Murder, rape, etc., aren't only bad because they harm another person or exploit unfair power relations, but because they corrupt another living creature and reveal the corruption of the offender.

    Like, who cares how much so-and-so did to fight for fairness if, when push comes to shove, they reveal themselves to be rotten to the core? We ought to feel sick for having ingested what we thought was a wholesome image or persona, that turned out to be diseased.

    But, as all enlightened thinkers know, we're not allowed to harp on backward notions like purity and taboo.

  14. In practice, I don't think Liberals really are utilitarians.

    And they often repackage a lot of corrupting stuff (porn, etc.) as harmful to a person to get it through on their radar. They clearly think there are better and worse ways to live and think and that moving to one of those is harmful, even if the person experiences no pain. I don't think liberals treat harm as pain or even physical damage.

    They just do not treat a a lot of same things as corruption (and thereby harmful in their view), e.g. homosexuality, while caring about other qualities that conservatives have no concern with (e.g. spontaneity).

    I have never got the impression that liberals had much time for, say, Mike Tyson or Michael Vick.

    I don't know that Conservatives are less forgiving, really (they seem relatively forgiving to those pastors that turn out to be gay, failfucks like Bush, etc.).


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