Nosferatu, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Lex Luthor, Kingpin, Bane, The Penguin, Golum, Voldemort, Thanos, Red Skull, The Night King… They all are villains. And they all are bald. And the list can go on and on. Male baldness is often used in fiction to equate villainy. This works even better when the hero, in opposition, has lustrous and abundant hair (e.g., He-Man vs. Skeletor), since there is an ancient sociocultural belief that hair is a symbol of health, virility and virtue. However, in “Unbreakable” (2000), Shyamalan fools the audience by introducing a villain with a copious afro (Samuel L. Jackson) opposed to a hairless hero (Bruce Willis). The plot twist is undoubtedly perfect. What other examples of this unusual representation can be found in film? What could it mean to challenge the stereotypical trope? Why would it be worth exploring?
Nick Fury, Aang, Monkey King (in the Forbidden kingdom), Luke Cage, Luke Hobbs, Vision, Saitama, Ikkaku (Bleach). There is quite a few bald heroes. Even though I approved the topic, I think fact that a characters is bald, is irrelevant to the morality of a character. But, I would be willing to hear an argument on why being bald plays into making a character comes across as villainy
. – Blackcat1301 month ago
Following the last comment, I feel like baldness is also often used on 'monk' characters. – AnnieEM1 month ago
There are mainly four reasons women have their heads shaved in films: 1) toughness (“Alien 3”, “G.I. Jane”), 2) illness or scientific experimentation (“Life in a Year”, “Stranger Things”), 3) rebellion, counterculture or villainy (“Mad Max: Fury Road”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”) or 4) mysticism (“Dr. Strange”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales”). Of course, some of these reasons may overlap, but usually bald women in film are depicted as an abnormality, as a product of trauma, as the result of an extraordinary and life-changing event that catapults the plot. Why is getting a buzz cut for a woman a decision that needs to be justified and have a deeper meaning or rationality? Why does society feel the need to point it out publicly, to joke about it? Why people tempt to question the sanity or sexuality of a woman who decides to wear short or no hair? Are women supposed to have long, silky hair in order to be beautiful, feminine or just not weird? But most importantly, how does the film industry handle it? The normalization of western beauty standards might be being reinforced (imposed) by the way bald women are often portrayed in movies.
Hair is usually something we associate with beauty and youth. While this is an area that society associates with women more often then men, both are regularly mocked for their lose of hair. It is a reoccurring gag in One Punch man. Often times when a man is balding (as opposed to willingly shaving their head) they are seen as old, unattractive, and infertile. As if something if wrong with them. This topic could easily apply to both gender. – Blackcat1301 month ago
It would also be interesting to extend this exploration into race - often the film industry depicts and utilises Black hair as a symbol in a different way than they do white hair. This is particularly true with women of colour, as we see continuous references to weaves, natural hair, and 'butch/masculine' short-haired WOC stereotypes. – seriouscourt1 month ago