Dying one’s hair is quite a common thing these days, although natural hair colour is usually what people go for. What’s less common is people dying their hair unnatural shades such as bright red, purple and blue. Colours can be mixed and the results can be really extravagant, with vivid bonnets that make people stand out from a mile away. Some people think dying your hair different colours is odd, unattractive and immature. So why do people do it?
One great reason why people would want to dye their hair unusual colours is for their rebellious nature. Brightly coloured hair is a punk thing to do and that’s exactly what the punk rockers did back in the 70’s and beyond. Punk was anti-establishment and the one thing that got the man angry was youths with bright hair. Brands like Manic Panic from New York provided the essential hair dye the punks needed to rile up stuffy conservatives.
Having coloured hair as an act of rebellion has gone beyond just punk rock though. Ravers, goths, emos, hippies, scene kids and anyone with an eye for the alternative have dyed their hair bright colours simply to differentiate themselves from everyone else. The fact coloured hair is banned in schools and most places of work only adds to its rebellious credentials.
It’s mostly a desire to be different that fuels people’s passion for dying their hair though. Standing out from everybody else is the aim and that’s definitely achieved when most people have dull natural colours in their hair. Being different makes a person more individual in a sea of conformity and makes them special. When everybody within a culture is expected to behave in an identical manner and even dress in the same way, breaking away from that can be a huge relief.
Of course, there’s a lot of opposition to people that want to express themselves freely, and not just from authority figures. People with dyed hair often have to contend with judgement from their own peers that can lead to severe bullying. Young people especially will pick on any weakness or difference they see in someone’s appearance or behaviour, but adults too can be maliciously passive aggressive towards anyone with an alternative look and socially shun them. It’s not easy being different. The pressure to conform to the look and attitude that’s expected of you could be considered censorship of the right to free expression.
However, attitudes towards coloured hair may not be as negative in modern times as it may seem. Many mainstream celebrities and pop stars, including Rhianna and Katy Perry, dye their hair bright colours to stand out and assert their individual personality, and even the bitchy tabloid newspapers and gossip magazines barely comment upon it. In fact, people with coloured hair often get complimented on their appearance for being different and brave enough to do something that’s considered a risky proposition and stand out.
Wearing coloured hair can have positive effects on certain individuals, including a boost of confidence, which is especially important for those with low self-esteem and depression. Dyed hair has been a way for those without a voice to express their individuality and show to the world how they feel on the inside and that their personality is as unique and interesting as their hair. Without that expression, people feel trapped because they can’t be who they want to be.
So the next time you see someone with bright pink, purple or blue hair, there’s no need to be puzzled as to why they dyed it. They’re not necessarily weird or scary – they may not even be much of a rebel – but they are most likely a unique and interesting person. So talk to them, because dyed hair isn’t so strange anymore. And if you have bright coloured hair, wear it proud!
About the author:
Julie Greene is a passionate pop culture blogger and dyes her hair a vibrant bright red.