In defense of the man-bun

Over the last several months, I have heard SO many people bemoaning the hairstyle choices of men, usually in reference to the “man-bun” but also guys with long hair in general and it really got me thinking. 

My son Q is one of those guys who chooses to wear his hair long. 

He has preferred long hair on himself since he was really young, and now, at almost 8, his long hair is part of who he is and what makes him Q. He is unique and different and has always marched to the beat of his own drummer. He is a musician, a drummer in fact, as well as a competituve gymnast. You kind of expect a drummer to have long hair, but a gymnast, not so much. His hair is long enough now that it can be pulled back, and he is not even the only guy in the men’s program with long hair, but when he leaves the gym with his hair pulled back, people sometimes stare a bit longer than is necessary. 

He will happily defend or explain his choice to wear his hair long, but honestly, why should he have to? Why do people comment on photos that clearly say “he” with remarks about him looking like a girl? Just because you wouldn’t do it doesn’t make it wrong. 

Why does my son, or anyone, for that matter, owe anyone an explanation on why he chooses to wear his hair a certain way? 

I have heard more people than I can count make derogatory comment towards the so-called “man-bun”, and, even more alarmingly to me, have heard threats to just walk right up behind a guy and cut the bun or ponytail right off his head. In fact, there was a popular video on YouTube that went viral of people doing just that. It may seem funny, but really it’s not. You know what we would call that if someone walked up to a woman and hacked off her hair? Assault, that’s what we’d call it. So why is it funny or acceptable in any way to do it to guys? I know that it would not be a joke if done to a woman. 

How we all choose to wear our hair is our business and no one else’s. Along with the clothes that we wear, it is a huge expression of personal style, of who you are and how you see yourself. We are so much more open and accepting of different hairstyles on woman than we are of men. For some reason, it is not socially acceptable for a guy to want to express himself through his hair. We hold on to these antiquated notions that short hair makes a guy more “manly” and long hair makes them”girly”. 

Who decides that? 

Wait, wait, I know. All of the great and attractive and powerful men throughout history have had short hair, right? Eeeeeeeegh. Wrong. Judges, royalty, warriors, musicians, the list goes on and on… People used to put on long haired wigs to seem more distinguished. There are cultures where the length of a man’s hair may be related to his success in battle. Modern day rock stars and pro athletes and actors have long hair but when an ordinary guy does it he is automatically declared a d-bag or a hippie or gay (because sexuality is related to the length of a person’s hair, right?) and made a target for ridicule, snide comments and even being assaulted. How is that ok? 

I’d like to see someone walk up to guys like Clay Matthews, Troy Polamalu, Chris Hemsworth or Dave Grohl and try to cut their hair. Ridiculous, right? 

We, as women, have fought for the right to wear our hair as we want it, long or short, but sadly, some of the nastiest comments I have heard about this subject come from women who would be horribly angry if anyone did the same to them. Why is it ok to pick on guys? Is it because they are supposed to be stronger and tougher and have thicker skin? I’m sure that is true for some guys, but not everyone. Just like you can’t say that all women with short hair are “butchy”, neither can you say that all guys with long hair are “girly”. 

Here’s an idea – let’s just let others wear their hair the way they want, girl or guy, and shut our mouths if we can’t. Novel idea, hey? 


  1. says

    Excellent blog Brandee… Being the Mom (Girl) in your family you are more aware, I would suspect. I never had children but I have had to be a worker representative for men and women in the workplace…I have lost friendships because I defended a man’s right to his opinion when it is so popular to man bash…This HAIR issue is the same thing… Thank goodness we can have choices and not all fit into the same box. That is when and where the conflicts come globally. It is a way bigger issue than just a man bun…Kudo’s for the write up.

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