In Defense of Hairy Women: Searching for a Fair Standard of Beauty
My friend Kevin, who majored in philosophy at Berkeley and is now a civil rights lawyer, and who supports all sorts of good causes (economic equality, gun control, gay marriage, Palestinian statehood, shade-grown coffee), yelled at me the other day for setting him up with a woman who has the hint of a mustache. OK, more than a hint. Have you ever seen a photo of Frida Kahlo and been drawn lustfully, as I have, to her fabulous, thick eyebrows, those two dark arches flapping above her eyes like the outstretched wings of a raven? If you look closely at that photo, you’ll see two thin bands of gorgeous dark fuzz that seem to have been penciled in at 45-degree angles above each side of her upper lip. The woman I set Kevin up with, a beautiful and ferociously smart poet and translator named Jill, who graduated summa cum laude in comparative literature at a university Kevin was rejected from, and whom I dated years ago, has those same eyebrows, and that same dark fuzz, but in both cases a little darker and a little thicker.
Why Is the Khaleejii Hijab So Controversial?
On a recent trip to London, my partner and I went to the Whitechapel district in East London to buy the component parts of the Muslim world’s most controversial hijab, the khaleeji. After settling on a shop next to the East London Mosque—a shop whose website proudly displays a model wearing her hijab in the bulbous Khaleeji style—we asked the sales girl for some general headscarf advice. She walked to the back of the store and opened a box full of flower-clips—puffy, flower-shaped pom-poms designed to add volume to the back of your hijab.
"And which of those clips would work best for the Khaleeji?" I asked.
"That’s un-Islamic," the girl said, shaking her head in disgust. "Haram. We do not wear it.”
They were, however, happy enough to sell what you need to wear it, hastily making out the bill for the two largest clips in the box. After we’d grabbed some thin black crepe for the headscarf, we were ready to go—but not before a pamphlet had been thrust into my partner’s hand. The gist: how to be a better Muslim.
Meaning “from the Gulf,” the khaleeji hijab isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. Also known as the shambassa pouf, the camel hump, the big bun, the beehive hijab, and, in Arabic, “bu tafkha,” the style emerged from the shopping malls of Kuwait and is characterized by a rounded bulge emerging from the back of the head, which is supposed to give the impression of a cascading mane of hair that’s been neatly coiled up into a bun. Early adherents used milk cartons and yogurt cups to achieve the desired volume. Now, it’s all about “bumpit” gadgets and hair donuts.
Guys, It’s Time to Stop Shaving Your Junk
There is nothing more disappointing than taking a new guy home for the first time and ripping his clothes off, only to find that he has “manscaped” himself to look like some sort of dude-shaped topiary. When I bring home a man, I want to see a masculine wreath of pubes around his dick, not a shaved walrus. Tragically, it’s becoming harder and harder to find a guy whose chest stubble won’t give you a rug burn or whose bare nutsack doesn’t look like a dismembered turkey waddle. Guys, this has to stop.
The social scientists over at Cosmopolitan recently published a study claiming that 95 percent of men now trim or shave their body hair in one way or another, a practice that has taken on the cringeworthy title of manscaping. I hate it and want it to die. Presumably, many other true lovers of the male form feel the same way. Body hair is one of the secondary sex characteristics of being a man, so why would anyone want to eradicate it altogether?
As much as it pains me to admit it, us gays are probably at fault. During the 90s, the gay aesthetic was dominated by the plucked and preened bodybuilder look. This, of course, spread to advertising (remember the billboard of shirtless Marky Mark in his undies in Times Square?), which seeped into the minds of straight guys and led to razor companies making products for guys who wanted to look like 14-year-old synchronized swimmers. There is also some aspect of female equality in this whole equation. As men began to demand that their ladies be as shiny under their clothes as Barbie dolls, women started expecting the same of their men.
Ellie Goulding Makes People Want to Eat Her Hair
Ellie Goulding is on some new shit. She’s entering 2013 fresh off a breakup with producer Skrillex, but is pretty optimistic about it. Ellie comes equipped with a fan base that wants to eat her hair and bake her cakes. And why not? The follow-up to her debut album Lights, titled Halcyon, is some “real tears” magnificence that translates just as well on stage via her Halcyon Days Tour as it does blaring through some ear buds – or in her case Beats By Dre headphones. Halcyon’s lead single “Anything Could Happen” is the official soundtrack to the Beats By Dre ads, featuring Ellie whipping her hair around in the commercial. Considering her heavy hand in writing and producing her work, it’s the reason why she’s been perfecting her tour performances with various instruments that give her what she wants: you know, that “womp womp” sound. In addition, you can catch her on stage beating the guts out of a floor tom, something Ellie’s become known for her throughout her steady ascent into superstardom. When she’s not doing badass things like banging on drums and shooting guns, she’s being a totally normal (sometimes hungover) chick, who was raised on Eddie Vedder and has a personality as awesome as her music. Ellie keeps things candid (and hilarious) with VICE, as she talks about her tour, her unease with being a sex symbol, her breakup, and her creepiest fans.
Fabio Might Have a Lamborghini but He Doesn’t Have Love
There weren’t many people who were as big a deal in the 90s as Fabio, the actor-cum-model-cum-author-cum-fitness-guru. The guy and his astounding hair graced the cover of more than 400 romance novels, took the role of the Marlboro Man, appeared on countless episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful, and starred in ad campaigns for Gianni-era Versace. The only thing he could have done to epitomize the 90s more was to blow Arsenio Hall on the set of Boy Meets World, but, as desperate as we all are to see it, I don’t think he’s going to deliver on that one.
Fabio and his Greek God-like presence dominated many of my childhood afternoons, so when the opportunity to meet the man behind the jaw presented itself, I jumped at the chance and grabbed it by every strand of that luscious, conditioned, beautiful head of hair.
VICE: Hi Fabio. Wow, your hair looks great!
Fabio Lanzoni: Thanks. Your hair also looks great. It matches your face.
Don’t you think I need a haircut?
No, some men are made for short hair. Other men are made for long hair. They’re wilder. Like you and me!
If you were an animal, what would you be?
A lion. I mean, compare a lion to a deer. A lion has a mane. But, if you look at the deer and you give him a mane, it looks weird. It doesn’t work.
I guess not.
I own 222 motorcycles. [Fabio shows me a picture of one of his motorcycles.] This is the one I bought yesterday. Cool, right?
Do you have a Lamborghini as well?
Six Flags Is Racist Against Dreadlocks
It was a hot day during the first week of June when Markeese Warner showed up for her interview at the Six Flags in Mitchellville, Maryland. She’d driven all the way from her home in Blandensburg, which is about a 30-minute drive, and managed to be there 15 minutes early looking very nice. She wore no makeup, just a little eyeliner and she had her long dreadlocks, which reach the small of her back, tied up neatly in a ponytail. She wore a demure one-piece black dress that stopped at her knee and some cute pink flats. Like always, the Penn State senior engineering student who’s active in her school’s student government and has held several internships, strove to present herself in a professional light even though the interview was just for a food service job she was planning to use to score some extra cash over summer break. While waiting in a humdrum classroom-like area, she thought optimistically that maybe she could make some professional connections at the amusement park and come back after she graduated as an engineer to contribute to the safety of the rides and roller coasters. She’d been studying the acceleration and deceleration of coasters in class and found it fascinating. Wouldn’t it be nice to work at Six Flags? A place she’d spent countless summer days with her cousins running from ride to ride, brandishing their coveted season passes.
Unfortunately, for Markeese, Six Flags has a strict and unwavering policy against “extreme hair,” which is a category that they ignorantly include all locks in despite the reality that dreads come in many different styles and conditions like any other hairstyle—some incredibly neat and clean, and others not so much. And so, this burgeoning engineer was dismissed from the interview with the cold scripted comment that, “We won’t be able to continue with this interviewing process. However, we encourage you to apply again.” Apply again? For what? To be denied once more by a racially insensitive policy that considers all instances of a hairstyle worn by successful business people, Pulitzer Prize winners, and college professors as unprofessional?
Markeese is certainly not the first black person to be dismissed from Maryland’s Six Flags for having locks. In 2010, two women were denied employment, for which the park recieved the reproach of the ACLU. The story was picked up by ABC News and gained some national attention, but not like this time around. Through social media, Markeese has managed to drum up a substantial amount of support in opposition to this law, which clearly targets blacks, who are the predominant wearers of locks and make up over 90 percent of the population surrounding the park. Markeese was able to raise people’s awareness through a humble petition on Change.org on June 5 that has already garnered 22,000 signatures.
Impressed by how quickly Markeese has managed to galvanize support around this cause, I gave her a call to see how the engineering student turned activist feels about becoming the face of a movement in Maryland.
VICE: First off, why Six Flags? It seems like a shitty place to work, even just for the summer.
Markeese Warner: I hadn’t landed an internship yet. Also, I wanted to work somewhere that would give me skills I could use in the next school year. Engineers are assumed to be very introverted; I thought working at an amusement park might give me the chance to prove otherwise.
That makes sense. Did you know about their policy before you showed up for the interview?
I applied online. A friend of mine referred me because they are pretty good with hiring people over the summer. A week later I received a call from a representative. He went over all the policies and procedures.
Did he tell you that they hate dreadheads?
Well, he eventually said that Six Flags has a tough policy about extreme hairstyles such as unnatural coloring, Mohawks, and dreadlocks. He asked me if I had any objections about that. I told him, “I do have an objection, because I have locks in my hair.” He was kind of stunned for a minute. He asked me if I’d like to continue with the interview process and I told him, “Yes. I would.” Then he told me to come in the next day for an interview.
Through some empirical research, and looking to share some national facts with our colleagues all over the world, we in the VICE Mexico office have concluded that Mexico City is the place with the highest levels of hair gel consumption in the entire world. We’re so damn sure of it, that we challenge anyone to prove us wrong.
We decided to get in touch with one of the most knowledgeable figures on the subject—no, we’re not talking about presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto. One of the most popular brands of the sticky stuff among the gelled Mexicans is Xiomara. When we asked them how much of their product is sold every day in Mexico, their answer left us speechless; Xiomara sells more than seven tons a day, that’s five liters every minute, or 2555 tons a year.
Xiomara is already being used in America and it will soon reach Panama. We’re talking sticky, shiny heads all the way from Chicago to the Panama Canal. But not all hairdos are the same. Sky’s the limit. Therefore, we give you a brief—but in no way definitive—catalog of Mexican hairdos.
Everyone, or almost everyone, went to elementary school and that’s where this one was born. The taller and firmer, the better. Spiking like this is for five to ten year olds, when you’re still playing with toys.
Spiky taken to the next level. It shows you’ve reached puberty. You’re no longer messing around and you like looking like the boiler just exploded in your face.