A YouTube user has called for film-makers to reconsider their penchant for depicting bad guys as bald, arguing that hair loss doesn't make men evil.
The Independent reports how video blogger DarkAntics, who has shaved his head due to male pattern baldness, is rallying against the long-standing stereotype.
Addressing the way that villains - from Superman's arch enemy, Lex Luther, and Harry Potter's nemesis Voldemort, to Austin Powers' archetypal parody, Dr Evil - are often portrayed as bald, DarkAntics says, "I'm bald, therefore I'm evil or somehow damaged."
"This notion has seeped into every pour of our media and believe me I fully expect you to sit there blind to your hair privilege and not have any understanding of how this pervasive negative portrayal of bald people has affected your bias," he says, during his video, which you can watch in full below.
DarkAntics calls out how one of the key visual signals films repeatedly use to show that a character is turning in to a 'supervillain' is their gradual hair loss, pointing out to his 41,000 subscribers that most start off with a full head of hair. Continues below
The typecasting notion is one that footballer-turned-actor Frank LeBoeuf agrees with. The bald Frenchman has found himself playing mainly bad guys since starting his professional acting career in 2001. "I think I could play a romantic guy," he reflects, "The parts that George Clooney and Brad Pitt get, though? Maybe not...”
Although the YouTuber acknowledges the anomalous bald win of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek, notably played by Patrick Stewart who also plays X-Men good guy, Professor X, the actor also has no eyebrows or eyelashes, having developed Alopecia Totalis, aged 19. As Stewart himself admitted during a TV interview, “I am not the archetypal leading man. This is mainly for one reason: as you may have noticed, I have no hair”.
Pointing to real life media coverage of people who choose to go bald, including women such as Britney Spears, DarkAntics highlights how reports often speculate as to how shaving their head or getting a haircut are in some way - wrongly - linked to trauma.
DarkAntics also notes how the bald baddies are often pitted against good guys with thick heads of hair, referencing Iron Man where Obadiah Stane battles "the thick-haired Tony Stark" (pictured). Opining on the reason for this battle of good versus evil, hair versus baldness, The Independent notes this may stem from 'the ancient belief in hair as a symbol of health and virility, as seen in the Biblical story of Samson'.
There are any number of reasons behind the meaning of baldness in fiction but, although DarkAntics appears to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, preconceptions of men with hair loss also exist outside the film industry.
One reason action movies' male stars - both good and bad - often sport shaved heads is due to the perceived connotations of this look. Survey results have shown how baldness can make men appear 'more manly and powerful' to other people. Further research says a shaved head could also help men get ahead in business for these reasons, although additional reports found that having signs of hair loss could make it harder for men to get a job in the first place.
Whilst baldness suits some men, others are reluctant to take the extreme step of shaving their heads when they first start to notice a receding hairline or thinning crown. For those men, visiting a hair loss clinic can provide a convenient regrowth solution, based around clinically-proven male hair loss treatments.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
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