I’d done some puzzling over attitudes toward baldness, and so when the friendly neighborhood bigot had a post on ethnic differences in hair loss I unloaded. His response quoted large chunks from a book by R. Dale Guthrie, of which I’ll just mostly excerpt what n/a bolded:

Head shaving is a common phenomenon among many tribes and often is done only by males

At the present time Western cultures are caught in a pinch between the adulation of youth – which is responsible for our holding low hairlines in esteem – and our continuing respect for status and the high forehead which retains an element of nobility or at least an aristocratic man. The superhero males of the comics almost invariably have a high hairline.

In the distant past, the gloss of a bare scalp became the badge of leadership and dominance, whether it was the greased plucked head of the Yanamano or the oily, scraped scalp of an Ainu, Jew, Chinese, or Saxon. It is mimicked unconsciously by shiny metal helmets in many cultures.

Recreating the hairline of a 20-year-old is a retreat to the courtship age. We live in a society which bases most status evaluation on one’s potential courting currency; that is the secret behind our reverence for youth.

I wonder if Guthrie himself was a bit light up top.

Some commentary on baldness of a less thoughtful and somewhat more musical sort here and here.

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