Two stories popped up within a day or so of each other this week. Between them they capture the essence of the so called popular press attitude towards men in the public eye who shave their heads.
Harry Potter – Boy To Man
The first story revolved around some shots of Daniel Radcliffe, better known to everybody as Harry Potter. Having been seen stepping out for most of the last year in deliberately scruffy mode, complete with messy beard and messier hair, Radcliffe has suddenly lost the beard and shaved his head down to what looks like a No 2 or 3. As is often the case for Hollywood residents the new look is needed for his latest part, filming on Imperium has just started. Read more about the film by clicking here
These pictures clearly demonstrate that whatever else young Mr Radcliffe might be, he definitely has a full head of hair. Yet just because he has shaved his head, if you now put “Daniel Radcliffe bald” into google you will get no less than 500,000 returns. That is half a million times the word bald has been casually thrown into an article where it has no place, serving no other purpose than to foster those negative stereotypes we are all constantly subjected to.
It could be the camouflage t shirt I guess, but for me the shaved head makes Radcliffe look more manly than any shot I have seen of him in the past.
Shaved Head Blamed For Penalty Miss – We Kid You Not
Neymar is the young superstar of Brazilian football. He plies his trade at Barcelona, having joined for a world record fee at the age of 19, playing in a dream team front line alongside Messi and Suarez. That he is world famous is beyond question… in the fine traditions of Brazilian football this is evidenced by the fact that he is known by a single name, a la Pele.
What has stopped this handsome, young, talented man from becoming a style icon is his own incredible lack of taste. It is a common enough transgression for the eye wateringly overpaid superstar footballing youth of today, Neymar is no worse an offender than many.
If he did have a noticeable chink in his armour it was most definitely his hair. Why you would choose, with a full head of hair, to create this bizarre shower curtain effect is beyond me. This had been the most recent in a series of outlandish styles. That he has finally got around to cutting it off should be applauded, and maybe it would have been… except that Neymar decided to go the whole hog and buzz cut all the way down. Which, as so many have discovered in the past, simply makes you bald in the eyes of the press. Score.com even ran a story under the headline “Neymar shaves his head and promptly blazes penalty over bar”. As if the two events were in some way linked. I didn’t watch the game and can’t discount the possibility that he was actually still shaving his head during the run up for that poorly executed penalty. But I strongly suspect I don’t have to, that it is just another example of lazy journalism.
What Can Be Done?
Not much it would seem, the massive number of hits on the Radcliffe bald search shows us just how endemic this is. These and future victims of this type of story will need to develop their own strategies… in line with everything else that goes with living in the spotlight. It’s a one off story, inasmuch as they only get to run it once on the front page. You can’t very well shave your head for the first time again and subsequent shaves don’t merit mention. They might add the epithet “bald, balding or baldy’ to your name when they refer to you in future articles. But that is about it. The worst is over.
Shame on them I say. Can’t a bloke have a haircut in peace… especially, as it is for Radcliffe in this instance, when it’s for work.