Bald or Bowl?

Moses Horowitz

Moses Horowitz

Yifei Tian

Sadly, Covid is still keeping many of us from getting to the barber. Suppose that you are looking for a new look after lockdown ends, and you want to try something new. Maybe go back to an old classic like the bowl haircut? But, before committing to the bowl cut, it might be in your best interest to learn about this classic hairdo’s history. 

The modern bowl cut started with a member of the three stooges: Moses Horowitz. Moses had an unappealing haircut as a child, and his long curly hair made him a target for many bullies. One day, he turned eleven he had had enough, and he took a pair of scissors and cut in a circular motion, and boom! It was a fresh new style that made everyone say “I like ya cut g”? Not really, but it did help him avoid a few bullies. Later in life, he joined a comedy team named the “three stooges” under the stage name Moe Howard, and he went back to the bowl-cut look to stand out. Moses bowl cut

The true origins of the bowl cut, however, date far before Moses. Many men in 12th and 15th century Europe rocked the look because it was the desirable hair length for people in battle and on the street. In America, it was seen in the late 1920s when the Great Depression hit as families needed an easy cut and many reverted back to the simple hairstyle. The haircut can even be seen in other parts of the world such as in the poster from 1920’s Soviet Ukraine.

The Bowl Cut in Soviet Ukraine –

In other parts of the world, however, noblemen were discouraged to sport the hairstyle because of its associations with the poor. Nevertheless, the hairstyle remained a prominent part of the lower class. In the early 20th century,  its popularity died out, until the Beatles members picked it up in the 60s, starting a popularity surge for the haircut.  Now, once again, the bowl cut has hit a popularity low. 

Unfortunately, the haircut is now strongly associated with Dylann Roof — a white supremacist who viciously assaulted an African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Dylann wore a bowl cut, and many white supremacists started using this image in vulgar internet memes to show their support for hate crimes. On some social media platforms such as Discord, white supremacists photoshopped Dylan Roof’s bowl cut on other people as “memes.” Other uses include adding the word bowl as a verbal shorthand: “the bowl gang” or changing “brother” to “bowlther.” The Anti-Defamation League even added the hairstyle to their list of hate symbols.  It’s a shame that a once innocent haircut has been adopted as a dangerous attack.

If you do choose to go for the bowl cut look, you should probably be most concerned about others judging your fashion sense. But, if you’re stuck not wanting to brave the barbershop during the pandemic, it may be your best option.