Mullet (haircut)

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1992 mullet, Buffalo, NY

The mullet is a hairstyle that is short at the front and sides, and long in the back.[1]

Etymology[edit]

The mullet fish basically has no neck, and a fish rots from the neck down, so that may be where the slang derives from, especially since most human Mullet Heads achieve this same effect via excessive hair and musculature.

"Mulling Over the Mullet", in Grand Royal magazine.[2]

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, use of the term mullet to describe this hairstyle was "apparently coined, and certainly popularized, by U.S. hip-hop group the Beastie Boys",[1] who used "mullet" and "mullet head" as epithets in their 1994 song "Mullet Head".[3]

In 1995, the Beastie Boys' magazine Grand Royal was the first to use the term in print,[1] in a tongue-in-cheek article entitled "Mulling Over the Mullet". The Grand Royal article credits Mike D as the first Beastie Boy to use the term to describe the haircut.[2]

Fashion history[edit]

Ancient mullets[edit]

In the sixth century, Byzantine scholar Procopius wrote that some factions of young males wore their hair long at the back and cut it short over the forehead. This non-Roman style was termed the 'Hunnic' look.[4][5]

1970s[edit]

Paul and Linda McCartney in 1974

Mullets were sported by rock stars Rod Stewart, David Bowie and Paul McCartney as far back as the early 1970s.[6][7]

1980s[edit]

The zenith of the mullet's popularity in 1980s continental Europe has been described as an "age of singing tattooed Swedish Flokati Rugs".[8]

1990s[edit]

Superman was depicted with a mullet from issue 505 (1993) to 544 (1997)[9] of Adventures of Superman comic and this look was released in action figure form by Mattel in 2009.[10] Punk rock band The Vandals sang of country music singers and Jerry Springer Show guests sporting mullets, and listed regional names for the style in the 1998 song "I've Got an Ape Drape".[11] Country Music singers Billy Ray Cyrus, Travis Tritt, and Joe Diffie were also known for their mullets. The German punk rock band Die Ärzte's album "Le Frisur", in which every song is about hair, includes the song Vokuhila Superstar (Acronym "Vo[rne] ku[rz,] hi[nten] la[ng]" = "Short in the front, long in the back" is German for "mullet"). Sanjay Dutt also wore a mullet in the 90s.[12]

2000s[edit]

The mullet and its associated lifestyle have been central themes in movies such as Joe Dirt "business in the front, party in the back" (2001), and the television show The Mullets (2003–2004). The 2001 film American Mullet documents the phenomenon of the mullet hairstyle and the people who wear it.[13] Indie rock duo Tegan and Sara sported mullets during their "The Con" album era.

2010s[edit]

In July 2010, the Islamic government of Iran issued updated grooming guidelines to men. Among the new regulations is a ban of the mullet hairstyle. The ban on mullets is one of the measures that Iran has deployed to "confront the cultural assault by the West." The country aims to promote a set of new Islamic hairstyles that were unveiled at the Hijab and Chastity Festival of 2010.[14][15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c ""mullet, n.9".". Oxford University Press. September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Editors of Grand Royal (1995). "Mulling Over the Mullett". Grand Royal (2): 44–49. 
  3. ^ http://www.metrolyrics.com/mullet-head-lyrics-beastie-boys.html
  4. ^ Toner, J. P. (2013). Popular Culture in Ancient Rome. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0745654908. 
  5. ^ Heather, Peter (2013-07-04). The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes & Imperial Pretenders. ISBN 0230772307. 
  6. ^ Wilson, William (2011). Gobbledygook. p. 166. ISBN 1440529256. "David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust rocked a mullet, and so did Wings-era Paul McCartney." 
  7. ^ Andrew Grant Jackson (2012). Still the Greatest. ISBN 081088223X. "he sported the mullet that Bowie would as Ziggy Stardust; cousin to the shag popularized by David Cassidy, Florence Henderson, and Rod Stewart. It almost looks cool in those early days, but when McCartney added the mustache ..." 
  8. ^ Patalong, Frank (30 November 2008). "So scheußlich waren die Achtziger wirklich (The '80s really as ugly as they were)". Der Spiegel. 
  9. ^ "Superman Covers #500-549". 
  10. ^ DC Universe Classics Mullet Superman | Toy Reviews | MurderShowDotNet
  11. ^ I've Got An Ape Drape lyrics - The Vandals | All The Lyrics
  12. ^ Saajan (1991). In Canada, the mullet used to be referred to as a "hockey cut".| MemsaabStory
  13. ^ "American Mullet (2001)". New York Times. 
  14. ^ Singh, Anita (5 July 2010). "Iran government issues style guide for men's hair". Daily Telegraph. 
  15. ^ Ahmed, Saeed; Mobasherat, Mitra (8 July 2010). "Iran promotes 'Islamic' haircuts". CNN. 

Further reading[edit]