White Men Are Special, and So Is Their Hair

[Content Note: Misogyny; appropriation.]

The trend of masculinizing things by adding or substituting "man" or "bro" as a prefix—which has already brought us such delightful terminology as man-cave, man-date, man-purse, mancation, mandals, manscara, bromance, brogramming, and, naturally, brocabulary—is not only one of the most obnoxious things that has ever happened to the English language, but is also a pathetic territory-marking piss scramble, which amounts to little more than men declaring that even the very words used to describe the things they enjoy, wear, and do must pander to and uphold their masculinity.

All of these patriarchal portmanteaus are tiresome and harmful, but I believe we've really hit the nadir with the "man bun."

I have seen all of these headlines in the past few days (and this is hardly a comprehensive list of what's been published, I'm sure):

screen cap of a headline reading: 'Man Buns Are Holding On in Brooklyn'
In the New York Times, Sept. 12.

screen cap of a headline reading: 'Peter Dinklage Subtly Makes The Man Bun Go Formal'
At the Huffington Post, Sept. 20.

screen cap of a headline reading: '19 Pictures That Prove Man Buns Have Gone Too Far' with subhead: 'All men considering growing a man bun should read this before they make their choice.'
At BuzzFeed, Sept. 21.

screen cap of a headline reading: 'Man buns, explained'
At Vox, today.

It's not a "man bun," for chrissakes. It's just a fucking bun.

But fates forfend that we mistake a man for having a LADY'S HAIRSTYLE, because nothing is worse or more terrible than a man treating anything feminine like it's acceptable, so we have to deem it a MAN BUN, just to make sure that we're clear that the exact same hairstyle sported by women isn't the same thing being sported by MANLY MEN.

Hilariously and terribly, if only the origins of this appropriated hairstyle weren't diminished beneath eleventy metric fucktons of appropriation, which culminates in—I shit you not—the New York Times piece declaring Jared Leto the progenitor of the man bun, it would be obvious to anyone who needed such gendered insecurities assuaged that men have been wearing their hair this way for centuries in multiple Asian cultures.

It turns out that white US hipsters didn't actually invent the man bun topknot. Like virtually every other fashion trend over which they've laid claim, it's actually just something appropriated from another culture.

And of course the media is happy to oblige this patriarchal and appropriative garbage, because the media is nothing if not deeply invested in maintaining misogyny and racism, in order to uphold white men as the inventors and owners of everything.

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