ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Men's Business Haircuts - a bad case of discrimination

Updated on April 6, 2013

Imagine you’re applying for a job as an accountant and got told you have better chances to do well in your job if you wax your legs. Now imagine that you find that most accountants happily comply with that silly demand and think nothing much of it. It gets worse: those who don’t comply have a much harder time finding and keeping a job as accountants because most men just conform and employers get away with demanding it.
That is pretty much what lies behind the classic short back and sides business haircut. The world is insane.

Seriously, cutting your hair or otherwise making any lasting changes to your appearance for a job (unless it’s a modeling job or something like that) is making an unacceptable sacrifice.


Really bad reasons people make up to justify them

"Looking smart and well groomed is part of the professional look"
Well that’s not what this haircut is about. Long hair can look smart and well groomed if you, guess what, keep it looking smart and well groomed.

So what? It’s the same as having to wear a suit or uniform
No, because you can take those off after your working hours. A short haircut you take home with you. By demanding you cut your hair this way, your employer is not just demanding you look the way he or she wants at work but also forcing you to look that way in your own time. They're taking ownership of you in a way.

The employers decide and I have to follow or I won’t get a job
Then you could at least passively fight it by pushing the boundaries slightly or protesting when you get a chance. Or you could work your way up to a position from which you can change the rules. Don’t just take every ludicrous demand on your knees begging for more. That makes you a passive supporter of such oppression.
You might also want to consider that a company that places such importance on something so trivial and unrelated to the job, might not be geared enough towards success.

“It’s not about looks, it’s about practicality”
Yeah right! If that were the reason, then women would have the same haircuts as men. Even in the army they don’t so the practicality argument is just a lie. You can decide for yourself that it’s more practical but you cannot decide that for others. Besides, styling long hair is often lot easier and quicker than styling short hair. Short hair is never just wash and go unless it’s a buzz cut while long hair often is.

“What about actors and models and jobs like that?”
Obviously, when your looks are what the job is all about, then you have to be ready to tailor them to the needs of the job. Anyone who goes into acting or modeling knows that they probably will have their hair cut in all kinds of styles they did not choose. But most jobs in offices require nothing of your looks other than that you look smart and groomed and that does not need you to get a business hairstyle.

“If you’re working with customers you’ve got to look presentable and trustworthy”
Then don’t demand it from people who don’t work directly with customers (i.e. accountants). Also, nothing looks less trustworthy than the stereotypical clean cut business outfit. There's a reason why more and more top CEOs appear very casual and non-business like. As far as trust is concerned, smart-casual is the best and always will be. Customers first and foremost want real people and not puppets. Allowing for some personal expression raises the authenticity and will improve the business relationship.

Discrimination, anyone?

Few things symbolize subservience more than forced haircuts and these are a reality for most men. Sure, women have their own version of business haircuts but they have far more choices than men - especially with regard to hair length. So anyone conforming or defending the business haircut as a job requirement is also supporting discrimination and subservience. We did want to get rid of such things didn’t we?

How to get around it

  • If you can, find another field to work in. Fortunately there are many jobs or career paths that literally don’t care about long hair. Perhaps it's best to stay out of the corporate rat race altogether. If you must work in come company, then you could start your own business and make your own rules.
  • You could get a haircut just for your job interview and then grow it out when you’re hired but that’s kind of dishonest and will only reinforce the acceptability of the demand.
  • Check out the company's profile and meet and talk to other employers there. This way you’ll get a picture of how serious they are about such rules. There are some companies that don’t have a problem with longer hair on men.
  • Look your absolute best so as to show them how false the myth of long hair looking messy is.
  • You can make long hair look shorter depending on your kind of haircut. Best is to consult your stylist and ask for a versatile cut. Obviously you can't make waist length hair look like it's 1 inch long.
  • Sometimes it’s not long hair but "messy" hair that's the problem. So if you have hair that tends to stand out or look unruly, you could straighten it or gel it back. Here too, ask your stylist for advice if you haven’t already done so.

Question time

What has your experience been with having to submit to haircuts and how did you deal with it?


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)