Home inContext Iran vs. the Mullet

Iran vs. the Mullet

Samara Greenberg

The Iranian cultural ministry has unveiled a list of government-approved hairstyles in an attempt to rid the Islamic country of “decadent” western cuts, the Guardian reported Tuesday. On the banned list of illegal hairstyles are the mullet, ponytails, and hair that is fancifully spiked. Quiffs appear to be acceptable, as is fashioning one’s hair into a 1980s-style floppy fringe. Using hair gel is also within the law, albeit in modest quantities.

While first time violators will be forced to receive a short-back-and-sides cut, repeat offenders will face stiff fines, and the barber shops that provide such cuts will be shut down, according to the report.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Iran has placed bans on Western fashion. Iranians are prohibited from wearing neck ties, suntanning, and wearing make-up, as the practices are said to either spread Western culture or violate Shari’a law.

An official describes appropriate hairstyles for men at a hairdressing show in Tehran.

While Western media and bloggers understandably made light of the ban on the mullet, the report’s underlying tone is one of seriousness. The level of government repression in Iran on personal freedoms is at an all-time high. Indeed, Iran’s ban on haircuts, tanning, ties, and make-up is just the tip of the iceberg.

One key question still remains: How many Iranian men are still walking around with a 1980s mullet?