It’s all in the head

Modern-day political leadership and its relationship to hair.

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Seldom has the world seen a crop of so many powerful figures ruling different parts of the globe at the same time as now. When someone in authority behaves in an autocratic manner it is said that power has gone to his head. Even with a casual look at each one of the ruling strong men – yes, all of them are men at present – you will realize that much more than power has gone to their head. A good crop of hair; and on top of that, everyone with a unique style.

What has hair got to do with power? A lot, it would seem.

Let me start from America, a super power for so many decades but now somewhat sliding. The Commander in Chief of the US has an unusual comb-over coif that resembles a thick sheaf of hay yanked towards his forehead. However, pics from his younger days, currently played on the TV covering the dark deeds of Jeffrey Epstein, show that Donald used to have a thick mop of dark hair combed like any other guy. How did that turn into a sort of golden hue? Looks like whatever this wheeler-dealer touches turns into gold except, of course, his unsolicited offers of mediation to other world leaders.

Moving on to the county that lays claims to the next superpower status, supremo Xi Jinping has such well-groomed and neatly partitioned radiant dark hair that will be the envy of anyone half his age. If he wasn’t occupied with his day job of being the PRC’s long-term president, he could easily have become a red hot poster boy for Brylcream (remember this famous hair-cream of yore) ads and rule the global media scene. He still pervades the media world though, as he and Trump try to get the other by the short hairs in their tariff war.

However, Xi’s neighbour and the nemesis of North America, Kim Un Jung, has the ultimate crowning glory with the most unusual mop on his head. Although no one would dare to mimic him in any way, his hair-brained idea is copied all over the world. There won’t be any hair-splitting argument as to who holds the trump card in the style stakes, since his has become a fashion statement. His first head-to-head meeting with Trump in Singapore gave hopes of an agreement only a hair-breadth away but ultimately it turned out the gap was much wider than a hairline crack.

In contrast, Narendra Modi with grey top and matching well-trimmed beard presents a picture of saintly poise and scholarly look mixed in a modified proportion.
Closer to home, former PM Kevin’s ‘nerdy’ hairstyle gave him a head start in 2007 over John Howard who was the only second prime minister to lose his head in an electoral battle. His successor Julia Gillard’s red hair, besides her association with a hairdresser, attracted more than a fair share of comments from every quarter.

The latest heir to the throne to join the chorus is Britain’s Boris Johnson who looks like he wears a bird nest on his head. Perhaps he should wear a hat while in a wooded area, to avoid a winged creature taking refuge up there. Brexit is ok but not bird-sit.
There is now a group of winners in all this – cartoonists. They’re having a heyday as they let loose their creativity on each of their subjects’ crowning glory.

It may be worth a doctoral thesis to analyse if there is any link between hair and power. There is at least a mythical example to start with – Samson, who lost his power once he lost his hair.

Hear, hear.