The Corner

North Korea Mandates Kim Jong-Un Haircuts for All Men

Fact being stranger than fiction and all that, the BBC notes that:

Men in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported.

The state-sanctioned guidelines were introduced in the capital Pyongyang about two weeks ago, media reports say. It is now being rolled out across the country – although some people have reservations about getting the look.

“Our leader’s haircut is very particular, if you will,” one source tells Radio Free Asia. “It doesn’t always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes.” Meanwhile, a North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. “Until the mid-2000s, we called it the ‘Chinese smuggler haircut’,” the Korea Times reports.

Once upon a time, North Korean men enjoyed a thriving free market in haircuts, with the state restricting their choice only to ten approved styles:

It seems that haircuts have been state-approved in North Korea for some time – until now people were only allowed to choose from 18 styles for women and 10 for men. Earlier, North Korea’s state TV launched a campaign against long hair, called “Let us trim our hair in accordance with the Socialist lifestyle”.

Let us indeed. But that’s not quite fair, is it? I understand the leveling tendency here: Socialists don’t like inequality, so men with flowing locks need to be cut down to size for the good of the order. But what about the completely bald? How otherizing must it be to watch all of your comrades strutting around with their trendy Chinese smuggler cuts while you’re stuck at home, stroking your barren pate and humming “Onwards to the Final Victory” through self-conscious tears?

Not a particularly sensitive move from Kim Jong-un. Perhaps it’ll cost him the next election.

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