My wife Michelle has been taking part in various stunts as part of the library’s youth summer reading program. As reading incentives, the youth staff has worn prison jumpsuits for a couple of weeks, worn color-coordinated clothes, and even dyed their hair. Michelle went for a very complimentary purple. And then, a couple of weeks ago, she and her supervisor took the next step, and had their heads shaved in front of a whole gaggle of thrilled children. More pics here.
Oh, the kids loved the spectacle! A few even sported colorful hair themselves. I had a lot of fun shearing Michelle and hamming it up for the children, some of whom looked especially horrified by the whole event. Now my wife sports a very cute chelsea cut (shaved back, but with the bangs intact), which is very close to how she looked when I first met her almost nine years ago.
Here is a video that Tampa Bay’s Fox News aired– you’ll see Michelle towards the end.
Being the infinitely curious near-librarian that she is, Michelle did some research on skinheads and skinbyrds (women with shaved heads/chelsea cuts), and explained to me that, as a cultural phenomenon, skinheads had no original affiliation with racist or hate groups, but rather grew out of the 1960s British Mod scene, eschewing middle-class affectations and reveling in their working-class roots.
Some time later, scene splintering led to the adoption of the skinhead look by racist groups, and since then mainstream media has followed a tendency to equate skinheads with racists, even though these make up a small portion of all skinheads. In fact, there are very prominent anti-racist and anti-extremist skinhead groups who fight against this stereotype. Oi!