Initial reaction: why? Why are men growing out their hair just to wear them in lanky, often untidy buns? Why is this a thing? Why are people talking about them? What differentiates a man bun from a regular bun? Why would men choose to struggle with hair ties and bobby pins when it’s acceptable for them to just shave their heads?
So many questions to answer but let’s start with the basics. A man bun is a gender-specific variation of the “bun” hairstyle, wherein an individual bunches together one’s hair and secures it with a band at differing levels of complexity and neatness. The bun has gained popularity among both genders in recent years for its ease, convenience and aesthetic appeal.
The messy bun trend among females is one aspect of the bun conversation; girls have earned the right to pile their hair on top of their heads after centuries of beauty standards dictating perfectly coiled and impeccably straightened locks. The world has inflicted mile-high wigs, gut-splitting corsets, and of course, a perpetual arsenal of blister-inducing shoes on women, but we’re finally at the point where comfy athletic wear is becoming widely popular outside the gym. This so-called “athleisure” is embraced as empowering female attire that finally allows women to be comfortable in what they wear. Say yes to the yoga pants, sports bras, and sneakers, topped with a messy bun. Be comfortable for goodness sake.
We then return to the question of why men too want to embrace the bun. Male haircuts seem so simple and easy to manage, why would you opt for growing it out and actually having to manage it? Styling is a whole other step to take before leaving the door, but I’ll admit that I see how it can give guys more freedom in terms of style. Male haircuts can be kind of limited, as can male fashion, but I suppose growing it out allows for a bit of variation, and I respect that.
Yet why are so many just foppish, usually silly-looking little protrusions? I’m pretty skeptical of the man bun because it’s so rarely worn well. More often, the reality is a sloppy pile of curls on top of the head or a slinky tail at the base of the neck.
The problem is that Chris Hemsworth set the precedent for man buns — the guy who has the abs to sell anything. With his glorious Thor physique, anything can be made attractive, so anything less falls flat sadly. Leonardo DiCaprio is trying really hard to pull off the hipster man bun and beard look, but the Titanic actor, and prime example of the dad bod, just doesn’t do the trick — but that’s not going to stop him from enjoying his life and dating Victoria’s Secret models.
So to tell the average man bun-toting dude that his hairstyle looks bad, or that he doesn’t have the physique or style to rock it is not my place. That would be just as oppressive as all the previous centuries of history we don’t need to repeat. If women are finally feeling empowered enough to sport comfort-wear and messy buns, men should feel comfortable enough to grow out their hair and try a new style if they so please. Maybe then they can sympathize with the work of shampooing, conditioning, brushing and styling hair. Make like Leo and be happy with your lifestyle choices.
Do whatever the heck you want with your hair because it’s your hair and not anyone else’s. Amen to the man bun or whatever style it is that you choose!