If you lived through the 1990s, then you endured some repellent clothing trends. Mom jeans. Denim overalls. Flannel shirts. Scrunchies.
I rocked that last one. I still remember my favorite: green with little white daisies on it.
To my surprise, I discovered this trend is returning… and not just for women, either. According to The Wall Street Journal, “munchies” or “male scrunchies,” are in high demand.
Longer hairstyles for men are resurrecting the market for this unique hair-accessory, according to the Journal. The scrunchie, invented in 1987 and named after someone’s toy poodle, fits the bill for men who want to keep their hair out of their face, but don’t want to deal with broken ends or permanent waves from a ponytail. Like Jason Momoa, who prominently displayed the retro-trend at the 2019 Academy Awards.
When a young man grows his hair long, he makes a clear fashion statement. Thomas Michael Perras, 33, a model and carpenter in the Rocky Mountains of Canada, started growing his hair out about four years ago because he wanted to distinguish himself from his close-cropped peers. For the especially attention-hungry long-locked sort, the Long Hairs sells hair ties in loud, bro-y patterns like “missile launchers and hot mermaids and cool colors and rasta stuff and camo,” said Mr. Barto.
Mr. Perras has gone the Momoa route, regularly using a pink scrunchie (which he calls his “munchie” for male scrunchie) to tie up his mammoth mane. A scrunchie “just seemed to have the least amount of wear and tear on my hair itself, just seemed to pull out the least amount of hair,” he said. As for the pink color? “There was the option of buying all black, but I just like to shake things up.”
The hair struggle is real. I should know, I’m a girl.
But because I am a girl, I also sit back and ask, “Why?” Why are today’s men so eager to look and act just like… women?
I’ll wager that not much has changed on the part of today’s males. Like the men of yesteryear, they’re still eager to dress to impress the women in their lives, and sensitive to subtle changes in feminine taste.
And so they pick up on the feminist mantra that rails against “toxic masculinity,” suggesting that women want a gentle man. A soft man. A man who adjusts to a feminine way of thinking and acting. This narrative critical of traditional masculinity has landed like a rock in the center of a lake and drifted out in ringed ripples to the far reaches of the country.
Unfortunately for men, women are fickle. Many are beginning to realize that a soft, sensitive, elegant man isn’t what they really want. Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in the following statement from feminist author Camille Paglia:
A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it is confirmed only by other men. Feminist fantasies about the ideal ‘sensitive’ male have failed. Manhood coerced into sensitivity is no manhood at all.
In another essay, Paglia explains how the trend toward sensitive manhood can be reversed:
Masculine identity is embattled and fragile. In the absence of opportunity for heroic physical action, as in the modern office world, women's goodwill is crucial for preserving the male ego, which requires, alas, daily maintenance. It is in the best interests of the human race, and of women themselves, for men to be strong.
Is she right? Would we see the lives of women improve not by the rise of the softened, scrunchie-wearing man, but by the return of the strong, solid male leader, supported in his exploits by female encouragement and goodwill?
[Image Credit: Brent Michael Wood, Flickr, CC BY 2.0]
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.