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Old 12-18-2005, 10:48 PM
pool pool is offline
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Why do people with shaved heads look intimidating?

I don't know if there is a definitive answer to this question but it seems to me that people with shaved heads look more intimidating. One thing I've noticed is it seems to make them look bigger for some reason.
Old 12-18-2005, 11:30 PM
lalaith lalaith is offline
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Originally Posted by pool
I don't know if there is a definitive answer to this question but it seems to me that people with shaved heads look more intimidating. One thing I've noticed is it seems to make them look bigger for some reason.
Intimidating? My opinion may be in the minority, but I frequently think they look ridiculous. My reaction, never verbalized, is "Get some hair on that thing."

I like a shaved head if the man has a well shaped skull. Too many of them do not.

As for making them look bigger, therefore more intimidating... maybe it's a female thing, but all the big men I have known have always been incredibly gentle. At least they've been gentle with me. So I don't associate bigger with intimidating. (I have frequently wondered if this isn't a sexually selected trait, but that would be another thread, and, as a newbie here I don't think it's my place to start a new thread so soon.)

To not be gender biased I will say the only women I have seen sans hair have been ill and it was not the look of their choice.
Old 12-18-2005, 11:33 PM
Otara Otara is offline
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I found this:

Most people are not intimidated by a shaved skull, but some people do have a reaction to it. There are multiple reasons for this. One possible reason is that the shaved head has been associated with some nasty things in the past decade or two, including neo-nazi skinheads, bikers, and convicts. Much of the "nasty-ness" of this image is media-manufactured, but some people hang on to these images and stereotypes. Another reason is that the shaved head is still outside the norm. Though more and more people are doing it, it's still a small percentage of the overall population. Anything not completely mainstream will tend to provoke some negative reaction. Finally, there may be a connection with our primitive past. The loss of hair on top of our heads, especially when combined with the growth of facial hair, tends to emphasize our jaws and teeth, our natural weapons. This is also a possible evolutionary explanation for male pattern baldness, mentioned in an answer to a question on the Discovery Channel a while back.

Added to that Id say it emphasises your face in general so scowls etc will be more emphasised.

Id go mostly with the skinhead association and non-mainstream thing myself because monks tend to get a very different reaction.

Cant back any of it up with research, just some possibilities really.

Old 12-19-2005, 04:46 AM
Shalmanese Shalmanese is offline
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What about Buddhists? They all have shaved heads and are probably the least intimidating people around. My guess is that it's a learned response.
Old 12-19-2005, 09:36 AM
friedo friedo is online now
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Only a small number of Buddhists do the head-shaving thing. I think it's mostly relegated to the Buddhist monasteries.
Old 12-19-2005, 11:17 AM
Antinor01 Antinor01 is offline
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I agree with Otara's assessment. I would also add military to that. Shaved or very short hair combined with lots of firepower, I'd call that intimidating.

Old 12-19-2005, 03:55 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Well, headshaving was or is a fashion in certain gang circles, so maybe it was by that association. I'd say in order for the look to be intimidating, though, there'd have to be something in addition to it, like clothing or other appurtenaces that might suggest gang membership.
Old 12-19-2005, 04:11 PM
pool pool is offline
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I think its something more than just socialization because I've had friends that werent very intimidating who shaved their heads and I guess it made their heads look bigger somehow and more menacing.
Old 12-19-2005, 05:49 PM
silenus silenus is online now
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Well, my shaved head intimidates the snot out of my sophomores every Fall.

Of course, a lot of that has to do with my reputation as a hard-nosed SOB, but still...the look doesn't kinda make them wet themselves when I growl.
Old 12-19-2005, 08:14 PM
Taran Taran is offline
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I think you have your cause and effect turned around: the people you meet with shaved heads are, for whatever reason, already pretty intimidating.

When I had a shaved head I know it just looked silly, and as Shalmanese points out some very inoffensive people get their heads shaved.
Old 12-19-2005, 09:53 PM
Grrr! Grrr! is offline
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Why do people with shaved heads look intimidating?

Hey Pool,


Seriously though, someone made reference to the Neo-nazi's. I think that might be it.

A couple of months ago I was at my local neighborhood pub. The two guys sitting next to me also had shaved heads. Various people in the bar got quite the chuckle out of seeing us three sit side by side. Shortly after that a Black man walks into the bar and the first thing he sees was us.

He immediately exclaimed: "OH, Hell no! What the hell is going on in this bar here?!?!"

All persons involved knew each other so it was good for a laugh.
Old 12-20-2005, 09:14 AM
scm1001 scm1001 is offline
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why are bald heads not intimidating then? just the age?
Old 12-20-2005, 10:51 AM
Beware of Doug Beware of Doug is offline
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A shaved head looks hard and cold. It makes a man look harder and colder.

It also increases the brutish appearance by shrinking the look of the cranium relative to the face and neck, suggesting a smaller brain, and less room for one.

The head, symbolic of reason and intellect, is turned into a phallic substitute or blunt instrument, signifying simple, naked power.

Julius Streicher, the high-ranking Nazi editor and political leader sometimes called "pornographer to a nation," surely understood and utilized the semiotics of a chrome dome.


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