men and long hair

To avoid hijacking the other thread…That was used in the church I grew up in for the reason that men shouldn’t have long hair also. I’ve always wondered though, what in nature teaches that?

If we look at the animal kingdom, it’s often the male that has the ‘showier’ features. Lions and their mane, roosters and that…thing I can’t think of the name for right now, peacocks and their brilliant tails,deer with the antlers and so on.

The only thing I could ever think of was perhaps womens hair grows faster? But that doesn’t make any sense for it being a shame for a man to have longer hair.

So the question is, what in nature teaches that? Or for you greek scholors, is it perhaps a mistranslation?

(I’m looking for a factual answer, but realize it could dissolve into opinion or debate…mods feel free to move if needed)

Nothing. As far as I am aware, there are no significant differences in the growth rate of scalp hair in male and female humans. Diffferences in hair length between the sexes is purely cultural.

Human males are “showier” than females (from a biological perspective) due to the possession of facial hair. While the precise function of facial hair as a social signal is debatable, IMO it is most likely intended to intimidate other males rather than be attractive to females per se.

In those species, mate selection tends to be a bit more one-sided: males compete for females, and any given female has her choice of mates. The situation in humans is different because both sexes participate in child-rearing, so you have to be careful drawing analogies with most other species.

I’m sorry, I just can’t resist.

I would just like to say that it is my conviction
That longer hair and other flamboyant affectations
Of appearance are nothing more
Than the male’s emergence from his drab camoflage
Into the gaudy plumage
Which is the birthright of his sex

There is a peculiar notion that elegant plumage
And fine feathers are not proper for the male
When actually
That is the way things are
In most species
That doesn’t do it for you? How 'bout the next one?

They’ll be ga ga at the go go
When they see me in my toga
My toga made of blond
Biblical hair

My hair like Jesus wore it
Hallelujah I adore it
Hallelujah Mary loved her son
Why don’t my mother love me?

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair


I agree. But Paul is the one who said nature taught us that. Where else to try and look besides the animal kingdom?

Paul meant that even pagan men wore their hair short and women, their hair long. It’s something that all civilized people naturally do.

And, btw, civilized meaning “Greco-Roman” in this context.

Ok, so basically it’s something that was specifically meant for a particular cultural context and attempting to apply it outside that context is anachronistic.

Much like many things people try to apply today from those writings. I figured that would end up being the case.

From here

It could also be “unnatural” for men to have long hair because they are traditionally the ones running around hunting and getting in fights with each other, and long hair could conceivably be a tactical disadvantage if it gets hooked on something or your opponent grabs it.
Or maybe, since I’m assuming that long hair for women was originally intended to promote modesty and cover up your body from men who aren’t your husband, if a man has long hair it means that he has something to hide, or something about his body is unnatural.
I made those two ideas up but they seem plausible to me.

The main features of a Nazirite, from somewhere in Leviticus (someone’ll be by Sunday morning with the citation) were his abstentions from haircuts and alcohol. So in Biblical / Temple times some men did have long hair. (Cf. the story of Samson, the most famous case of the Nazirite pledge.)

WhyNot, you beat me to it!

I’ve always liked long hair on men, if of course it is well cared for. I don’t like long unkept hair on anyone!


These comments make no sense whatever to me. Firstly, a woman’s hair even if very long goes down her back. Her major sexual characteristics are not covered by long hair. Even her buttocks are not covered by it unless her hair is extremely long.

Secondly, long hair on a woman is of itself widely considered a highly feminine and sexy thing. In many parts of the world women cover their hair for modesty, and even in the West, a women who wants to look sexy lets her hair down and tucks it up in a bun to be businesslike. Yes, I know some men like short hair and/or severe styles but that doesn’t detract from my point that to at least a very significant degree the last thing a women displaying flowing long hair (in a way that might cover some of her body) is being is modest.

In other words: Bible says something that makes little sense. Catholic bear in forest turns out to be Pope taking dump. News at eleven.

many orthodox priests have long hair. esp. the monastics. some orthodox men also use the “against my religion” card to have long hair.

the no-no hair wise, is that one not spend large amounts of time caring for it and making it look pretty. as mentioned by colibri above. that time would be better spent in spiritual persuits.

women should have theirs covered and uncut if they are married.

yes, there are many than don’t follow the tradition. some churches are more tradition bound than others.

The aspect of long hair/short hair on males which never made sense, is that citation from Corinthians, taken along with the typical depiction of Jesus. If long hair were considered to be a shameful thing. then why wasn’t Jesus sporting a buzz cut which would make a Marine’s heart swell with pride?

Admittedly this isn’t a factual response, but screw nature. I hate my hair short and brillo-y. I have it long and I can still do math well enough and that’s all that matters to me.

Well, I’m sure Paul meant it to be universal, but he was a product of his society, just like you and I are, and, like everyone else, he had biases.

Well, screw you! I was gonna do that! :slight_smile: The OP really called for it. Did you do it from memory or did you have to consult some other source?

Well, I’m ashamed to admit, I did do both from memory (but then I checked them with a lyric site and added in a second line of “hair hair hair’s”). What can I say, I did a lot of community theater in my misbegotten youth. :o

It could also be “unnatural” for men to have long hair because they are traditionally the ones running around hunting and getting in fights with each other, and long hair could conceivably be a tactical disadvantage if it gets hooked on something or your opponent grabs it.

Except for things like the Greek warriors having nice long hair (the Illiad comments several times on the Greek heroes/warriors oiling their harid and making themselves look nice), because in the ancient Greek-Roman world, a buzz-cut = short cut was the sign of a slave or unfree man, while free men let their hair grow.

The Plains Indians Tribes also had long hair, often hanging down their back and not gathered together, and it didn’t interfere with their fighting. The forest Tribes managed to hunt without being so clumsy as to become stuck. (There’s always the option of braiding your hair before the hunt/war, and then unbraiding it again.)

The only hair the Roman soldiers cut off for fighting I know about was the beard (famously clean-shaven, given the difficulty with the technology at that time), because it might give an enemy a handgrip. But the “Barbarians” also had long hair (and beards).

Also, as Jew, Paul would’ve known about the little ringlets that Orthodox Jews still have today, because it’s against God’s law (presumably in the Jewish Bible) to shear their hair? (See Samson, as already mentioned.) And I hope one of the Jewish dopers can explain this better.

My best explanation of this is vanity of caring for your hair (and appearance) more than about other things (I disagree with the Puritan interpretation that no caring or joy about appearance is allowed, but than, that’s different interpretations), and when this used today to tell people how to live, it’s because the more strict rules a religion has, it’s more attractive to a certain mindset of people, and because it gives power to regulate every aspect of other people’s lives.