The mullet is a hairstyle in which the hair is cut shorter at the front, top and sides, but is longer at the back.

A man with a modern mullet haircut

Etymology edit

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, use of the term mullet to describe this hairstyle was "apparently coined, and certainly popularized, by American hip-hop group the Beastie Boys",[1] who used "mullet" and "mullet head" as epithets in their 1994 song "Mullet Head", combining it with a description of the haircut: "number one on the side and don't touch the back, number six on the top and don't cut it wack, Jack."[2] They expounded on the subject at length in a six-page article entitled "Mulling Over The Mullet" in Issue 2 (1995) of their magazine Grand Royal, offering a selection of alternative names for the cut, including "Hockey Player Haircut" and "Soccer Rocker".[3]

False etymology edit

On Slate's Decoder Ring podcast, Willa Paskin discussed the etymology of the term, noting that Oxford English Dictionary credited the Australian Street Machine automotive magazine with the first published description of the term in 1992, predating Beastie Boys.[4][5][6][7][8] Decoder Ring discovered that the magazine image had been faked; in a 2018 apology posted to imgur, the creator had admitted to faking the text, adjusting the magazine dates, and shown proof.[9]

Fashion history edit

In antiquity edit

A metal figurine, dated back to the 1st-century AD and found during 2018 preparations for a new car park at the Wimpole Estate, England, was hypothesised by archaeologists to indicate that natives in ancient Britain during the Roman occupation could have worn their hair similarly to mullets.[10]

In the sixth century, Byzantine scholar Procopius wrote that some factions of young males wore their hair long at the back and cut it short over the forehead. This non-Roman style was termed the "Hunnic" look.[11][12]

Researcher Alan Henderson describes the ancient hairstyle as useful, as it kept the hair out of the eyes, yet provided warmth and protection for the neck.[13]

Native America edit

In Mourt's Relation, author Edward Winslow described the Plymouth pilgrims' first encounter with the Native Americans, Samoset of the Abenaki in 1621:

He was a tall straight man, the hair of his head black, long behind, only short before, none on his face at all; …

Native Borneo edit

Kayan people (Borneo) with a mullet hairstyle

Some tribes in Borneo also have mullet hairstyles, including Dayak Kayan, Kenyah and Iban.[citation needed]

1960s edit

Tom Jones sported a mullet in two of his three 1965 performances of his hit song "It's Not Unusual" on The Ed Sullivan Show, May 2, 1965 and June 13, 1965.[15][16]

1970s edit

David Bowie with a mullet in 1974

Mullets were worn by rock stars David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Keith Richards, and Paul McCartney in the early 1970s.[17][18] When writing Neil Peart's eulogy in January 2020, Greg Prato asserted Peart had a mullet, based on his observations of a 1974 video, further suggesting "he also may have been one of the first rockers to sport another hairstyle – the rattail", based on a 1985 video, "The Big Money".[19]

1980s edit

In Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1980s, mullets were "everywhere", according to Tess Reidy writing at The Guardian in 2019.[20] The 1980s were also the high point of the mullet's popularity in continental Europe.[21]

Also in the 1980s, the mullet became part of lesbian culture, where it came to be used as a way of identifying oneself as a member of that culture in public.[22][23][24][25]

1990s edit

A man with a mullet in 1992

After the much-publicized 1992 DC Comics storyline in which Superman apparently died, the character returned to the 1993 follow-up storyline "Reign of the Supermen", in which he was depicted with a mullet.[26] The cancelled Superman film project, Superman Lives, would have depicted Superman with a mullet.[27]

Punk rock band the Vandals sang of the mullets worn by country music singers and guests of The Jerry Springer Show and listed regional names for the style in the 1998 song "I've Got an Ape Drape".[28] In 1997, gay punk band Pansy_Division released their single "Hockey Hair" in Vancouver, Canada about this hairstyle.

Vocalist Wesley Willis wrote and released the track "Cut the Mullet" in 1998 and frequently performed it at live shows.[29]

2000s edit

The 2001 film American Mullet documents the phenomenon of the mullet hairstyle and the people who wear it.[30]

The same year Universal Records (Canada) released the album Mullet Years: Power Ballads, a collection of hard rock ballads.[31]

This hairstyle became popular with the bogan subculture in Australia and New Zealand.[32][33]

2010s edit

The mullet was banned in Iran as one style on a list of "un-Islamic", "decadent Western cuts".[34][35]

The mullet was returned to the spotlight in 2015 by K-pop idol G-Dragon during his band BIGBANG's Made World Tour.[36] Baekhyun of EXO also sported a mullet in promotion for the group's 2017 song "Ko Ko Bop". K-pop artists who have worn mullets include Block B's Zico, Song Min-ho, Nam Joo-hyuk, Dean, Stray Kids' Chan and Han, VIXX's N,[37] B.A.P.'s Himchan,[38] Seventeen's Woozi and The8, and BTS's V.[39]

The mullet has also experienced a revival within American sports. After winning back-to-back Stanley Cups, Phil Kessel was spotted in Pittsburgh Penguins training camp in September 2017 bringing the mullet back to its native roots of Pittsburgh hockey (Jaromír Jágr wore a mullet with the Penguins in the 1990s).[citation needed] Similarly, Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy wore a mullet starting in early 2017; the popularity of his mullet supposedly earned Oklahoma State millions of dollars in marketing revenue.[40] In addition, from 2010 to 2015, Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks popularized the "playoff mullet," an alternative to the traditional NHL playoff beard.[41] Then-Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner began sporting a mullet in 2018, continuing the Yinzer tradition of the hairstyle in Western Pennsylvania.[42] The revival also extended to Australia in the late 2010's, with Australian soccer player Rhyan Grant becoming widely known for his mullet haircut to the point that it was included within the video game FIFA 20.[43]

2020s edit

Peso Pluma with a mullet in 2023

In September 2020, i-D called 2020 "the year of the mullet", attributing its boom in popularity to COVID-19 lockdowns and the extended closure of hair salons.[44] In an article for Vice Media, the mullet-wearing teenagers interviewed all described getting the haircut as a joke, with one stating "There's an irony to the mullet haircut. It's this disgustingly gross haircut, which means it's definitely worn in an ironic way".[45] Magda Ryczko, founder of a barbershop in Brooklyn, notes that mullets allow for a professional front-facing look for COVID-19 era Zoom meetings, while maintaining a messier, more fun look off-camera, when the longer back section of hair may be revealed.[46] An annual national USA Mullet Championship began in 2020.[47][48] The versatility of the taper fade has modernized the classic mullet, giving it a cleaner look.[49]

In July 2023, Mexican singer Peso Pluma attracted attention for his mullet style, a hairstyle that he adopted as his signature haircut during his stardom as a musical performer.[50][51]

58-year-old Tami Manis from Tennessee was awarded a Guinness World Record for a 172.72 cm-long (68.00 in) mullet in August 2023, a result of not having her hair cut for 33 years.[52][53]

In popular culture edit

In 2019, Kiefer Sutherland described himself as an unwitting instigator of the hairstyle, which he sported in the 1987 film The Lost Boys.[54] In 2022 press interviews marking the 35th anniversary of the film, Sutherland again recounted the story.[55][56]

In the 3rd episode of Cheers from October 1982 titled "The Tortelli Tort", Sam says to Diane "Don't you have customers to deal with, mullet-head?" [57]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "mullet, n.9". Oxford University Press. OED Online. September 2013.
  2. ^ Mullet Head (Remastered 2009) on YouTube[dead link]
  3. ^ Grand Royal Issue 2, (1995) p. 44
  4. ^ "The Mullet Mystery - Episode 23 - The Oxford Comment". SoundCloud. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  5. ^ "OED Appeals: mullet". Oxford Academic (Oxford University Press) Tumblr. 5 April 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Appeals: mullet". Oxford English Dictionary. 22 April 2013. Archived from the original on 13 August 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  7. ^ Thinkmap Inc. (20 July 2015). "Think of "Mullet" as a 1980s Word? It's Not.: Vocabulary Shout-Out: Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus". Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  8. ^ Levine, Sara (June 2016). "The 'mullet' mystery - Episode 23 - The Oxford Comment | OUPblog". OUPblog. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  9. ^ topsmate (21 April 2018). "An apology to the Oxford English Dictionary". Imgur. Archived from the original on 16 August 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2020. A few years ago I saw a post on reddit about the origin of the word Mullet (the Beastie Boys have the first record of it being used according to the Oxford English Dictionary). I photoshopped a 1992 magazine I had laying around to make it look like it referred to the term Mullet before it was first used in print.... The above photo is the original un-photoshopped Street Machine issue I used, and photoshopped to be a mythical "Jan '92" issue with an edited article within that proved the use of the term Mullet before the beastie boys in 1994. It should be obvious to anyone involved in the OED appeals search that it's the same magazine as the photoshopped version (in one of the images below), and the search can stop and they can save any effort going forward.
  10. ^ "Unearthed figurine suggests ancient Britons favoured mullets". The Guardian. 19 February 2021.(registration required)
  11. ^ Toner, J. P. (2013). Popular Culture in Ancient Rome. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0745654904.
  12. ^ Heather, Peter (4 July 2013). The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes & Imperial Pretenders. Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-0230772304.
  13. ^ Henderson, Alan (2013). Mullet Madness. Skyhorse.
  14. ^ William Bradford, Edward Winslow (1865). Mourt's Relation, or Journal of the Plantation at Plymouth. Boston: J. K. Wiggin.
  15. ^ Tom Jones (17 October 2020). Tom Jones "It's Not Unusual" (May 2, 1965) on The Ed Sullivan Show (Online video platform). The Ed Sullivan Show. OMbfYOaStU4. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  16. ^ Tom Jones (3 October 2020). Tom Jones "It's Not Unusual" (June 13, 1965) on The Ed Sullivan Show (Online video platform). The Ed Sullivan Show. 4CyS9wVBNGo. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  17. ^ Wilson, William (2011). Gobbledygook. p. 166. ISBN 978-1440529252. David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust rocked a mullet, and so did Wings-era Paul McCartney.
  18. ^ Andrew Grant Jackson (2012). Still the Greatest. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0810882232. he sported the mullet that Bowie would as Ziggy Stardust; cousin to the shag popularized by David Cassidy, Florence Henderson, and Rod Stewart. It almost looks cool in those early days, but when McCartney added the mustache ...
  19. ^ Prato, Greg (12 January 2020). "10 Moments That Show the Awesomeness of Rush's Neil Peart". Heavy Consequence. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  20. ^ "Here's the long and the short of it – mullets are back". the Guardian. 24 August 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2021.(registration required)
  21. ^ "The Greatest Collection of Mullet Hairstyles You Are Ever Likely to See". The Vintage News. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  22. ^ Bianco, Marcie (5 February 2015). "9 Ways Lesbians Have Given Straight Women A Fashion Edge". Curve. Archived from the original on 13 December 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  23. ^ Johnson, L. A. (7 October 2003). "For 'mulletheads,' it's not just a hairstyle, it's a lifestyle". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on 2 December 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  24. ^ Weitz, Rose (12 January 2005). Rapunzel's Daughters: What Women's Hair Tells Us About Women's Lives. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 9781429931137.
  25. ^ Bennett, Conswella (6 June 2011). "Mullets, Flannel, and Hipster Jeans: Lesbian Fashion Now and Then". Edge Media Network.
  26. ^ Kesel, Karl (w), Grummett, Tom (p), Hazelwood, Doug (i). "Reign of the Superman!" The Adventures of Superman, no. 505 (October 1993). DC Comics.
  27. ^ The Editors of GQ (25 July 2014). "The Nicolas Cage Superman Documentary Reminds Us of the Man of Steel's Bad Hair Days". GQ. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  28. ^ "I've Got An Ape Drape lyrics". Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  29. ^ Loux, Brian (14 September 2001). "Wesley Willis Live". The Tech. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  30. ^ Rebecca Flint Marx (2008). "American Mullet (2001)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 12 October 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  31. ^ "Compilations - Mullet Years: Power Ballads CD. Heavy Harmonies Discography".
  32. ^ Passmore, Daryl (13 November 2010). "Bogans of today evolved beyond stunned mullets". The Sunday Mail. Queensland: News Corp Australia.
  33. ^ Stark, Jill (19 December 2015). "Bogan Bingo! Get your mullet and flannies ready, it's bogan time". The Age. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  34. ^ Shahid, Aliyah (6 July 2010). "Iran launches crackdown on Western hairstyles, Culture Ministry bans mullet, ponytails, long hair". Daily News. New York Daily News. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  35. ^ Dweck, Jessica (10 July 2010), "Whence the Mullet? The history of Iran's forbidden haircut", Slate
  36. ^ "BIGBANG 2015 WORLD TOUR 'MADE'". Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  37. ^ yckim124 (11 July 2017). "Netizens are afraid the mullet hairstyle is becoming a trend due to idols". Retrieved 27 March 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  38. ^ J. K (21 August 2017). "Update: B.A.P Drops Another Beautiful Trailer For "Honeymoon" - Soompi". Soompi. Viki Inc. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  39. ^ bts fancafe (16 April 2018). "My hair is like this because I want to do it~😊🐯 Please cheer for me and support me. I love you and good night 👍🏻💜". Twitter. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  40. ^ Sherman, Mitch (19 July 2017). "Gundy: Mullet worth 'millions' in OSU marketing". ESPN. Frisco, Texas. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  41. ^ Skrbina, Paul (12 May 2015). "The man behind Patrick Kane's mullet". Chicago Tribune.
  42. ^ Fowler, Jeremy (13 September 2018). "Steelers' James Conner embraces unique haircut, planning more styles". ESPN. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  43. ^ "Cars, Wedding Crashers and cheating death: A-League's man behind the mullet". Fox Sports. 9 October 2019.
  44. ^ Lanigan, Roisin (2 September 2020). "2020 is the year of the mullet". i-D. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  45. ^ Smythe, Polly (8 September 2020). "Mullets Have Become the Must-Have Haircut at English Private Schools". Vice Media. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  46. ^ "The Queer Rebirth of the Mullet". MEL Magazine. 27 July 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  47. ^ "USA Mullet Championships - Business Up Front & Party In The Back". USA Mullet Championships. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  48. ^ Breen, Kerry (8 October 2021). "There's a national mullet championship for kids and the finalist photos are priceless". Archived from the original on 11 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  49. ^ "50 Cool Mullet Hairstyles For Men (2021 Haircut Styles)". Men's Hairstyles Now. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  50. ^ Griselda Flores (13 July 2023). "La historia detrás del corte de pelo, tipo mullet, de Peso Pluma: 'Mi pelo es mi superpoder'". date. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  51. ^ "Peso Pluma: ¿Cuál es el Origen de su Famoso Corte de Pelo?". Nmás. 13 July 2023. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  52. ^ Tennessee woman has longest competitive mullet
  53. ^ Tennessee woman sets record for world’s longest female mullet
  54. ^ 'The Lost Boys' star Kiefer Sutherland talks 'violent and gross' deleted scene and inventing the mullet Yahoo!, 24 October 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2022
  55. ^ Kiefer Sutherland Celebrates 35th Anniversary Of ‘The Lost Boys' "While chatting with ET Canada's Carlos Bustamante about the 35th anniversary of “The Lost Boys”, Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland reveals he was blamed for the mullet becoming so popular." MSN, 8 January 2022. Retrieved 22 January 2022
  56. ^ Kiefer Sutherland Celebrates 35th Anniversary Of ‘The Lost Boys' Archived 22 January 2022 at the Wayback Machine ET Canada. Retrieved 22 January 2022
  57. ^ "Cheers: Season 1, Episode 3 script | Subs like Script". Retrieved 1 April 2024.

Further reading edit

  • Hoskyns, Barhey (2000). The Mullet: Hairstyle of the Gods. Bloomsbury USA. ISBN 1582340641.
  • Henderson, Alan (2007). Mullet Madness!: The Haircut That's Business Up Front and a Party in the Back. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1616088606.

External links edit

  •   Media related to Mullets at Wikimedia Commons
  •   The dictionary definition of mullet at Wiktionary