Most people have a pretty good idea of what a man bun is. After all, we live in a world full of famous celebrities, adored movie characters, and quirky Instagrammers with kingly hair. But what is a man bun exactly? Is it just a way to wear your hair out of the way? What is the origin of this unique style? Why do women love them so much? Let’s explore.
The Man Bun Definition
For those of you who might be wondering, a man bun is simply a hairstyle made famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) by actor and musician Robert Pattinson. It’s a slick, stylish look that sees a grown man wear his hair in a small knot behind his head. The hair is worn over the ears and the rest is left messy, allowing for some awesome textural contrasts.
While we don’t generally think of our hair as a symbol of masculinity or femininity, it’s interesting to note that the way we wear our hair can actually influence how people perceive us. A classic example of this is celebrity hairstyle icon Rachel Weisz. Thanks to her sensual, dark hair worn in glamorous waves, she became the face of Gucci’s Dark Rose perfume campaign, which gained a lot of popularity because of her iconic hair looks.
The Rise Of The Man Bun
What initially started as a means of protecting his hair from the rain soon became a way of life for Pattinson. “I grew up with a lot of Italian heritage, so my hair always stayed slicked back,” he told Vogue. “Hair that’s been left natural always felt like a better option to me. When I started wearing a man bun, it was more of a protective style. I didn’t realize how much I loved the feeling of wearing my hair out of the way until I started traveling and meeting other cultures. People asked me why I didn’t wear my hair like that at home. I realized then that there was a difference in how I felt when my hair was naturally messy and when I tied it up in a knot. So, to be honest, I never really had a definite answer as to why I wore my hair the way I did. Now that I’m an adult and have more freedom of choice, I can actually understand why I preferred wearing my hair natural.”
While fashion and hairstyle blogs certainly don’t shy away from the fact that Pattinson is now widely known for his man bun, it wasn’t always seen as a trendy choice. “I remember when I had my hair cut for the first time since my hair was dyed,” Pattinson told the Telegraph in 2017. “I asked the barber to take out the bun and reveal the real colors of my hair and he said, ‘You’re kidding, right? That’s the color you wanted.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ Then he said, ‘I’m afraid that people will confuse you with someone else.’”
Today, there is no denying that the man bun is a style choice made famous by none other than our favorite ginger. However, it wasn’t always seen as the style it is now. In 2013, Google Ngram Viewer revealed that although “man bun” was officially a term that could be used in the search engine from 2004 to 2012, it was rarely ever actually searched for. It had only a small peak of interest in 2004 but, since then, search interest has steadily increased, peaking in popularity in 2017.
Why Do Women Love The Man Bun?
You might be wondering, as much as we love to hate-gawk at all things Twilight, why do women feel the need to emulate Bella’s famous ‘twin-bun’ hairstyle? After all, we already have hundreds of perfectly good hairstyle icons to choose from. So what makes Bella’s hairstyle stand out?
Well, let’s take a trip back to the golden age of Hollywood, where women were objectified as much as men were respected, in order to answer that question.
In the ‘40s and ‘50s, it was relatively common for women to go bald as they got older. However, it was still extremely rare for them to keep their hair long, as it was thought to be a symbol of femininity. This all changed in the ‘70s, when women started embracing their hair, seeing it as a symbol of strength and an indication of their rebellion against the ‘50s.
In the early ‘70s, the sexual revolution was in full swing, with women getting equal pay for equal work and finally feeling comfortable enough to wear their hair how they wanted. This newfound confidence led to an explosion of hair styles and looks, with women wearing everything from curls to waves to even a funny little pile of hair on the top of their head, which we now know as the ‘80s style, bangs.
So, in summary, women began to see their hair as a powerful symbol, one that they could own, control, and be proud of. This was most famously explored in the 1975 film Louise, where Anne Wojcicki plays a strong, independent woman who goes from having her hair done every day to refusing to wear a wig because she doesn’t want to be a “girl” and become weak. What do you think about this theory? Do you believe that the ‘70s were the starting point of the current “bun craze”?