North Korea's Hairstyles Are Not Optional, They Are Mandated - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

North Korea's Hairstyles Are Not Optional, They Are Mandated

Posted: Updated:

YAHOO.COM - American women have always had plenty of hair inspiration—from Twiggy, Farah Fawcett, Sarah Jessica Parker, even Miley Cyrus, but the women in North Korea don't have many beauty icons to covet.

Nope, if you're a fashion-forward lady living in Pyongyang the capital and largest city in North Korea, you take your beauty cues from a government-mandated hair menu featuring 18 styles that are about as timely as "The Rachel."

The purpose of the authorized hairstyles (which were leaked online Thursday) is to prevent women from being seduced by Western beauty and fashion ideals. Photos must be hung in Korean salons and offer a range of choices depending on one's relationship status—married women are encouraged to sport a shorter coif and single girls are permitted to wear braids or ribbons.

Approved looks range from Flowbee-like feathered updos to curly mullets to helmet-head pixies.

The origins of restricted hairstyles date back to 2005 when a television show with the very long title "Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle" debuted. The premise: A team with hidden cameras set out to catch Pyongyang citizens sporting "untidy" foreign styles (long hair was also believed to decrease "brain energy"). The guilty parties had their full names, professions, and addresses exposed in the hopes of discouraging viewers to stray from orthodoxy.

But throughout the years North Koreans became lax about their hairstyles until 2009 when regulations were enforced. Kim Jong-Il, the former leader of North Korea allegedly spotted a female sales clerk and said, "Is she really our own Korean woman? Why is she giving up our own traditional beauty and choosing to model bad foreign habits of the capitalist." 

But don't assume men are off the hook when it comes to hairstyles—dudes were issued their own hair menu and advised to keep their tresses shorter than 5 centimeters and trimmed every two weeks (older men are allowed to grow their hair up to seven centimeters before getting it trimmed).

One exception: A slicked back, high-sided cut worn by Kim Jong-un, the current leader of North Korea. Much like how Kate Middleton's fashion and beauty choices are widely influential, Kim Jong-un's coif made waves in 2011 when it was dubbed the "youth" and "ambition" style and a North Korean newspaper called the look "sobering and stylish." Indeed.

By Elise Sole

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • BEAUTIFUL HOMES: Top 10 Most Expensive Homes For Sale In CDA

    BEAUTIFUL HOMES: Top 10 Most Expensive Homes For Sale In CDA

    Tuesday, March 25 2014 9:20 AM EDT2014-03-25 13:20:34 GMT
    KHQ.COM - When it comes to shopping around for a house, it's always fun to dream. We did a search for some of the most expensive homes for sale right now in the Coeur d' Alene area.>>
    KHQ.COM - When it comes to shopping around for a house, it's always fun to dream. We did a search for some of the most expensive homes for sale right now in the Coeur d' Alene area.>>
  • Garage Fire Spreads To Homes In Mead

    Garage Fire Spreads To Homes In Mead

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:21 AM EDT2014-04-22 06:21:22 GMT
    MEAD, Wash. -Firefighters in District #4 responded to a structure fire in the 15000 block of N. Richmond Lane in Mead on Monday night.>>
    MEAD, Wash. -Firefighters in District #4 responded to a structure fire in the 15000 block of N. Richmond Lane in Mead on Monday night. When firefighters arrived, they found a garage fully engulfed in flames and immediately began their attack. The flames spread from the detached garage to two homes.>>
  • Washington Mudslide Death Toll Rises To 41

    Washington Mudslide Death Toll Rises To 41

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 9:54 AM EDT2014-04-22 13:54:39 GMT
    EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - The death toll from the mudslide that hit the Washington town of Oso has risen to 41. The Snohomish County medical examiner's office counted two more victims Monday, but said they have not yet been officially identified. >>>KHQ's Sean Owsley and Matt Rogers are in Oso for LIVE coverage from the devastated community as President Obama is expected to arrive Tuesday for a brief visit with families of the victims.>>>>>
    EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - The death toll from the mudslide that hit the Washington town of Oso has risen to 41. The Snohomish County medical examiner's office counted two more victims Monday, but said they have not yet been officially identified. >>>KHQ's Sean Owsley and Matt Rogers are in Oso for LIVE coverage from the devastated community as President Obama is expected to arrive Tuesday for a brief visit with families of the victims.>>>>>
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Vietnam Sentences American Man To Death For Heroin

    Vietnam Sentences American Man To Death For Heroin

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:48 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:48:39 GMT
    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - State media say a court in Vietnam has sentenced an American to death for heroin trafficking. The Liberated Saigon newspaper says Jason Dinh, 41, was convicted of trafficking 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of heroin at a one-day trial by Ho Chi Minh City's People's Court on Tuesday.>>
    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - State media say a court in Vietnam has sentenced an American to death for heroin trafficking. The Liberated Saigon newspaper says Jason Dinh, 41, was convicted of trafficking 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of heroin at a one-day trial by Ho Chi Minh City's People's Court on Tuesday.>>
  • Family Sues N.J. District Over 'Under God' In Pledge Of Allegiance

    Family Sues N.J. District Over 'Under God' In Pledge Of Allegiance

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:21 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:21:31 GMT
    A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance discriminates against atheist children.A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance discriminates against atheist children.
    FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) - A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance discriminates against atheist children.>>
    FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) - A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance discriminates against atheist children. The lawsuit against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District was filed in state court last month and was announced yesterday by the American Humanist Association. >>
  • South Korean Ferry: 113 Now Confirmed Dead, 190 Still Missing

    South Korean Ferry: 113 Now Confirmed Dead, 190 Still Missing

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:29 AM EDT2014-04-22 14:29:47 GMT
    JINDO, South Korea (AP) - As more bodies are recovered from a sunken South Korean ferry, the number of confirmed dead has reached 113, with about 190 people still missing. Meanwhile, four crew members who are accused of abandoning the ship and failing to protect the passengers have been arrested, three days after warrants were issued for the captain and two other crew members.>>
    JINDO, South Korea (AP) - As more bodies are recovered from a sunken South Korean ferry, the number of confirmed dead has reached 113, with about 190 people still missing. Meanwhile, four crew members who are accused of abandoning the ship and failing to protect the passengers have been arrested, three days after warrants were issued for the captain and two other crew members.>>