RSS
Iran's war on mullets
Hip (and hapless) Americans can sport the distinctive "long in the back" mullet hairstyle with impunity. Not so in Iran, thanks to new government grooming rules
 
The mullet: A "decadent Western" hairstyle, by Islamic standards .
The mullet: A "decadent Western" hairstyle, by Islamic standards .
Corbis

Don't expect to see Meatloaf touring Iran anytime soon. The country's culture ministry has released guidelines to help male citizens choose appropriate "Islamic" hairstyles — complete with a photo gallery of approved coiffures — and mullets and other "decadent Western" looks failed to make the cut. Here's a brief guide:

What is an "Islamic" haircut?
One that is appropriate for Iran's "complexion, culture and religion, and Islamic law," according to an Iranian official. In practice, that generally means short back and sides — though The Guardian's Phil Daoust notes that "1980s-style floppy [bangs]," Rockabilly-esque pompadours, and goatee beards appear to be acceptable, too.

What is considered inappropriate?
The aforementioned mullet, ponytails and spiked hair are all no-nos. "Aging rockers and the cast of 'Jersey Shore' should probably stay out of Tehran for awhile," says Bryan Moylan at Gawker.

Why has the government released these guidelines now?
The timing coincides with this month's "Modesty and Veil Festival," a fashion event designed to showcase ways the country's youth can stylistically satisfy Iran's strict Islamic authorities.

Is this a new crackdown, then?
Actually, it represents a loosening of the grooming code. Gentlemen are no longer required to wear a beard — for years, a symbol of religious correctness in Iran. 

What about women?
Iran's females don't get any new guidance or breaks; under the country's sharia law, all females must cover their hair in public. Sporting an "immodest appearance" can land women in jail, and as many as 16,000 women were reportedly cautioned in the past week for improper attire.

Sources: The Guardian, AFP, Shalom Life, Gawker

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week