Why are male recruits cut off before enlisting in the military?

As far as hairstyles go, it’s one of the most common in the world, and BTS member Jin is the latest in a long line of stars to get their jaws cut.

The 30-year-old singer made his Instagram debut before enlisting for the mandatory military service that all able-bodied men must undertake in South Korea.

Jin joked with fans on Korean app Weverse that his new look was “cuter” than he expected, and BTS music performance director Son Sung-deuk posted. Jin’s photo, took to Instagram to write, “Hope you have a healthy journey and have a precious time in your life.

South Korea is not the only country to give fashionable haircuts to new male military recruits, as the hairstyle is also given to members of the armed forces in Australia, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Originally made to prevent the spread of head lice, it’s also an easy-care style that promotes uniformity.

From Roman soldiers to Elvis

The shortest haircut anyone can have without going totally bald, the military-style cut is nothing new. Dating back to soldiers of the Roman Empire, while Vikings and Celtic warriors of the time wore long hair, a legionnaire wore “short hairstyles like those of other men in their society” according to Victoria Sherrow. The Hair Encyclopedia: A Cultural History.

It wasn’t until the 1800s that the fashionable cut once again became the military haircut of choice when the French Foreign Legion required all new recruits to be shaved for training.

When one of the most famous enlistees of all time, Elvis Presley, joined the US Army in 1958, the fashionable cut had become the “induction cut” allowing for a slightly longer length on top. Women were not required to have the haircut, but had to keep their hair tied back.

“The buzz cut is always in fashion”

The shortness of the military hairstyle has, throughout history, been considered the antithesis of the countercultural longer styles of 50s teddy boys and 60s hippies.

Hair cut outside of the military gained influence with Britain’s working-class skinhead subculture in the 1960s, while one of the hairdressing’s most famous pop culture moments came via Sinead O’Connor whose buzz cut in the 1990 music video for Nothing compares to 2 U remains a defining moment in challenging female beauty standards.

Although the buzz cut has always been a staple of some cultures, in recent years it has become so popular with women that Willow Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Kristen Stewart and Cara Delevingne are all embracing the style.

“The trendy cut is always in style” says Karl Warner, Artistic Director of Pastels Salon, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai. “It can be super classic or super edgy depending on your personal style. Classic by keeping its color natural or fashion forward by bleaching it, toning it, having crazy colors or painting or drawing on your trendy cut.

Updated: December 13, 2022, 12:54 p.m.

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