Cue the montage: Its quarantine makeover time. People practicing social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic are itching to change up their looks. The evidence is all over social media: With hair salons shuttered, people have resorted to chopping at long lockswith craft scissors or full-on shaving their heads, or dying their hair blue or pink with box dye. Many men, from Jim Carrey to your uncle, are growing out lumberjack beards.
For some, mere hair manipulation isnt enough. If you can keep your eyes open long enough, you could watch YouTube and TikTok videos of people piercing their own ears and noses at home, or letting equally unqualified family members do it for them. Perhaps most adventurous are those contemplating giving themselves quarantine stick-and-poke tattoos with kits they bought on Facebook.
Many people, of course, are taking their appearances into their own hands purely out of necessity. Theyre sick of showing up to Zoom meetings with grays, dark roots, split ends, and bangs straggling into their eyes. (If that's you, WIRED has some tips for avoiding DIY haircut disasters.) But others, the ones on the more extreme end of the stay-at-home body modification spectrum—the drastic cuts, the wild dye jobs, the piercings and tats—give reasons that are far more emotional and nebulous. “PIERCED MY EAR AT HOME **QUARANTINE MADE ME DO IT**" screams one YouTube video title. Regardless of why you do it, though, the urge to make yourself over right here, right now isnt just your brain reacting to simple boredom. Its actually a much more complicated coping mechanism.
No one has actually studied mass makeovers during a prolonged global pandemic—were in uncharted territory here—but people like Christopher Oldstone-Moore think theres much to glean from personal expressions of the past. Take beards. According to Oldstone-Moore, who studies gender and hair at Wright State University, beards are associated with warriors in ancient and medieval times, and, you know, manliness. At times like these, growing one can be a show of resilience. “Psychologically, it can be a sort of declaration of fortitude and heartiness,” he says. “Its a way of saying, Im tough. I can withstand adversity.” Makeover elements that require suffering actual physical pain, like piercings and tattoos, may be serving a similar function: thumbing your nose at a trying time just to remind yourself and others that you can.
The urge to change your appearance might also be a desire to change the one thing about your situation thats actually changeable. According to Kim Johnson, professor emerita at the University of Minnesota, where she studied the social psychology of fashion, giving yourself a makeover after a catastrophic event is somewhat common. “Women who were sexually assaulted often change their appearance after the assault. It's a renewed sense of control,” says Johnson. “Applied to coronavirus, the reasoning could be I cannot control the virus, but I can control my appearance.” Peoples quarantine health kicks and fitness journeys could be understood in similar ways.
For others, especially thoRead More – Source