Western Politics Explained Through Hair

closeup photo of woman on blue textile
(From May 2017)

Boris Johnson, Rob Ford, Doug Ford, Marine Le Pen, Marion Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway and Tomi Lahren.

What do all these figures have in common? They all have blond hair. It’s a matter of “blonde populism.”

From an elite snob perspective, blonde hair is lower class, especially the “bleach blonde” look sported by many on the above list. Blonde populism is an aesthetics of resentment and the underdog.

Kellie Leitch is the most Trump-like candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party. She likes to talk about her “severely normal” supporters, and guess what? She’s blonde now and wasn’t before.

On “the other side” we’re witnessing the rise of “he’s got great hair though” politics. Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron both have nice heads of brunette hair. It’s Betty and Veronica.

There’s more to it than just hair though, Macron and Trudeau are classically attractive, quite unlike the men in the first group. They’re also very young to have reached the heights they have in politics, and supremely adept socially.

My aim is not to compliment Macron and Trudeau, I’m not their biggest fan. But they make sense as an answer to the first group at the aesthetic and personal level.

And finally, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Jeremy Corbyn and Jean-Luc Mélenchon. It’s barely a spectrum of hair, going from “salt and pepper” to full “silver ponytail” very quickly. At a certain level, who cares? At another level, the left could use some younger leaders.

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