Bald or Balding MenIncidence of hair loss in men reaches 60% of 60 year-old male subjects. Among racial groups, whites have the highest incidence of hair loss, African Americans have the lowest incidence, and Asians have an incidence between the two.
Observations suggest that alopecia may have an overwhelming impact on the initial “view from the outside” (analyzing a person from the outside). The evidence of such a negative effect from studies that used verbal descriptors or graphic sketches of men with and without hair loss problems is unclear.
In a study concerning people’s perception of persons with alopecia, a very famous researcher, Cash, investigated the initial impact of visible alopecia on men, based on the social perception of persons of both sexes. Subjects viewed coloured samples of balding men and of men that didn’t have this problem, presented in pairs according to their age, race and other attributes. Afterwards, they evaluated these men based on several key, first impression criteria. As a result, balding men created a less favourable impression and the impression that they were older. Regarding their true age, balding men under 35 were rated as being older and men over 35 that didn’t have this problem were perceived as being younger.
This experiment led to three scientifical conclusions. First, a less favourable impression does not mean a negative impression. On a scale of attractiveness from 1 to 10, men with average hair loss problems had only a slight disadvantage. Second, initial impressions are not necessarily iron clad, and people who already met and liked someone, will not give up on their affection because of that person’s hair loss. Third, other personal qualities can be essential in deciding the relationship, beyond the first impressions. For example, warm and interesting persons rise above the mostly unfavourable social perceptions caused by hair loss. But on the other hand, for those whose antagonistic or egocentric personalities which have already been socially marginalized, baldness may intensify the social apathy or antipathy aimed at them.
Thus, perhaps because of the social expectations about age normativity, hair loss “matures” younger people, while an older person, but with more hair, seems to be younger. So, from a social point of view, people seem to relate to the saying “a bad hair day is better than a no hair day”.
The conclusions suggest that the social image effects on male alopecia decrease men’s attractiveness from the point of view of a stereotype applied to the subjects having this problem.
Table of Contents:
Can a hair transplant really help an alopecia pacient?
Social perspectives on hair loss
Bald or Balding Men