This afternoon, we had a fantastic time at Young Writers Group at Monash Library. Somehow, we started talking about hair and how it can be used to show aspects of a character in writing.
We started talking about assumptions people make about the length of a person’s hair and moved on to colours and hairstyles.
One of the most common hair stereotypes is the ‘dumb blonde’ and different ways it has been used. We discussed Legally Blonde, the movie, and how we loved the breaking down of the stereotype as well as the main character still being herself and showing her intelligence her way.
We also discussed mullets, afro, shaved heads, and more, and the various images those different styles mean.
Hair can also show cultural differences as well as a period of time. I grew up in the 1980s, and there are some iconic hair styles then. I loved having crimped hair! We also spoke about the bobbed hairstyle of the 1920s, wigs of the 1600s, and the hairstyles women had during World War 2.
In a book, there are different ways you can show a character’s hairstyle. It could be a simple description, or you could show the character styling their hair (YouTube can be great for tutorials if you’re not sure how to do something), there could also be complements on a change in style, or shock from another character about the change.
You can also use a character’s hair as a way that other’s make assumptions about them, then they can either defy expectations, or meet them, depending on what works with your story.
There are a lot of photographs on the Internet as well a YouTube videos with different hairstyles to get you started.
If you’re wanting a fun writing exercise, pick a hairstyle from history and use that to inspire a story.