German Cropped Hair Styles: Gender Trends

Figure 1.--These two children, perhaps siblings, have idebtical cropped hair styles. (The similar caps, hair, stockings, and shoes strongly suggest that the children are siblings.) We are not entirely sure who the child on the right is. The cropped hair suggests a boy. The pleated skirt suggests a girl. The child on the left ia a boy wearing a sailor suit. We are not sure what the child on the right is wearing. It looks like a belted dress with a pleated skirt or perhaps a tunic. Also notice the two different caps. The snapshot is undated. We would guess that it was taken about 1920. Click on the image for a fuller discussion.

Cropped hair is primarily a boys' hair cut. The great majority of the children with cropped hair are boys. It is a good guess that a child with cropped hair was a boy. Not every child, however, with cropped hair is a boy. We assume that parents choosing cropped hair as a kind of fashion would have normallhy only chosen these cuts for boys. Fashion was not, however, the only reason. Another factor was sanitation. In the 19th and early 20th century when many people did not have modern bathrooms or even running water in the home, sanitation was a problem. This meant that people did not bathe as is now common. As a result, head lice could easily be transferred at school. This affected girls as well as boys. This could explain why some girls had their hair cropped. There could be other reasons. Our information here is still very limited.


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Created: October 10, 2003
Last edited: 3:23 AM 4/3/2006