Does Women's Hair Grow Longer Than Men's Hair?
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With hair constantly in the news, I’ve been wondering again why long hair is usually perceived as a secondary sex characteristic.

The only cultures I can think of offhand where men wear their hair longer than women are two black ones: the famously photogenic Maasai of Kenya and Rastafarians of Jamaica.

My guess is that a lot of hubbub among black women over society’s attitudes toward their hair is caused by black hair being the shortest on average by far, which puts them at a disadvantage in competing with women of other races for men.

But among nonblacks, is the usual cultural preference for longer hair on women arbitrary or did the fashions emerge due to some natural difference in the average length of hair between the sexes?

For example, Peter Frost has documented that women tend to be a little more fair-skinned than men (as measured on the untanned inside of the upper arm) around the world, which is why English poets called them the fair sex. And that sets off a lot of culture-driven behavior by women to look fairer. Could something like this be going on with regard to hair length?

Back when the world wide web emerged in the 1990s, I saw the lecture notes online of a professor of physical anthropology who said that in a study (presumably of white students) where the participants did not get haircuts for a long, that the average man’s hair grew to be 16 inches long before falling out and the average woman’s hair grew to be 28″ long.

But I’ve never been able to find that again.

So, does anybody know?

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