Rochelle vanderHelm–Staff Writer
Those born in the late 90s or later have probably only heard about the mullet from their parents or seen it in old yearbook photos of that mile-high hair paired with colorful, metallic eyeshadows and shoulder pads. They look at the photos and wonder who convinced Dad that a bi-level was a good idea.
Although the man-mullet gets most of the flack, with “historical” figures like David Bowie and TV heroes like MacGyver traipsing about in their aggressive bi-levels, there is also the femullet, a mullet for women deserves just as much attention.
“It was the 80’s,” said Rachel Wordes, a Junior Education major at Dordt. The 80’s were just like that.
But was it? The mullet has actually been around for quite some time. According to Linda Lacina, author of The Mullet Wasn’t Just An ’80s Thing: Rebels Have Rocked It for Centuries, perhaps the first reference to mullets in literature comes from the Illiad when Homer describes a group of spearmen, “their forelocks cropped, hair grown long at the backs.” Apparently, such a “do” made it harder for warriors to be caught by their hair while also protecting the neck from the sun and cold.
Lacina writes that gangs of Roman frat boys, fans of different chariot racing groups, would terrorize the streets in these hairstyles, “a senseless fashion” according to, Procopius, a 6th – century scholar.
“I like the idea of reclaiming things that are not viewed fondly,” said Sophia Marcus, a Junior Environmental Science major at Dordt. Marcus wears a shag, the slightly less aggressive cousin of the mullet, but is hoping to venture into a full-on mullet after growing her hair out some more.
“We’ll see what the summer brings,” Marcus said. Marcus describes herself as an artistic person, and she loves to see when young people now experiment with styles that teenagers from later decades would have worn.
“Fashion is a great way of expressing yourself day to day when you’re not actively making art,” Marcus said.
The mullet has always been something of a rebellious hairstyle, especially popular in the 80’s and 90’s rock scene. However, there is another major demographic that is drawn to the style.
Matthew Poling, a Freshman Agriculture major, has rocked a mullet for 3 years.
“I think it looks good with my cowboy swag. I love my mullet, especially after a fresh perm when it’s all nice and curly,” Poling said. Both Marcus and Poling remark how low-maintenance the style is.
“I like the fact of when I get my hair wet that I can dry it like a dog and just shake my head,” Poling said. Maybe this is what the 2001 film, Joe Dirt, meant by “business in the front, party in the back.”