North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is at it again, ordering the country’s long-haired citizens to cut their hair — in his own signature style.
When surveyed, 25% of women in the U.S. reported that they wanted to change their hairstyle to reinvent themselves. The new mandate put forth by Kim, however, doesn’t provide as much of a choice to North Koreans.
While North Korea has never been a state of freedom or unlimited choice, it used to have 28 approved haircuts from which citizens could select. Though narrow, North Koreans had at least a semblance of a choice.
According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper, North Korean authorities have recent issued an order that mandates men keep their hair to a maximum of 2 cm in length.
In addition to keeping their hair short, the authorities are additionally enforcing the styling of these short cuts, mandating that they copy Kim’s swept-back bouffant that contrasts in height with the shaved sides of his head above his ears.
And men aren’t the only ones whose coiffures are dictated by the state. Women of North Korea have been instructed to sport a bob similar to that of Sol-ju, Kim Jong-un’s wife. According to the paper, only performers are exempt from the new rule.
Since the rule went into effect, authorities have been diligent in enforcing the hair policy. Even on university campuses, student monitors are patrolling the grounds with scissors, ready to cut the hair of any unsuspecting long-haired offender.
Despite the new rules, Kim Jong-un’s hairstyle is anything but new. According to analysts, the style was borrowed from Kim Il-sung, the leader’s grandfather and the revered founder of North Korea.
Like his grandson, Kim Il-sing also favored swept back hairstyles, and there are many pictures of the old leader with Kim Jong-un’s newly mandated ‘do.
Some sources even suggest that Kim Jong-un may have even gotten plastic surgery in order to closely resemble his highly revered grandfather.