One aspect of socialism that proponents rarely discuss is the tendency of a strong centralized government to mandate certain behaviors and even the appearance of its subjects, often crushing displays of individualism in favor of communal sameness.
Such is the case in the reclusive communist regime of North Korea, where the Kim Jong Un’s subjects live highly regimented lives and are compelled to act and look the same as everyone else. A Finnish reporter in country for the “Day of the Sun” celebration discovered it first-hand, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
While in Pyongyang for the birthday celebration parade honoring the nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung, reporter Mika Mäkeläinen decided to check on the veracity of the old rumor that North Koreans are only permitted to obtain one of about 15 approved haircuts, and he found evidence in a barbershop that would seemingly support such a claim.
“North Korean men can choose between 15 approved haircut styles. I had the most popular one — and it’s not like Kim Jong Un,” Mäkeläinen tweeted along with a picture hanging on the wall displaying the approved cuts.
— Mika Mäkeläinen (@Mikareport) April 14, 2017
Along with receiving the most popular hairstyle, Mäkeläinen also reported receiving the “best shave and head massage that I have ever had.”
Just two days later, Mäkeläinen checked out a women’s salon to see if the situation was the same there, and he was not disappointed, as he found a similar picture for women in the salon as he had found in the barbershop for men.
Mäkeläinen tweeted, “Equality in North Korea: Both sexes have 15 approved haircut models. You can forget about dyeing your hair though.”
— Mika Mäkeläinen (@Mikareport) April 16, 2017
To be sure, according to the U.K. Mirror, there are those who have disputed the notion that North Koreans are only permitted to obtain one of the approved hairstyles and no others, and insist that the pictures on the wall are only meant to simplify matters and provide examples of the most popular styles.
That said, the reports that the styles are indeed mandatory and not mere suggestions have persisted for years, as have reports that more Western-style appearances are heavily frowned upon, if not forcibly corrected by authorities against the individual’s will.
Such is socialism, and so it is in North Korea. Are you ready for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and his comrades to decide what sort of hairstyle you are permitted to choose from?
I’m not, thank you very much.
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