Straight from the Glengarry Pioneer Museum photograph collection, the highlighted hairstyle chosen for this week is the 1920’s bob cut! Traditionally, women’s hair was kept long and feminine - this stayed a consistent trend until the rise of the first World War. Many women who began working more dangerous jobs – such as in munitions factories - were forced to keep their hair tied and often chose to cut their hair altogether. However, it was considered very serious business for a woman to ‘chop’ her hair and many faced social backlash from conservative families and husbands for the nontraditional look. Magazines such as “Ladies Home Journal” printed articles exploring the consequences of 'bobbing' ones hair. (see below).
Canadian-born American actress Mary Pickford, who did not bob her hair because of the pressure she felt from her family and her fans, said, “I could give a lengthy and, I think, convincing discourse about long hair making a woman more feminine, but there is some doubt in my mind as to whether it does or not. Of one thing I am sure: she looks smarter with a bob, and smartness rather than beauty seems to be the goal of every woman these days.”
These styles were soon picked up by stars of silent films and performers at the Opera causing the trend to reach women across the world – working or not. As women did not (and often could not) attend a barber shop to get their hair done many chose to perform these cuts at home – not always resulting in the desired look. Soon, barbers changed their policies to accommodate the demand for women’s hair cutting. Many women bypassed their local male barber and travelled long distances to find a salon for the perfect cut, paying $5 for the initial cut and then $2 for the weekly upkeep.