In the period between 1965 and 1967, a series of acts of violence took place against the Italian capelloni (young men with long hair). These attacks frequently ended with an attempted or actual cutting of these young men’s hair. This article analyses how these incidents were represented in newspapers, teen magazines, and in the short film Il Mostro della Domenica by Steno (Stefano Vanzina, 1968) featuring Totò. Drawing on literature about the shaving of French and Italian collaborationist women in the aftermath of the Second World War (Virgili 2002), it explores the potential gender anxieties caused by young men’s long hairstyles, as represented by the media. The attacks on the capelloni are interpreted as a punishment for the male appropriation of a traditionally feminine attribute of seduction: the cutting of young men’s hair symbolically reaffirmed an ideal of virile masculinity in a moment of ‘decline of virilism’ (Bellassai 2011) in Italian society.
- male hairstyles