This film is part of Free

Long-Haired Layabouts

Long hair gives impression of laziness

News 1964 4 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


TV reporter Clive Gunnell talks to boys about long hair, job prospects, fashion and interviews people who think boys with long hair are lazy and should get their hair cut. This film shows the generational divide of the early 1970s. The era was epitomised by Germaine Greer’s seminal feminist work The Female Eunuch (1970) and men’s masculinity was being questioned as the roles of both women and men changed. The sharp dressing and floppy short hairstyles of the sixties are over.

Young men wear their hair long rebelling against fashions that were anything but casual. Long hair with in some cases moustaches and sideburns are in and accompanied by high-waisted flares and open-necked shirts. As fashions change so do the icons with the long hair of Jim Morrison, Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix helping to change the definition of men. The long-haired generation is branded with the title of layabout with the implication being you will not get a job if you have long hair. By 1972 nine-year old Jimmy Osmond was telling us that he’d be our Long-haired Lover from Liverpool and long hair for men, revered in many cultures, becomes the accepted norm in Western culture.