Short Hair Equals Maturity
A character has shorter hair as he becomes older.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-12-20 12:23:19 sponsor: 313Bluestreak (last reply: 2013-09-18 00:24:13)

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You have a character whose age range may be from preteen to young adulthood, and because of this, he has a long set of hair. He's may be seen as quite handsome or even badass. As the series progresses, he has become older and more mature. Another difference is that his hair is shorter than it was last time. Perhaps he got tired of it or maybe he's aging up a bit. If the hero doesn't mind having shorter hair, then that's his business.

This also applies to females if they are suddenly tired of their long hair. Younger female characters have long, flowing locks and it tends to be a sign of maturity for them to have it either cut shorter or tied upwards (in a more professional fashion). This is often why we normally see females, usually middle-aged women, are seen with their short hair.

This is often Truth in Television. For a certain reason why this happens to people is often a reflection of fashion. Long hair was fashionable for men from the late '60s through the '80s. If the character grew up during that time period, he would naturally have long hair when he was younger and abandon it when it fell out of fashion in the '90s.

An offscreen Time Skip version of Important Haircut. A subtrope to Expository Hairstyle Change

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Inverted in the Lyrical Nanoha series, where both Teana and Hayate grow their hair longer as their powers and responsibilities grow.

Film
  • In Tangled, Rapunzel cutting her hair represents her completely abandoning her life in the tower and becoming her own person (oh, and saving Flynn's life, too.)
  • White Oleander: Astrid chops her hair to shoulder-length. It's a metaphor for her loss of innocence and growing up.

Live-Action TV
  • On Bones when Zak Addy was about to get his doctorate, Cam tells him that he can't work there as an employee because she couldn't present him as an expert witness due to the way he presents himself (longish shaggy hair and baggy clothes). He goes to Angela for a makeover, which basically consists of a haircut and a new suit.
  • Captain Jean-Luc Picard came aboard the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation with very little hair to begin with, which diminished steadily as he grew more comfortable with the captaincy. Conversely, Commander Ryker began with clean-shaven boyish charm, growing steadily more serious as he Grew the Beard, literally.
  • NCIS: Gibbs' hair has become shorter and shorter over the course of the series; and the only recurring female character that has had short hair is Jenny, the oldest of the women.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Gabrielle cut her hair short. She used to have long fair, but then she had short boyish haircut even though it looked odd for the time period: Greek mythology times.

Professional Wrestling

Western Animation
  • In Young Justice, the fact that M'gann's hair has become significantly shorter is one of the first clues that a Time Skip has occured and that she is no longer The Cutie. Less obvious, but Artemis's hair also becomes shorter in this time period.
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