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Traumatic Haircut

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Jewelry? Vast wardrobes? Footwear? Cosmetics? None of them are the most prized possessions for some societies and individuals; instead, it's... hair.

Whether it's good or evil, a person's hair comes to symbolize honor, social status, and otherwise serves as a human peacock tail, representing a life rather than a fashion statement. Hair is not merely a possession or a symbol, but a part of a person's physical body. Thusly, having it forcibly cut off isn't just a minor fashion faux pas, but akin to rape; and is likened to having your life stolen from you.

From another view, a forced haircut serves as the symbolic initiation of worse things to come. To women, this may be traumatic due to the belief that Long Hair Is Feminine.

A minor subtrope involves having long hair being the source of a hero's powers, or rather, commitment to obey God's command for you personally not to cut it. In modern tales, it can be an emotional anchor that when cut off renders a hero vulnerable and powerless.

Compare Important Haircut, where it is often self-induced to indicate a change in values or goals, and Expository Hairstyle Change for when there is any hairstyle change that also indicates a change in character. See also Scars are Forever and Beauty to Beast for the grisly body part version, as well as the milder and more comedic version, Nobody Touches the Hair. If this gets Played for Laughs, then it's a Gag Haircut though it does overlap with this since it can still be traumatic for the character. Might come up if the story touches upon The Topic of Cancer.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan's Spin-Off manga centered on Levi, he once finds out that his ill-fated younger sister Isabel has been beaten up and had one of her Girlish Pigtails hacked off. Levi gets so pissed off that he goes out, looks for the culprits and murders them.
  • Played for Laughs in Azumanga Daioh. As their third year in high school starts, Chiyo-chan spots Tomo with short hair, having spent their first two years with shoulder-length hair. Worried that she might have had a falling out with a boyfriend, she asks Yomi... who busts a gut over it. Tomo explains that her lofty ideas for beauty were a little too high and she just wanted something shorter.
  • In Basilisk, Yashamaru gets his long hair cut off during a battle. The same one where he actually dies.
  • Happens in the opening of Beauty Pop, where a group of boys bully a girl by cutting her hair and calling her "ugly". After the boys are gone, Kiri steps in and offers to give the girl some "magic". The next day, the boys see the girl with her pretty, new haircut, and blush.
  • Bleach:
    • During junior high (and before her brother's death), Orihime used to be tormented by other girls who cut her long reddish brown hair since they didn't like it. After Tatsuki saved her, Orihime vowed never to cut her hair again as a symbol of their friendship.
    • Ayasegawa Yumichika's attack on Charlotte Cuulhuorne's hair is enough to make Charlotte go to his released form, despite already dominating the fight. It's implied Yumichika did it deliberately in an attempt to make Charlotte release sooner rather than later — it worked. It's also a call back to Yumichika's fight with Ganju, who knew he was weaker and less skilled than Yumichika so tossed a firework at Yumichika's hair which won him the fight... because the very vain Yumichika was left with a Funny Afro (he uses a wig to cover it up).
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: The evil Empire's plot was to shave everyone's head bald, though this is played for laughs.
  • In Boys over Flowers after main character Tsukushi Makino gets kidnapped by Junpei Oribe his accomplices cut a huge chunk of her hair off as proof they have her to give Tsukasa Domyouji in order to lure him into a trap since they wanted to beat him up because of things he did in the past. The cut and her mother's well-intentioned but awkward attempt to fix it leaves Tsukushi looking terrible, until Rui manages to cut it in a more manageable way.
  • A very young (read: no older than 12) Sylia Stingray gets her head shaved fully bald in the flashbacks of Bubblegum Crisis 2040, per her Mad Scientist father's orders; it's to subject her to brain surgery, which provided Dr. Stingray with the material and data that would ultimately create the future Big Bad of the series, Galatea. Later, little Sylia has a pixie-like cut and a bandage on her head, and when seen as an adult she's let it grow past her shoulders.
  • The manga version of Chrono Crusade shows that Chrono's hair was worn long as a child up until a battle right after what would have been his coming-of-age ceremony. During the battle his hair is burned off to the shorter, jagged cut that he wears the rest of the time (in his true form). It seems pretty symbolic of Chrono losing his innocence, particularly since the battle marks the start of the trauma that eventually leads to him becoming a Failure Knight, if not downright developing PTSD (it's also worth noting that when he meets Rosette and Joshua in his Sleep-Mode Size, his previously short hair has grown long again, possibly hinting that he regains some of his innocence by spending time with the children).
  • In Claymore, Clare and Teresa were both originally proud of their long, black hair. The process used to give them their powers turns their hair platinum blonde. Clare also is forced to cut her hair during training. Also, Clare accidentally cuts off a lock of Galataea's hair while rescuing her from Agatha, who's holding Galataea hostage. Much indignation ensues.
  • A Condition Called Love: In middle school, Hotaru's then best friend hacked off her long hair in a fit of jealousy over rumors that there was something going on between her crush Yao and Hotaru. In flashbacks, we see the calmly cheery Hotaru become withdrawn and closed off after the event. She realizes later on she has kept her hair short and shied away from dating and romance out of a subconscious fear of ending up in a similar situation. Once she starts getting comfortable with Hananoi and her own feelings of love for him, she slowly allows her hair to grow out.
  • One of the stories in Confidential Confessions has a teacher who forcibly cuts the hair of a female student before proceeding to strip her off her uniform and slut shaming her... leading her to run away and throw herself in front of a train!
  • A Cruel God Reigns: Jeremy's hair is partially cut off by some of the other students at an alternative school he attempts to attend while he is working as a prostitute with Cass after returning to Boston. This is particularly traumatizing because the other students cut it off while attempting to sexually assault him, which Jeremy does NOT handle well, considering his Rape as Backstory and understandable Hates Being Touched.
  • D.Gray-Man:
    • Lenalee's long, beautiful hair is destroyed (leaving it boyishly short) after her battle with the Level 3 Akuma. She does begin to regrow it, and to the point that it reaches shoulder length.note  However, she was never shown being distressed by the fact her hair was cut. It also technically counts as an Important Haircut as she discovers the depths of her resolve.
    • A funny example is the fact that Allen and Kanda threaten to shave the other's head. During a sparring practice they wagered their hair on the outcome.
  • In Deadman Wonderland, Scar Chain manages to rig the slot machines so that Minatsuki doesn't have to lose any body organs, just cut her hair short.
  • In chapter 43 of Desire Climax Hayato does this to Mio after kidnapping her, cutting her long hair shorter.
  • In Dokuhime, the protagonist suffers this after she's revealed to be a "Poison Princess"; saying that prisoners have no need of long hair, the man she was sent to kill hacks her long hair off, leaving it uneven.
  • The Eminence in Shadow: When Rose Oriana joins Shadow Garden, her trainer Lambda tells her to give up everything from her former life and destroys all of her clothes and possessions. In the anime version, Lambda cuts off most of her long hair as well.
  • Eureka indirectly suffers this in episode 19 of Eureka Seven by the Scab Coral.
  • In the manga version of Flame of Recca, Mikagami cuts Yanagi's hair after telling her about his dead sister (who she looks very much like, and apparently looks even more like with her hair short). Recca gets royally pissed, and brings up the hair=life comparison during the fight that ensues.
  • In the Fruits Basket manga, Akito administers one to Isuzu/Rin, since said hair bears an unfortunate resemblance to that of Akito's mother.
  • Played for Laughs in Fullmetal Alchemist: Alphonse Elric has the long hair from his helmet torn off after being tangled up to Buccaneer's Automail during their first fight. Alphonse becomes distressed of that and comments how horrible his "hair" looks now.
  • Katsura from Gintama has his hair cut off to be used as a trophy after apparently being killed by an assassin in the Benizakura arc. It eventually grows back.
  • In GTO: The Early Years, a barber accidentally shaves Eikichi's head (with its elaborate Delinquent Hair) right before a date.
  • Played for Laughs in Hajime no Ippo by Mamoru Takamura. He strikes a deal with Masaru Aoki and Tatsuya Kimura that if they don't win, they get their hair cut in a similar manner to their opponents, Papaya Daichi and Eleki Battery, respectively. Aoki and Kimura proceed to tie with both, and not win. Aoki gets it especially rough (with his hair cut to a hilariously tiny afro), but Kimura is spared any hair cuts after Coach Kamogawa interferes and beats everyone in the gym to a pulp with his cane for goofing around.
  • A subversion occurs in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple during a Master Class fight between Shigure and Kii Kagerou. Shigure manages to cut Kagerou's hair with her katana; at first Kagerou looks genuinely pissed by the feat, only to reveal moments later that he was in fact kidding and that he doesn't mind his loss at all.
  • In Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Muska shot off each of Sheeta's braids as a threat.
    Dola: There's nothin' worse than having your pigtails shot off!
  • Life is Money: The ultimate cause of Utsuromiya's death is when the killer puts her in front of a mirror and cuts her hair. As a trans girl deeply dysphoric about her body and unable to afford surgery, her long hair was one of the only things about her that she felt was feminine, so having it cut causes her so much mental anguish that she passes the threshold needed for the mental over system to kill her.
  • In episode 6 of the anime adaptation of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!, despite claiming it as the only way to apologize Isshiki actually doesn't want to go bald. However, Nibutani demands he goes through with it. Isshiki does, but isn't happy at all. Especially considering he had to deal with being bald for the past three years, and fears he will end up Prematurely Bald like his father.
  • Naruto:
    • In the Chunin Exam arc, the main trio is attacked by a team of Sound Genin. The attacking kunoichi has Sakura by a fistful of her hair, and quips about how pretty her hair is and that if she "spent more time training and less time shampooing", then she wouldn't be in this situation (Sakura had grown it out to make herself more attractive to Sasuke). Angrily, Sakura grabs a knife and chops it off herself to get away, having Ino tidy it up later.
    • Ino chops her hair off while fighting Sakura, seemingly in a fit of rage. In reality, she was setting up a trap by channeling chakra through the hair to pin Sakura. Hers was still left long enough to tie up, as she only cut past her hair tie, and she wore it in a short ponytail or covered bun until the timeskip where unlike Sakura, she regrew it.
    • During an anime-only arc in Shippuden this is exaggerated with a kunoichi named Fūka, who is very protective of her long red hair. When Naruto confronts her, he accidentally cuts off a small portion of it in the ensuing fight, leading her to become enraged and calmly explain how many years it took her to grow and how important hair is to woman before screaming he will pay for it. Though then it turns out her reaction was justified when it is revealed her hair acts as a Soul Jar that stores all the alternate bodies she stole, even containing her own life force, and thus even the smallest damage to it will result in the death of at least one of her bodies. Naruto figures this out in their second fight and uses it to his advantage, yanking out a huge chunk of her hair when he gets the chance.
  • Subverted in the Arlong arc of One Piece: Hachi receives a Close-Call Haircut in a swordfight, and howls with rage...for two seconds until he shrugs, saying it's just hair and it'll grow back. But later played straight with Brook in the Thriller Bark arc: a zombie powered by his shadow threatens to cut his Funny Afro, and Brook panics, since it can't grow back, and he needs it for Laboon to recognize him.
  • In Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Iemitsu, frustrated by her imprisonment and situation, orders her retainer to go out into the streets and chop off women's hair. This was likely inspired by Iemitsu's own Traumatic Haircut, which happened not long after being kidnapped and forced to pose as her father.
  • In the Peach Girl manga Momo is bullied by a trio of Kairi's fangirls. They tell her that she doesn't deserve Kairi and force her to the ground while holding a lighter to her hair, telling her unless she signs a treaty (saying that she'll stay away from Kairi) then they'll burn all her hair off. Thankfully, Kairi rescues her, but not before the girls manage to singe a bit of Momo's hair.
  • In Phantom Thief Jeanne, Fynn's background story involves one and is justified. An angel's hair contains their spiritual power and if a lot of it is cut at once, like it happened when a greedy priest wanted the power in Fynn's hair and cut it off to the familiar short hair with the two long strands in front, the power releases at once and overloads, causing something like an explosion that can kill people.
  • Happens to Jessie in an episode of Pokémon: The Original Series where a Scyther chops it off and she spends the rest of the episode trying to get revenge. The end of the episode has a Scyther give her and James involuntary mohawks. Arceus help you if you damage Jessie's hair. She's been known to attack snakes larger than herself with her bare hands for this offense — and not only win, but 'capture it in a Poké Ball.
  • In Princess Mononoke, Ashitaka is forced to cut his top knot as part of his exile from his tribe. This is made more painful since he is their last prince and must leave because he's been cursed to turn into a demon, presenting a threat to the whole village. He cuts the knot himself, and, while upset, is very stoic about the whole affair; the village elders, who have to watch, are mired in despair and several of them start sobbing as soon as the deed's done. It is never once even implied that he should commit suicide though, probably because no one expects him to survive for much longer anyway.
  • In Punch Line, bullies at Ito's school put gum in her hair then cut her hair. This and other things done by bullies caused her to quit school.
  • Ranma ˝:
    • Akane's accidental haircut courtesy of both Ranma and Ryoga, which doubles as Close-Call Haircut since she got it cut by a boomerang thrown by Ryoga when she was trying to protect Ranma from him. Both Ranma and Ryoga start apologizing profusely, expecting a Megaton Punch or the like, but Akane was remarkably calm about it. Turns out she only had long hair to begin with to impress Dr. Tofu. Now, if her hair had been cut before she gave up the crush on the older man, heads would've rolled. Not that it stopped her from giving both Ranma and Ryoga a slap before she left, though both of them told her to hit them in between the apology round. Since Ranma isn't aware of Akane's reasons to keep her hair long, after it gets hacked off he blurts out "B-but it's just hair, why would she be THAT angry?"; then one of Akane's school friends harshly rebukes him, saying that "a woman's hair is her life". Only then Ranma and Ryoga realize that it was a bigger deal than they thought and start to apologize. Akane herself explains her reasons to Ranma a little later.
    • We're introduced to principal Kuno, the father of Tatewaki, whose weapon of choice is a pair of hair clippers. We learn that in previous times, his favorite obsession was shaving his son bald (an obsession still burning, and one that now affects all the students in the school), and this is something that has left deep scars in Tatewaki's heart. Traumatic haircut indeed.
  • Both played straight and parodied in the The Rose of Versailles manga; first parodied with André's reluctance to cut his hair for a disguise (and Oscar's mockery of him for this), later played much more tragically with the imprisoned and condemned to death row former Queen Marie Antoinette.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Usagi almost goes through one during the 90's anime. When Mamoru is first almost killed and then taken away by Queen Beryl, which also triggers the revelation that Usagi is the Moon Princess and he is Prince Endymion, she's so distraught over it that Minako suggests a clean slate, including chopping off her trademark locks. note  While Minako has good intentions and is genuinely trying to help, it's also seen that Usagi is reeling from the intense emotions and not exactly in the mental state to go through such a drastic change in her looks. However, the Monster of the Week appears where they were going to head to and puts the kibosh on that idea... via forcibly transforming the stylist and her assistants into monsters with a clear hair stylist motif, which try to cut the hairs of Moon and Venus as they fight. For worse, that's the episode where Usagi sees that Mamoru is now Brainwashed and Crazy.
    • In the manga and in Sailor Moon Crystal, this is played differently. After the same revelations, Usagi locks herself in her room for at least two days. When the others get in, they see it's because her already super long hair is growing to immense speed and volume, and she's had to invoke the trope and continuously hack it off.
  • A Running Gag in Shaman King depicted Ryu getting his epic pompadour damaged and mangled via having it sliced either vertically or horizontally, sometimes even while it was growing back, and forcing him to settle with different hairstyles each time. He would often react to this as if he'd been physically struck. The gag comes to an end in volume 11, where his new "boomerang" hairstyle is cut off for the last time as he epically styles the remainder of his hair into a shorter, but equally glorious pompadour.
  • After spending club funds with which he had been entrusted, Eguchi Yousuke of Shounan Bakusouzoku swears he will shave off his pompadour if he can't pay the money back. Eguchi's pompadour is very Serious Business.
  • Maya Natsume in Tenjho Tenge while fighting against Emi Isuzu.
  • Keiko's haircut early in YuYu Hakusho is treated like this: Yusuke's house caught on fire, and being aware that he couldn't come back to life if his body was destroyed, Keiko barged in to save him. Despite Yusuke's protests, Koenma offers to save them both for a price. When the deed is done, Koenma reveals that, in return for them to be saved, he had to take something away from her body, which scares Yusuke off his pants, thinking she had lost an arm or a leg. When he realizes the fire had just singed the tips of Keiko's hair and she had to cut it short, Yusuke is pissed at Koenma because he made him think such terrible things.

    Comic Books 
  • In one of the opening scenes of the 198 miniseries, the mutant Lorilei has her long pink tresses hacked off by mutant-haters.
  • Lex Luthor. Yup, Pre-Crisis Lex Luthor's original reason for turning evil was that, whilst he and Superboy were friends, one accident causes Lex Luthor... To lose all of his hair prematurely! "Oh no, my life is ruined! I'll get you for this, Superboy!" It's not nearly that simple. Lex had just created living matter in the lab, and with it he was preparing a treatment to immunize his friend Superboy to Kryptonite. A lab fire and Superboy's precipitate action to extinguish it destroyed the matter, and the fumes rendered Luthor bald. He resented both, but the destruction of his artificial life and the kryptonite cure were what really unbalanced Lex (and maybe all those weird fumes had something to do with it...).
  • The Mighty Thor:
    • Karnilla the Norn Queen, sometimes foe and sometimes the helpful lover of his half-brother Balder, was abducted by giants to lure Balder into a death trap, and as part of her imprisonment her hair was hacked off to little longer than a buzz cut (along with her being forced into rags as a scullery maid). Oddly for this trope, the cutting isn't shown beyond a panel of a lock of her long hair being held up to a knife, it's already done by the next panel. Odder still is the fact that she clearly hates her circumstances but seems to give no thought to her haircut, to the point of it never being mentioned by her or Balder when they're reunited—perhaps to emphasize the tenderness of the once famously handsome, now white-haired and paunchy Balder and his ragged, shorn, formerly glamorous lady-love not caring that they're both a sorry sight compared to their old selves and just being happy to see each other again.
    • Thor's own girlfriend Sif cared a lot when Loki shaved her head in a deliberate ploy to make her less attractive to Thor. Sif had the last laugh, though—Thor liked her new hair, which turned black after Loki backed out on paying the dwarves who made it out of gold, better than he'd ever liked her old blonde locks, and found her even more strikingly beautiful than before.
  • In Muties, Ankhi lost all of her hair overnight when her mutation first manifested itself. This was the beginning of her downward spiral into drug addiction.
  • A modern Superman comic had Joker show up with a chemical which causes mass hysteria because... it makes them bald.
  • Valhalla has a number of examples, both from Norse myth and comic-specific.
    • The first and most obvious is Loki's cutting of Sif's hair, which led to him being forced to replace it by Thor, and having the dwarves Brokk and Sindri forge new hair of pure gold for her, along with several other magical items.
    • Played for laughs when Tjalve thinks he's getting one, but is in fact just overreacting to a slight hairstyle change.
    • When Tyr gets his hair cut short, he acts like this. Originally it's played for laughs, but when it becomes apparent he was using his hair to cover his pointy ears which identify him as a Jotun, it very quickly stops being funny.
  • X-23 normally has long and flowing black hair that reaches well below her shoulders, but when she first appears in All-New X-Men she's completely bald; likely due to either having her face melted off by Hazmat on Murderworld, or whatever it was the Purifiers did to her afterwards. However in a nice touch by the artists, her hair grows back out to its normal length over the course of her attempt to escape from Cyclops's Weapon X base and subsequent conversation with O5 Scott. Overlaps subtly with Expository Hairstyle Change; Laura is suffering severe Trauma-Induced Amnesia while bald, and her hair growing back out coincides with her memories returning and shaking off her confusion over meeting the time-displaced O5.
  • In a very special issue of Young Justice, Traya, the Bialyan-born adopted daughter of Red Tornado, was subjected to a traumatic haircut by racist classmates at her boarding school, ostensibly to avenge a classmate who lost her parents in a terrorist attack in Bialya. The classmate was horrified by this, and later offered to let Traya borrow one of her favorite hats while she waited for her hair to grow back.
  • New Warriors: Sea Urchin does this to Namorita after defeating her in their first fight. He likens it to how white people once scalped Native Americans.

    Comic Strips 
  • There were two The Far Side cartoons involving a sheep was being sheared right before a big date. (Larson claims he had a history of bad haircuts when he was a kid.)

    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Little Mermaid, the title character's sisters all trade their long, beautiful hair to the Sea Witch for a chance to save her, similar to how the Little Mermaid had to trade her tongue to become human in the first place.
  • Rapunzel. This was a deliberate attempt by the evil old crone to rob Rapunzel of the ability to snag herself a man. In some versions, the crone did it when the Prince was using Rapunzel's hair to climb up her tower... he falls off and gets subjected to Eye Scream.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Babylon 5 fanfic Amphetamine Logic, Emperor Cartagia cuts off all of Londo's hair in front of the court to humiliate him and strip him of his high social status. Londo later mentions that even being publicly castrated wouldn't have been as bad, and all the onlookers are horrified as well.
  • In The Call at Night, Doof-2 forcefully cuts Isabella's hair. In a strange play on this trope, it's explicitly stated that it's not the haircut itself that's traumatic; it's what it represents: Isabella's complete loss of control of her life at the hands of someone who will do absolutely anything to her and her friends if it gets him what he wants.
  • It's popular Crimson Peak fanon that this happened to Lucille when she was institutionalized as a teenager. Fics often also mention her floor-length hair at time of canon being a private Take That! to the asylum staff who abused her.
  • In The Professionals fanfic Discombobulate, Doyle is rescued from where he is being tortured. On the way out his partner notices that his hair had been shaved. In the sequel 'Scars', Doyle refers to the incident with 'why that was one of the worst things they'd done to him he couldn't explain.' Considering his kidnappers used electric torture, starvation and drowning to convince him to talk it must have been pretty traumatic.
  • In Draw a Circle: That's Your Soul, a couple of guards force one upon the kidnapped China — it's strongly implied they wanted to molest him but when they realized the pretty "lady" had a penis, they hacked his ponytail off to make easier to tell the difference. Even with the reassurance that his hair will grow back, China still has nightmares about the experience.
  • Dreamland University Redux: During one of their fights, Nightmare hacks Meta Knight's long hair off with a kitchen knife. This comes after Nightmare had already tossed Meta Knight around and it's noted that Meta Knight had been working on growing it out for a while.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: When captured by the Unraveller of Mysteries, Ami gets her head forcibly shaved in preparation for what amounts to a lobotomy. The haircut itself was not traumatic, but what was happening around it was very much so. Ami only escapes because the Unraveller of Mysteries was detained by Crowned Death when he realized that Ami had been captured. A close shave indeed.
  • This happens to Lynn in A Second Chance, after accidentally getting darted by a distilled version of a Psycho Serum made by Lisa, with one of the side effects being hair loss. This causes all the hair on Lynn’s scalp to fall off, forcing her to wear a beanie for the last quarter of the fic, with Lori eventually yanking it off her head while trying to give her a dunce cap (after Lynn got burned during a trivia quiz), resulting in all the sisters learning Lynn’s embarrassing secret and mocking her for it. In No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, Lisa makes it up to her by creating a hair-growing ointment, which results in Lynn getting Boyish Short Hair.
  • Cao Cao gets not one, but two (self-inflicted) bad haircuts in Farce of the Three Kingdoms.
  • Fate Kaleid Prisma Taylor: Taylor Hebert gets kidnapped by the Slaughterhouse Nine and wakes up to find Bonesaw had shaved her head. She laments losing the hair that resembled her deceased mother.
  • In the Fate/Zero fic Fate: King's Rage, Artoria Pendragon is summoned as Berserker. At one point, she hires a prostitute, but since she's insane, she forcefully cuts the woman's hair to resemble Mordred before beating and abusing her.
  • In Chapter 15 of the Ranma ˝ fanfic After the Fall of Giants, Shampoo subjects herself to one (shaving all her hair off) after learning that she is the reason the Amazons were wiped out in Chi's timeline.
  • In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld-set tale Gap Year Adventures, Mariella Smith-Rhodes is inducted into her country's Army for conscript service and, like the other thirty-odd girls in Recruit Platoon Twenty-Three, is shorn of a lifetime's locks. She takes this philosophically, reflecting that it's going to be easier to manage and will make service in the jungle less sweaty and unpleasant.
  • In the Animorphs fanfic Ghost in the Shell, Jean says that her Yeerk cut her hair short. It's Played for Laughs as part of her embarrassing attempts at small talk, but a major theme throughout the fic is ex-hosts recovering from the trauma of having their bodily autonomy stolen from them.
  • In The Guise of Family Harry's uncle uses a beard trimmer to shave him bald and ties him to the chair when he tries to escape.
  • In Harry Potter and Defeating Dark Lords, Inc Lavender is sent to a nunnery in Ireland as punishment for spreading malicious gossip about Harry and his friends. She screams when her head is shaved shortly after admission.
  • On Episode 39 of the Professional Wrestling series The JWL, The Strangernote  tried giving one to X-Pac. In this case, it wasn't that The Stranger cost X-Pac his hair as it was the unexpected nature of the attack.
  • The WWE story, A New Beginning has Michelle McCool getting her head shaved after a hair-vs.-hair Extreme Makeover match against her former BFF, Layla. Making it even more traumatic was the fact that Michelle won the match!
  • One of Cori Falls' Pokémon: The Series fics, based on the above-mentioned Scyther episode, took this to the extreme; Jessie was so traumatized about her hair getting cut off that not only did she threaten to kill herself over it, but she also threw all of her hair-care products and accessories into a lake. The way she was acting, you'd think she thought her hair was never going to grow back, ever. (James wasn't too happy about his bad haircut, either, but he did not go to the extremes that Jessie did.)
  • Queen of All Oni:
    • After Right defeats Viper in their first one-on-one fight, he shaves off most of her hair as a trophy and as a reminder that he could have killed her if he truly wanted to. And, as it turns out, Jade needed the hair for some kind of ritual.
    • Happens to her again in the following chapter, when Ratso and Chow take her hostage and Chow shaves off some of her hair with a warning strike of his electro-sword.
    • And finally, when Jade abducts her for said ritual, she's shaved bald completely, so that Jade can paint symbols on her scalp.
  • In The Return-Remixed, Victoria gives Molly Holly one when the members of DEAR think Molly has been helping the Diva Army, as part of an Interrogated for Nothing scenario.
  • The pro wrestling fic, A Ring of Their Own, has several instances of this in the FWF, in the form of hair-vs.-hair matches. Throughout the story, Molly Holly is depicted as still traumatized from the head shaving she got at WrestleMania 20 even though it was six years ago!
    • The first one involved Michelle McCool, after losing to her former Team Lay Cool sidekick, Layla. To atone for her behavior while she was with Michelle, Layla lets Beth Phoenix and Mickie James shave Michelle's head. Afterwards, Michelle quits the company - but returns later.
    • The second involved Trish Stratus. Trish and Victoria were slated to headline the FWF's first pay-per-view, but Victoria felt defeating Trish in the ring wasn't enough - she had to be humbled and humiliated, so asked for a hair vs. hair match. After losing the match, Trish cried while her hair was shaved off, but the fans cheered for her anyway.
    • Inverted in the third and last head shaving, after Victoria lost an epic match to Molly Holly. Victoria, having finally found the missing element of her career (that one great match everyone will talk about), considered the head shaving a rebirth, as she announced her retirement as an active wrestler shortly afterwards, to become Commissioner of the FWF.
  • Downplayed in Rocketship Voyager. Captain Janeway has a You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me! response when she's about to be assimilated by the Psiborg Collective, and the first thing they do is hold her down and start shaving her hair (so they can put a encephalo-adjuster cap on her head). Afterwards she grouchily wonders if being a bald captain might start a trend.
  • It didn't actually happen onscreen, but in one scene in Shadowchasers: Torment where Ben and Dugan are talking about Dugan's days in the Marines, Dugan (who has been naturally bald all his life) says that he was a helpful guy to have around when new recruits were getting military haircuts. All he'd have to do if a recruit was reluctant was point to his own bald head and say, "Easy kid, yours will grow back."
  • Defied in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Shorn in which Rarity refused to shave her mane as an acolyte to a monastery.
  • Sins Of the Father: Edward cuts Hohenheim's ponytail as he publicly kicks his father out of the family and strips him of his name. Hohenheim says afterward that he would have rather been beaten.
  • In the The Hunger Games fanfiction Some Semblance of Meaning, Achilles grabs Vale during his fight with Obsidian and holds his sword to her neck. When Obsidian tells him that he'd better not harm a hair on her head... Achilles takes a fistful of Vale's hair and slices it right off.
  • In A Sometimes Senseless World (A Bill & Ted fanfic), Ted, while imprisoned by DeNomolos and losing his senses, gets some of his hair cut off by a drunken guard.
  • In Star Wars vs Warhammer 40K, Quinlan Vos had his dreadlocks forcibly shaved off as part of the Cold-Blooded Torture that he endured during his time as Tahr Whyler's captive.
  • In Maybe Sprout Wings: Dean is traumatized by his memories of having his head shaved when he was first sold into slavery, and the sound of hair clippers turn out to be a trigger for him.
  • In A Footnote on the Subject of Tribbles it's mentioned that the Klingons mistook Kirk's Dodgy Toupee for a tribble. Outraged over this insult, they rioted and forcibly shaved the hair of a young ensign called Picard.

    Films — Animation 
  • George Sanderson from Monsters, Inc. is known for his tendency to get certain objects that originally belonged to human children (such as socks) onto his fur, and since all the other monsters think that making contact with children's belongings is deadly to them, poor George actually has to have all of his fur shaved off just for his safety (and he's not very happy about it). Fortunately, his fur grows back at the end of the film.
  • Tangled naturally features this, being an adaptation of Rapunzel, but there's a twist: at the end of the movie, it's Flynn who cuts Rapunzel's hair. Her hair has magic properties that heal the wounded and make the old young again (why Gothel kidnapped her in the first place), but it loses its power if it's cut. When the villain stabs him, Rapunzel vows to stay with her forever if she'll be allowed to heal Flynn, who has been mortally wounded. By taking the option of cutting her hair before she does so, Flynn releases Rapunzel from the oppressive mother figure she's been stuck with for 18 years, knowing full well that he'll die as a result. (He gets better, as the last bits of healing magic that remain and Rapunzel's tears are good enough to save him.)

    Films — Live-Action 
  • .45: When Big Al beats up Kat, he bends her over the couch and hacks her hair off with a pair of kitchen shears. This actually upsets her more than the physical damage she sustains.
  • 3,096 Days: Natascha Kampusch, who is being held captive by Wolfgang Priklopil, is forced to have her hair shaved off by him after his mother discovers one of her long blonde hairs on his sweater.
  • Amy And Isabelle: The mother Isabelle discovers that her daughter Amy had slept with her teacher and suffers a momentary breakdown because she had also slept with an older man as a teenager and that man got her pregnant with Amy. In a fit of rage she hacks off Amy's beautiful long curly hair. Later near the end of the movie she takes her to the hairdressers to have it tidied up.
  • Beauty Shop: Prime example being the Break the Haughty climax. Comes complete with Screams Like a Little Girl.
  • Bent: As is custom for the prisoners in concentration camps, Max has his stylish hair shaved off.
  • Boyhood: The boy-protagonist suffers mentally after having gotten his long hair cut short by his abusive step-dad.
  • The Boys in Company C highlights the induction haircuts the boys have to get at boot camp. As it's The '60s, most have either long hair or afros, and look on in horror as they see how short it's going to be cut. One boy with long blonde hair and a beard is nicknamed 'Jesus' by the drill sergeant, and the barber is told to do "a special number" on him. They're all left with very short crew cuts.
  • The Brady Bunch Movie: Jealous Jan dreamt about cutting Marcia's hair in her sleep. Unfortunately for Jan, Marcia still looked nice afterward, so her ego didn't get damaged at all.
  • Caged: In this Girls Behind Bars film, Matron Harper threatens this as punishment for any severe infractions (notably against the wishes of the Reasonable Authority Figure). After Marie is found hiding a kitten in her room, she's punished by having all her long hair shaved off. It marks the point where she gets completely broken from the doe-eyed good girl she was when she entered prison.
  • Charlie's Angels (2000): The "Creepy Thin Guy" does this, as he has a thing for ripping out the hair with his bare hands and sniffing them.
  • The Crying Game: Dil. The last thing she wants to be is a boy again. The only way Dil agrees is that Fergus insists that he's doing it for love; she still cries as her hair is cut.
    Fergus: Do anything for me?
    Dil: Anything... [Fergus starts to cut her hair] NO WAY!
    Fergus: You said anything.
    Dil: Girl has to draw the line somewhere.
  • Curly Sue: When the title character is put temporarily into foster care, they hack off a large portion of her long curly hair. Upon being reunited with the woman who had previously been caring for her, she breaks down crying. (She's sobbing about the entire ordeal, but it's discussing the forced haircut that sets her off.)
  • The Devils: Right before he is tortured into confessing, Grandier has his hair all cut off as well as his beard and eyebrows shaved. Oliver Reed went through with it for real - having grown facial hair to hide a scar he got in a bar fight. Right before Grandier's hair is cut, he asks for a mirror so he can look at himself one last time.
  • Drumline: The talented but arrogant freshman Devon fails to memorize the band's rulebook, which requires shaving his head as punishment. Devon nearly quits the band rather than give up his cornrows, but he shows up at a party later that night with his hair combed out and electric trimmer in hand, as the first sign of character growth.
  • Elizabeth: The film opens with Protestant “heretics” having their heads brutally shaved before being burned at the stake on orders of Queen Mary Tudor.
  • Firefighter: Dramatizes the story of Cindy Fralick, the first woman firefighter on the Los Angeles County Fire Department. After passing all the written and physical tests, she's informed that her hair does not meet the health and safety standards (which were of course written for men). After the first haircut, her superiors rule that it's still too long. After the next cut, she cries that she looks like a boy now.
  • Five Branded Women: Sees the five eponymous women punished for sleeping with a German soldier by having their hair cut off and exiled from their village. Four out of the five leads went through with it in real life too.
  • Flowers in the Attic: Plays the trope normally; the grandmother knocks Cathy unconscious and screams "You are a sinner!" before hacking off her hair with a comically vast pair of scissors.
  • From Hell: Ann Crook has a beautiful crown of blonde curly hair. It's cut off in a mental hospital right before she's lobotomised.
  • Frontier(s): The lead heroine has her hair cut by a little girl, who belongs to a ritualistic, depraved family of Nazis... and it only gets worse from there.
  • Full Metal Jacket: US Marine recruits are forcibly shaved when they arrive at basic training.
  • The Girl In The Kremlin: Famous for a scene in which one girl prisoner has her whole head shaved on camera. This is apparently based off rumours that Josef Stalin had a fetish for hair-cutting. Actress Natalia Darrell got a $300 bonus for going through with the shaving.
  • The Grudge 2: Allison has a self-inflicted version when she cuts off most of her hair while sobbing in fear after Kayoko uses people's own hair to envelop them during her hauntings.
  • Hairspray (1988): Has Velma Von Tussle lose the top part of her hair after a bomb prematurely detonates after Tracy Turnblad wins the Miss Auto pageant.
  • Harakiri: Played on the shame side as an important thing, where Tsugomo hunts down his cowardly enemies and defeats them only to cut off their topknots and later show them to their feudal lord. It works. The scene is also meant to mirror the discussion of scalping earlier in the film, so the message becomes rather anvilicious. Somewhat justified as in feudal Japan only monks, who made a vow of poverty, shaved their hair. To be bald was therefore to display a lack of status and wealth.
  • Hiroshima Mon Amour: During the Extended Flashback that takes up most of the film's length, the female protagonist (who is French) describes how her head was forcibly shaved as punishment for an affair with a German soldier during World War II.
  • Hitcher In The Dark: Daniela (Josie Bisset) is drugged by the man she's getting a lift from and wakes up to find he has cut off all of her beautiful long blonde hair and also dyed it brown so that she now looks more like his mother.
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: The implied reason why Johanna Mason is bald upon being rescued from the Capitol.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer: The killer cuts off some of Helen's hair while she's asleep. The next scene has her wearing a cap to hide it, but it's been tidied up by the time she rides in the parade.
  • Ink: Occurs when Liev gets one from Sadie.
  • In The Army Now: Pauly Shore screams after seeing his Army-issue haircut. He had previously tried to haggle the barber to keep it long and believed his Blatant Lies that he would.
  • Joni: In this autobiographical film about a real-life woman who was paralyzed as a teen from a diving accident, as the doctors begin to cut off her long hair in order to perform the initial surgery to stabilize her spine, she desperately cries for them to stop.
  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword: After Arthur is raised in a brothel, a montage showing his growth from child to adult starts with his long prince-like curls being cropped off.
  • The Last Samurai: Nobutada's topknot cutting scene. Like some of his other work, Koyamada kinda overdid it when it came to emotion and rendered the scene inorganic. Moving on.
  • The Life of Oharu: Jihei's wife, who has gone Prematurely Bald, becomes crazed with jealousy over Oharu. So she grabs Oharu and hacks off a chunk of her hair by force.
  • Lockout: Used when Snow cuts and dyes Emilie's hair to disguise her as a male. Particularly notable is that he tells her that "it's going to be fun" and the audience gets to watch him (but not her) during the actual event as she screams and objects. Ick.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: The eponymous Max begins the film with long shaggy hair. It's sheared off to stubble when he's captured by Immortan Joe.
  • The Magdalene Sisters: Used twice as a punishment. One girl, Una, who escapes but is brought back by her father is seen having her hair shaved later. Bernadette, who also tries to escape, gets a painful reprise of the first haircut. Instead of using the clippers, they use scissors while she struggles the whole time leading the nuns to draw blood. Quite handily, this, and the following work montage, allow us to see that A LOT of time has passed since the girls arrived as Bernadette's hair is even longer when she finally escapes than when she arrived. Might also have happened to Crispina, who has an uneven haircut and is unstable enough that she might have tried to escape like the others.
  • Malčna: As the women of the town gather to beat the crap out of the titular character as punishment for her supposed "crimes", one of many things that they do is take a pair of scissors and cut off poor Malena's hair. Sadly, she's already done this to herself, cutting her long locks into a bob in preparation to become a prostitute because she has no other means to support herself.
  • Martyrs: Happens to Ana upon becoming a subject for the society, as the start of the long process of torture and degradation she goes through. Lucie was also found with cut hair when she escaped from her torturers.
  • Ma Vie En Rose: The protagonist has a haircut forced upon him when his parents become fed up with his femininity.
  • Midnight Express: Billy gets his hair cropped off when he enters prison. Of course given what happens to him throughout the film, the haircut is probably the least traumatic thing about his time inside.
  • Les Misérables (2012): Used particularly brutally. Fantine undergoes one of these by choice in order to sell her hair to feed her little daughter Cosette in the original book, and thus in most adaptations too. In the book, she at least goes to a professional barber, who presumably showed some care and restraint, and even in the stage version she's left with a long pixie. In the movie, however, Anne Hathaway's hair is cut in an alley with a razor blade, leaving her with less than an inch of uneven stubble, and we see her crying in painful close-ups all the while.
  • Mommie Dearest: Joan forcibly cuts Christina's hair (while screaming at her) after catching her preening in Joan's mirror. "You spoiled it, just like I spoiled you!"
  • Mouth to Mouth: Seemingly averted as most members of the group seem quite willing to have their hair shaved off in order to be fully accepted into SPARK, but played straight when Sherry lets out a small sob, which she rapidly covers up with a smile.
  • In the Afghan film Osama, the main female lead does this in order to pose as a boy. Her braid is put in a flowerpot and watered for symbolism. Tragically, it didn't work and she got caught and married off anyway before she could escape Afghanistan. The last scene implies that her new husband had just had sex with her, despite her being only a child.
  • The Parent Trap (1998): In preparation for their plan to switch places, Hallie cuts Annie's hair to resemble her own (the latter is terrified, and the former is initially squeamish as well).
  • In The Phantom Menace, the last scene shows Anakin as a young Padawan, with his former mop now replaced with the Padawan style (flattop with a braid at the right temple). He seems rather unhappy about it.
  • Used in Play Misty for Me when Evelyn terrorizes the captive Tobie by cutting her hair.
  • Spoofed in Police Academy, where Blanks and Copeland get buzz cuts at the Academy barber—only to learn moments later that it isn't required, because it's just police training, not boot camp.
  • Porky's 2 has it happen to their Magical Native American friend.
  • Malik of the French film A Prophet gets his long curly hair cropped when he arrives in prison.
  • Prayers For The Stolen, about a mountain town in Mexico under control of a drug cartel, features this; the 8-year-old protagonist Ana and her friend Paula have to have their long hair cropped short. Their mothers claim it is due to lice, but it soon becomes clear that it's to make them look more like boys to save them from potential rapists. The Time Skip of five years shows that the girls still wear their hair close cropped. Their friend Maria doesn't have to do this, because she has a cleft lip.
  • Happens to the protagonist's little sister in Remember Me. The Alpha Bitch invites her to a supervised birthday party, and the girl thinks the bully wants to be friends now, so she goes. Then while the adults are busy, the bully and her Girl Posse gang up on her, hold her down, and chop off her pigtails. Her brother, father, and the brother's roommate are not happy.
  • Exemplified in Rhymes for Young Ghouls. After Aila is essentially kidnapped and forced into the horrifying, abusive residential school for First Nations youth, her long, culturally significant braids are sheared off. The brave, fearless Aila sheds her only tears in the entire film as this happens.
  • RoboCop (1987): Two thugs grab a woman intending to rape her, but first decide she has too much hair and start cutting it off with a knife. Robocop steps in and saves her.
  • Inverted in Rosemary's Baby. Rosemary happily gets a pixie haircut while pregnant, and everyone else hates it. It serves to foreshadow that they're a cult of devil worshippers who want to control her.
  • The Irish lead character of Ryan's Daughter has her head shaved after an affair with a British soldier.
  • In Seven Samurai, where the wise leader shaves his head to disguise himself as a monk. Yeah, he has a reason to be bald, opposed to Yul Brynner in the remake. The farmer who wants to hide his daughter from the incoming samurais cuts her long hair, much to her disapproval.
  • Shanghai Noon has Jackie Chan's character lose his long pony tail when Chon (Jackie) and Roy (Owen Wilson) are captured by the princess's kidnapper, Lo Fong; he cuts Chon's hair off, knowing exactly what this means for him if he should try to return to China (see below under Real Life for how significant this would be).
  • Happens in the Lifetime Movie of the Week She Fought Alone. After reporting the Jerk Jock who raped her, the heroine somehow becomes the school outcast and one night a group of her classmates surround her in an alley and cut off chunks of her hair. It's barely noticeable once the heroine slaps a baseball cap on top of it.
  • In Sherlock Holmes And The Leading Lady, Holmes cuts off part of Watson's mustache (over Watson's protests) so that he can impersonate Holmes' valet.
  • The movie Shes In The Army Now features a group of unprepared women joining the army for basic training.
    • The women are allowed to keep their hair long if they make sure it's above the collar at all times. Virginia Marshall has long hair that frequently comes undone, and the sergeant has the platoon do push-ups as punishment. So a trio of other women blindside Marshall and cut all her hair off - which is a bit of Disproportionate Retribution, since the platoon only had to do twelve push-ups as punishment.
    • Martin, the Alpha Bitch responsible for the above, gets away without punishment because Marshall won't name who did it. After she suffers Sanity Slippage and has to be taken away, the others get revenge by ganging up on Martin during an exercise. Afterwards, she tries to hide it with her helmet, but the sergeant forces her to uncover - revealing that her hair is nearly all gone (she had a short perm beforehand but this is near bald). The sergeant knows instantly who's responsible, and also that Martin can't be punished for her attack on Marshall, and so turns a blind eye and snarks that the new hairstyle is an improvement.
  • In Shrooms, Lisa freaks out when she wakes up to find that someone has cut off all the hair on the right side of her head. She blames Bluto, who was tripping on magic mushrooms during the night and has now disappeared. It was actually Tara, while suffering the effects of the deathcap.
  • In The Smurfs 2, Smurfette undergoes this when Gargamel captures her and snips off the bottom part of her hair in order to make more Smurf essence from it, changing her hairstyle to a bob.
  • Snuff Movie: When Jack is presented with a captive Angie, and shown proof of her infidelity, his first act of revenge is to shave her head.
  • Soldier of Orange: After the war, one of Erik's female friends is forcibly shaved for sleeping with a German soldier. She says she doesn't blame them, though.
  • So Young, So Bad about a girls' reform school had a cruel matron attacking a girl for apparently stealing perfume from her room by cutting off all her hair. She hangs herself after this.
  • Spaceballs uses this trope, when Princess Vespa's hair gets shot and she transforms from a Damsel in Distress to a ruthless killing machine.
  • In Spy Kids, Ms. Gradenko is shown mostly bald after a buddy pack burns off most of her hair.
  • Happens to the recruits in Stripes. Winger and Ziskey's haircuts weren't so severe so they still look good. However, some of the others like Ox (John Candy) get their heads completely shaven off and are left in shock holding their hair. Ziskey makes the mistake of singing and dancing like a "Hare Krishna" which Ox does not find hilarious.
  • In Tank Girl Rebecca forces Madame to sing Cole Porter's "Let's Do It" (yes, really) by threatening to cut her hair off.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: After being enslaved, Thor is strapped to a chair and his signature long hair is cut off. He initially roars at the barber (holding a terrifying looking contraption that looks like a rusty-meat grinder crossed with a lawn-mower and a wheat-thresher) that he will face his wrath if he cuts his hair, but when that doesn't work, he straight up begs him not to do it.
    Thor: [meekly] Please, kind sir, please don't cut my hair...
  • In Vamos a matar, compañeros, Vasco cuts Lola's hair as punishment for allegedly sleeping with a foreigner. Later in the movie, we find out he kept the lock of hair, and gives it back to Lola to apologize and declare his love to her.
  • Pictured above: Evie has her head shaved for her interrogation in V for Vendetta. Upon finding out that it was V who actually put her through the whole ordeal, her first accusation was that "you cut my hair!" Even before mentioning that he tortured her. Notably, Natalie Portman really had her head shaved for that scene, and she stated that it's something she had wanted to do for a while- while she shakes and sobs onscreen as Evie endures the shearing, behind the scenes footage shows her standing up after the take ends with a big smile on her face as she rubs her head curiously.
  • The Czech film Vlak do stanice Nebe has a girl who was off sick from school arriving back to find that all her classmates have had their hair cut off because of head lice. She then has to sit in front of the class while the teacher cuts hers too.
  • Waterworld: The Mariner chops off Helen's hair after she nearly sinks the boat. When Enola yells at him for this, he cuts her hair off too.
  • Happens to Garth in Wayne's World, audibly traumatizing him.
  • A Made-for-TV Movie called Wild Women about people travelling from Texas to Mexico has a part where one of their comrades gets most of her hair cut off after she uses scarce water supplies to wash it. Their Comanche escort thinks this is an especially low move.
    "My people would have killed her but we wouldn't have scalped her."
  • The Wind That Shakes the Barley: the film is about the Irish War of Independence, and features a scene where the Black and Tans ambush a farmhouse (in which the protagonist's girlfriend lives). In between burning the house down, they cut off Sinead's hair.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Professor Charles Xavier loses his hair due to psychic trauma inflicted upon him by Apocalypse.
  • The Made-for-TV Movie Youre So Cupid features an Escalating War between two sisters who are crushing on the same boy. Lily first ruins Emma's prom dress by drawing on it with a sharpie, Emma then sabotages Lily's audition for a play and Lily finally sneaks into Emma's room and cuts off her hair. It's admittedly still quite long, but their mother isn't happy.

  • In 100 Cupboards, Henrietta is caught by Coradin and held by the hair with a knife to her neck. Henry slashes a knife between his hand and her scalp, cutting the hair but releasing her.
  • Happens to a rape victim in Almost The Truth by Margaret Yorke. It's played on repeatedly throughout the book: she uses it as evidence of physical assault in court, her hairstyle is referred to many times even after it's grown out, and her father thinks about the incident often (since he didn't witness the rape) as he decides to take revenge on the rapist.
  • Animorphs:
    • At one point, Rachel ends up having to sell 6 inches of her hair to an Iskoort in order to pay for the services of a guide-about-town (incidentally named Guide). He wanted all of it. Rachel threatened violence. Guide compromised. He also wanted the last foot and a half of Ax's tail. Same basic story. At least Rachel still looked good, as Erek cut her hair and he used to do the same to Catherine the Great.
    • Ax also describes how in Andalite society, someone who has shamed himself gets a certain kind of haircut (or fur-cut) called unschweet, with the idea being that their honor slowly returns as the hair grows back. He does it to Tobias (Tobias having morphed into Ax), not because Tobias deserves it but it's the only way Ax knows how to cut it and that way they look different.
  • Inverted in L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables—the haircut is because of the trauma. Anne attempted to dye her hair black, but it comes out a hideous green. People assume she had been come down with a disease that caused it to fall out, which was why she was absent from school for some time and came back virtually bald.
  • In one of The Baby-Sitters Club spinoff "Little Sister" books, Karen hates the short haircut she gets (the stylist completely disregarded her stated wishes — a shoulder-length cut — in favor of giving her the "trendy" haircut of the day) and tries various methods to make herself look nicer again, including repeatedly going by more "glamorous" names. Luckily her hair is growing back by the end of the story.
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Coriolanus Snow is distinguished by his head of pale blond curls. When he is blackmailed into becoming a Peacekeeper (following his conduct as a Mentor in the 10th Hunger Games), his curls are shorn into a buzz cut. While this is no more "traumatic" than any other military haircut, it does symbolize his entering a new and dreaded part of his life that he never anticipated.
  • Happens in Beckys Horse, by Winifred Madison, when Becky's sister Mimi tries to dye her hair blonde and it comes out greenish. She has it cut, and stops being vain about her hair.
  • In Belle Praters Boy, Gypsy chops off her long blonde hair after having a flashback to a horrifying incident. She found her father after he'd committed suicide because he was no longer handsome. She has it neatened up at a barbershop, tells her friends at school it's the latest style, a "Dixie Pixie", and starts a new trend.
  • The short story Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald ends with the title character chopping off her sleeping cousin's hair as revenge for convincing Bernice to get a haircut, which is not only highly unflattering but due to the mores of the day all Bernice's male admirers now think of her as "loose."
  • In The Blair Witch Files (a spin-off of The Blair Witch Project), one book deals with a girl called Louise Irwin. Once her parents and uncle die, her Aunt Mary doesn't want to keep her in the house. She also doesn't want to drive all the way to the next town to put her in a home for girls - so she cuts all Louise's hair off and sends her to the local home for boys as 'Lee Irwin'. Not surprisingly, Louise seeks revenge when she's older.
  • In the Celeste series, Celeste's mother cuts Celeste's hair while she is asleep, in order to force her to dress as a boy and assume the identity of her dead twin brother.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • In The Horse and His Boy, The talking horses Bree and Hwin must have their tails cut short to disguise themselves as packhorses. Bree is especially annoyed and tries to delay his entry into Narnia so that he won't undergo the shame of being seen with a ragged tail by the rest of his kind. It's not helped by how Shasta and Aravis didn't have anything similar to scissors and had to use a scimitar, which made the process actually quite dangerous and painful.
    • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the White Witch has Aslan tied down and his mane cut off before executing him (the film shows that in the final battle the next day, she's wearing it around her as a Battle Trophy). From their hiding place, Susan and Lucy weep at the sight. When he is revived, his mane grows back.
  • In the book Circle Of Blood by Alane Ferguson, the book's victim is found dead with her long braid cut off beside her. It later turns out that her killers were members of the cult she escaped from, and cutting off her hair was their way of stealing her beauty.
  • The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford: "Cops and Robbers" is about Hannah, a five-year-old girl who is taken to the barber by her father, and gets all her hair cut off. Hannah is traumatized. It's just a proxy battle in the war between her horrible alcoholic parents.
  • In The Color Purple Celie writes that Misters girls have hair that hasn't been combed since their mother died, being that it is so unmanageable, she suggests shaving the hair off and starting fresh. Mister disagrees and says that it is "bad luck to cut a woman hair."
  • Subverted in Dark Days At Drumshee where in order to hide from the Cromwellians, Francis had to have his long hair cut short (he didn't seem to mind). Twelve-year-old Donogh has shoulder length curls and is about to have them cut too, but they instead suggest disguising him as a girl (as the Cromwellians will be looking for a boy). Thus he keeps his hair but has to wear a dress.
  • The Deed of Paksenarrion: This may ring a bit hollow given the rest of the terrible stuff that follows (including actual rape), but a shaved head is one of the first things to be done to Paks during her five days of Cold-Blooded Torture. The act invoked the (more lawful) established practice of tinisi turin ("shorn sheep"), a punishment for military criminals. Considering that Paks' long, thick yellow hair is one of her defining features, it does sting.
  • The Demonata: "Lord Loss" Grubbs is committed to a mental hospital, he notes that his hair is cut quite short - "tighter than I'd like" - and it's not said if he grows it out again once he's checked out.
  • In The Devil's Arithmetic, Hannah, Rivka and the other Jewish women have their hair cut off as they enter the Concentration Camp. The men also have their sidelocks cut off and the movie version shows the Rabbi with his beard cut off.
  • In the first book of Doctrine of Labyrinths Felix has his hair chopped off with shears when he's sent to St. Crellifer's.
  • The Dresden Files: In Small Favor, when Ivy is kidnapped by Denarians and tortured, this trope happens.
  • Ellen and Otis: In Otis Spofford, Otis gives Ellen one as revenge for humiliating him in class. At first he doesn't understand why she's so upset, until he remembers that Ellen has been letting her hair grow long enough to braid.
  • In The Famine Secret when the girls enter the workhouse, they have to have their long hair cut short, presumably to control lice or disease. It's especially traumatic for Fiona, who had beautiful golden locks, and she protests against it. Deirdre meanwhile does her best to remain stoic, picking up her cut off hair and throwing it on the fire to help things along. By the time the children escape the workhouse and flee home, the girls' hair has grown out again.
  • The Famous Five: In Five Have Plenty Of Fun, an American scientist sends his Girly Girl daughter Berta to stay with the Five, because he fears she might be kidnapped. Not content with this safety measure, he orders her to be dressed as a boy, and to have her long wavy hair cut very short. Aunt Fanny does this, causing Berta to weep in earnest.
    "How could Pops say I'm to have my hair cut off?" wept Berta. "He always said it was wunnerful!"
    Nobody liked to point out there was a D in "wonderful" just then. Berta was really upset about her hair.
  • In the V. C. Andrews novel Flowers in the Attic, the fanatically religious grandmother coats Cathy's long hair in tar to force her to cut it (believing that vanity is a sin). The children manage to remove the tar with chemicals. Cathy cuts off the front part of her hair and wears a scarf to hide the rest and fool Grandmother into thinking she cut it all off. The TV movie does both - where the children can't remove the tar and Cathy just has Chris cut all her hair off. The next scene has a Time Skip to where it has mostly grown back to shoulder length.
  • Forgotten Realms: played half-straight half-inverted in the case of Jarlaxle. In drow matriarchal theocratic society hair style reflects status. So, how guy can show he's not in the system, without being either Rule-Abiding Rebel or simply punished and ordered to reverse? By changing indicator state to "undefined". He shaved his head — Take That!, clergy.
    • In the latest book, Timeless, It is revealed that Jarlaxle's hair caught on fire no less than three times, each time leaving him with less and less hair until he throws the towel in and makes himself completely bald. Typical.
  • Maria in For Whom the Bell Tolls has her head shaved by the Spanish fascists who murdered her parents and raped her.
  • A Girl Called Blue - set in an orphanage in 1950s Ireland - has a sequence where head lice are discovered among the girls. As it's run by the same nuns responsible for the Magdalene Laundries, the solution is cutting the hair of every girl with lice. One girl called Sarah Murphy has beautiful long blonde hair and is especially distressed at having it cut off. Blue (the titular heroine) decides to get revenge by ensuring the nuns catch their lice as well. A few weeks later, when visiting a potential foster family, Blue's mood isn't improved when the parents remark that they preferred her old hair.
  • L. M. Montgomery's novel The Golden Road contains a chapter titled "The Rape of the Lock'' in a Shout-Out to the Pope poem. In this chapter a boy steals a lock of hair from a girl he has an unrequited crush on.
  • In the novel The Good Earth, Wang Lung cuts off his ponytail at his mistress' biding, horrifying his wife, who thinks he's just guaranteed himself years of bad luck.
  • In The Handmaid's Tale, Offred imagines that her husband is still alive, inventing a scenario where he's been captured and she imagines that his captors have cut his long hair.
  • Harry Potter
    • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Even as a child, Harry's hair grew very fast and very wild, and one time his aunt Petunia practically shaved him bald out of frustration. This led to one of his early accidental uses of magic, as he managed to unconciously grow it back in one night.
    • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Charlie Weasley had apparently let his hair grow too long for his mother's liking by this stage. While Mrs. Weasley had long since given up trying to make her eldest son Bill get rid of his ponytail, before the latter's wedding she cut Charlie's hair "brutally short" (in her defense, she was under a great deal of stress, and Charlie didn't seem to have any long-lasting trauma from the shorning).
  • Henry Huggins: In Henry and Ribsy, Mrs. Huggins buys electric clippers on sale so that she can give Henry his haircuts and save money on the barber's, despite Henry's protests. Sure enough, the haircut ends up choppy and uneven, looking like it's been chewed, and Henry's friends laugh at it when they find out. Even worse, Mrs. Huggins then tells Robert's and Scooter's moms about the clipper sale and they end up giving their sons bad haircuts with the clippers, too. Scooter's head gets shaved bald on one side!
  • The Hero and the Crown has a rare example of the heroine inflicting the haircut: Aerin gives her annoying and vain cousin a knock-out drink, then sneaks into her room and cuts off her eyelashes. Hilarity ensues.
  • In Hetty Feather by Jacqueline Wilson, this is a routine punishment at the Foundling Hospital. Hetty doesn't mind because it makes her look like a boy and she therefore has more freedom to move around without being noticed.
  • One of the humiliations inflicted upon Honor Harrington by her captors in In Enemy Hands. Also the least successful since for most of her career she wore her hair extremely short.
  • Kid-friendly example: In How To Survive Summer Camp by Jacqueline Wilson, Stella has a very short haircut which she hates and makes her the victim of bullying from the other girls at a summer camp she attends. She explains that she'd gone to have a new hairstyle for her mother and stepfather's wedding, but when she tried to demonstrate that she only wanted a small amount cut, the hairdresser misunderstood and duly sheared her hair down to bristle.
  • In Jane Eyre, the narrator witnesses Mr. Brocklehurst's visit to Lowood School, where he admonishes a girl named Julia for having curled her hair, saying that she is giving her soul over to Satan, she will burn in hell for idleness and vanity, and demanding that it be cut off as soon as possible — never mind that Julia's hair is naturally curly. The book has many film and miniseries adaptations, and usually this scene gets exaggerated; sometimes Janes's sickly best friend Helen becomes the haircut victim instead of Julia; sometimes Jane protests about it, only to end up getting her long hair cut off too; in other adaptations, all of the Lowood girls (Jane included) get their hair forcibly cut when they get into the school, as a part of their "mortification".
  • In Journey to the West, a karmic example is featured. The ruler of the kingdom of Miefa hated Buddhists and executed their monks. His punishment is to be shaven bald like a Buddhist monk, which traumatizes him and forces him to change his ways.
  • In Junie B. Jones is a Beauty Shop Guy, the six-year-old heroine is pretending she's a hair stylist and experiments on herself. Her dad takes her to a beauty parlor for a neatening trim from an actual one.
  • The Key To Rebecca - when Sonja won't give the soldiers the information they want, they torture her by cutting chunks of her hair. After the third snip, she complies.
  • In Little Women, when Mr. March falls ill while serving in the Civil War, Jo sells her long hair for the money to to send her mother to Washington to care for him. In front of her family she puts on a brave face about it, but she admits that it felt almost like sacrificing an arm or a leg, and that night in bed she cries over the loss of her "one beauty."
  • The Appendices of The Lord of the Rings depict one of these in the backstory behind the war between the Dwarves and the Orcs. Hostilities were touched off when the Orc chieftain Azog killed King Under the Mountain Thrór, then beheaded him and branded his name on his forehead. All that would have been bad enough, but then Azog decided to shave off Thrór's beard, too. That was the absolute last straw for the Dwarves, who prided themselves on their full and manly beards, and so began a war of utter extermination.
  • Among the Tiste Edur people in Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, those banished in disgrace are "shorned" (shaven bald), and their scalps doused in chemicals so their hair will never grow back, to mark them as outlaws.
  • In Matilda, Miss Trunchbull tries to enforce this on Amanda Thripp out of hatred for Amanda's Girlish Pigtails. Matilda states that Amanda will give herself the Traumatic Haircut, but in the film adaptation, this doesn't happen and Miss Honey simply unbraids Amanda's hair.
  • Fantine, in Les Misérables willingly sells her hair to buy a woolen skirt for her daughter Cosette. Though other heroines in other books do the same thing (e.g. Little Women), for Fantine it is the first step towards her degradation and shame, as her beautiful hair is one of the few things left she has of beauty and sentimental value.
  • A variation in The Mill on the Floss, where the rebellious Maggie cuts off her hair after her aunts and mother criticize it for being too messy. Maggie isn't too bothered by this, but her mother is scandalized as it's the 18th century, and short hair makes Maggie look unacceptable ("disfigured" is the word she uses).
  • In Monstrous Regiment, "Ozzer" pretends to have had one of these while disguised as a barmaid, telling the enemy Zlobenians that the hair was cut as punishment because "they said I smiled at a Zlobenian soldier." Except Ozzer is really Polly. Who has cut her hair to pose as a boy, and who was a barmaid before she joined the army. It gets more complicated than that later...
  • The story "The Nutcracker Coup" by Janet Kagan is about aliens with hedgehog-like spines down their backs. It was a deeply shaming punishment to have these spines clipped. When one of the aliens befriended by the protagonist (a junior member of the human diplomatic staff) had it done, the protagonist told her that someone once cut her hair off to shame her, but she dyed the remnant bright red and gloried in it. The clipped aliens are inspired to put beads on their spines and walk tall, which angers those who clipped them, but they don't care.
  • In The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, the main character, Ponyboy, is attacked by socs and they attempt to cut his hair (long hair was his emblem of greaser status) when they try to, he begins screaming and fighting to be released. However, in later chapters he is forced by circumstances to both dye and cut his hair. Ponyboy and Johnny also discuss how judges force convicted greasers to get haircuts as a way to break them.
  • Simona Ahrnstedt has a scene in her novel Överenskommelser, where Rosenschiöld not only rapes and batters Beatrice, but just to further humiliate her, he decides to cut off her hair. But it turns out that she's way more bothered by the other things, that he did to her...
  • In the novel Pretty Is, Erin sneaks up on her ex-best friend Kayla in the middle of the night and cuts off her long golden hair.
  • Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock satirizes an actual scandal of an involuntary haircut that tore apart the engagement of one of Pope's friends. He took the real events, changed the names to protect the innocent, added sylphs and gnomes and other Divine Machinery, and wrote up a grand big battle that breaks out between the men and the women over the ill-fated lock. The joke is that the lock of hair is pretty small, about as long as a finger. For extra hilarity, the lock of hair ends up pretty well off once the dust has settled.
  • Rapunzel: Most versions of the story have the old woman (sorceress, fairy, witch, ect…) shearing off Rapunzel’s hair and casting her into the wilderness after learning that she has been seeing the prince.
  • Self-inflicted example in The Red and the Black: The Villain Protagonist "tames" his Tsundere / Yandere (she alternates between being a snooty aristocrat and acting lovey-dovey, and is batshit insane) love interest, and to show fealty to him, she cuts her hair brutally short.
  • In Red Seas Under Red Skies, the second book of the Gentleman Bastard Sequence, Locke observes a noble's holiday retreat in which chess is played with live peasants who are paid a pittance to endure the game and must pay a gruesome forfeit when "taken". Forfeits can be anything short of actual death. One of the first ones he observes is a young female "chess piece" being forcibly stripped, and when this has little effect on her the noble player orders that her head should be shaved as well.
  • In The Red Vixen Adventures, former Child Soldier Space Pirate Ali has her entire pelt shaved off when she's recaptured by her old pirate band, and then she's bound and left out in the cold rain to die of hypothermia.
  • In F.M. Busby's Rissa Kerguelen series, people forced into the "Total Welfare" system—government-sanctioned slavery, essentially—have their hair clipped almost to the scalp. When our heroine is freed from the system, the first thing she announces she's going to do is grow her hair as long as it will go.
  • In The Rules of Survival, Matthew recounts an incident from his and his sister Callie's childhood when their abusive mother Nikki, angry that her own hair was less than a full yard long, impulsively cut almost all of Callie's hair off to "show her how important hair was to a woman". For the rest of that summer, Callie wore baseball caps to hide the bald patches in her hair.
  • The School for Good and Evil has a particularly nasty one, where Sophie has her hair lopped off with an axe by The Beast. The result is an act of Disproportionate Retribution that marks Sophie crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Copper Beeches" a woman Violet Hunter is offered a position as a governess with a three figure salary on the condition she cut off her beautiful hair quite short. It turns out they were really hiring her to impersonate their daughter who had been ill with a Brain Fever and her hair had to be cut off.
  • In the YA novel Sixth Grade Secrets, by Louis Sachar, sixth-grader/heroine Laura's pride and joy is her long hair, which her parents had promised her to have at an early age in exchange for never lying to them or to anyone else. Near the end of the book, the Alpha Bitch and her boyfriend ambush her on her way home from school, forcibly cutting her hair to her shoulders, and leaving a fake note implying that The Hero had done it (Laura was attacked from behind, and it happened so fast she didn't see who'd done it). Understandably, she's devastated, sobbing in her parents' arms for quite some time afterward and missing school the next day.
  • Exaggerated in A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Arya is subject to one when she has to be disguised as a boy. And she gets another one in A Storm of Swords when the Hound is sneaking her through the Riverlands (this one is left out of the TV series).
    • Cersei Lannister, having confessed to adultery, is stripped naked and shaved all over before being forced to march naked through the city to her trial.
    • When Maester Pycelle turns out to be a spy for Cersei, Tyrion has his wildling thugs shave Pycelle's Wizard Beard, and other characters later comment how much of Pycelle's authority and dignity seems to have gone with it.
    • Dothraki warriors wear their hair in long braids, and cut them off if they're ever defeated in a fight. Khal Drogo is considered the greatest Dothraki warrior because he's never had to cut his hair, and it goes all the way down to his hips.
  • Sweet Diamond Dust: In the story “The Gift”, Carlotta is elected carnival queen. She works hard to change the festivities so that any young person can participate regardless of social class. This horrifies Mother Artigas, the headmistress of Carlotta’s school, and she expels Carlotta in everything but name. Just before Carlotta leaves the school, Mother Artigas ambushes Carlotta and cuts off her beautiful long hair in spite.
  • In the second book of the Sword of Truth series, Kahlan gets her hair lopped off when she's sentenced to execution. This is one of the more obvious examples, as in a good chunk of the series' world, a woman's hair is directly and explicitly tied to her status, and Kahlan has the longest locks around. She also lops off a bit of her own hair. That doesn't sound awesome, but Confessors are magically incapable of cutting their own hair, as part of an enforcement of the status symbol. A Confessor who cuts her own hair suffers debilitating pain. In part because of that knowledge, Richard realized that Kahlan really did love him despite putting the Rada'Han on his neck and sending him to the Palace of the Prophets.
    • Also, the first Confessor, Magda Searus' long hair was cut to her shoulders when her husband, an all important war-mage died because her status was only that of a wife. And that is why, upon becoming the first Confessor, she decreed that Confessors would never cut their hair.
  • Ehlana gets a drawn-out version during The Tamuli; each message her kidnappers send to Sparhawk include a lock of her hair. By the time Sparhawk catches up with them, she's been shaved bald ... which shouldn't have been necessary, there weren't that many messages. Her kidnappers may have taken extra for the trauma value.
  • Also, in Hinton's That Was Then... This Is Now, the main characters, Bryon and Mark, cut off Bryon's ex-girlfriend's hair after she recruits a guy to beat up Ponyboy (who rejected her advances) and he ends up cracking Mark over the head with a busted bottle.
  • In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo and some of his friends are arrested by the white men and have their heads shaved. When they are released, Okonkwo is pissed about it.
  • Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold:
    • In Cetaganda, a Cetagandan noblewoman is restrained in an ingenious way — since Haut ladies never cut their hair, the bad guys decided to humiliate her by locking her hair to the floor. She refused to cut it even when Miles Vorkosigan came to the rescue (to her disgust, he compared it to animals gnawing through their limbs to escape a trap), so he had to distract her in order to cut it without her consent. With a knife. She was a bit upset afterwards. Also, a different noblewoman later gives Miles a lock of her hair; it's a surprisingly moving token of her esteem.
    • In Shards of Honor, this trope is used as a chilling prequel to a real rape (plus additional torture), when the sadistic psychopath bad guy cuts off a lock of Cordelia's red hair and plays with it. Terrifying when you realize it wasn't her he really wanted to torture, it was her fiancé.
      Vorrutyer: I must think what can be done with that hair. One might remove the scalp entirely, of course, but there must be something more creative...
  • In What About Me Erica locks herself in her room and cuts her long, beautiful hair off after her boyfriend's asshole of a cousin grabbed/pulled her by it before raping her. After the cut, she screams that now no one will be able to use her hair as a weapon against her again, and promptly breaks down as her father tries to console her.
  • In Stephen King's Wizard and Glass, Wicked Witch Rhea hypnotizes Susan into cutting off all her hair after losing virginity. She doesn't, as she's stopped by Roland.
  • In Poul Anderson's "A World Called Maanerek", Sonna is lined up to become "tension release" for the crew—meaning she will be lobotomized and used as a sexual plaything. But first, the doctor explains, they will remove her hair, which will be interesting in itself, since many primitive women are proud of their hair. Wanen rescues her first.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted in 3rd Rock from the Sun when an upset girlfriend cuts off Tommy's ponytail and hands it to him before storming away. Tommy, an alien crammed into human form, reacts with something to the effect of "Wow, if I'd known I could get rid of that damn thing so easily I would have done it a long time ago!"
  • The British documentary series Airline, set in Britannia Airways, has one episode in which an airport hairdresser has to give a haircut to a cancer patient right before she goes for chemo. The girl has long blonde hair, and the hairdresser remarks how hard it is to make the resulting haircut look nice, because the patients rarely want them in the first place.
  • In the Israeli TV series Alifim had a gang of older students ambush the protagonist and give them unwanted haircuts before the end of term. It was mainly the boys who were affected, getting patches of their hair shaved off. But one victim was a girl - who had part of her pigtail chopped off. The boys shaved off the rest of their hair to give themselves buzzcuts, and the girl evened out the rest of her hair - which was still thankfully at least past her shoulders.
  • The Amazing Race used this as a Fast Forward challenge (a chance to get a big jump on other teams) twice.
    • The first team to encounter the Fast Forward was a pair of professional models. Rather than seriously damage a part of their professional image, they decided against taking on the challenge and returned to the regular course.
    • A husband-and-wife team, Uchenna and Joyce, came across this Fast Forward the second time it was offered. Uchenna was already shaved bald to begin with, so Joyce bravely let her long hair be cut off. Fortunately, Uchenna kept reassuring Joyce that she was still beautiful to him, even after sacrificing all her hair, and Uchenna and Joyce eventually won the race and the million dollars that season.
  • Every season of America's Next Top Model has a "makeover" episode which involves every (surviving) contestant getting new hairstyles. At least one girl with long hair will have a crying fit when she finds out it's getting cut short. As the seasons go on, and the haircuts seem designed to neither make the model look better nor be more acceptable to the world of fashion, the line between "necessary sacrifice" and "traumatic hazing ritual" gets thinner and thinner.
    • There was one girl who defined herself by her long hair. Guess what they did? Cut it off. All of it. Because that was how she defined herself. The poor girl performed badly for the rest of the time she was on the show because she was so traumatized.
    • Season 5's Cassandra, whose hair was cut short (and who never stopped complaining about it), quit the show when Tyra wanted to cut it even shorter.
    • Season 16 had the opposite case in Molly. The Diana Ross weave in the makeover episode irritated her scalp so much she was actually euphoric when she got her cut.
    • Inverted with one of the male models, who started out with short hair but got extensions put in to give him a 'Jesus' look. It was every bit as ridiculous as it sounds. Another guy was given a facial hair weave, with similar results.
    • Subverted with another male model, who was shaved completely bald. Initially horrified, he soon found that he suited the look and gave advice to the next cycle's contestants.
  • Bad Lad Army - modern teens had to join the army. In the first season, some recruits underwent this willingly: they had a choice between a buzz cut and going fully bald. Season 3 made the boys only get a short-back-and-sides, saying anything that could be hidden by a beret could be kept. One boy with purple dreadlocks had to be completely scalped to get rid of the dyed hair.
  • A Dutch girl guilty of sleeping with a Nazi, as referenced below under Truth in Television, gets her hair shaved by force in Band of Brothers. A member of La Résistance tells the US soldiers that she's getting off easy, as the male collaborators are being shot.
  • The MTV series Becoming was about fans getting to remake music videos from their favourite artists. While most appeared fine with the required hair changes...
    • Maxina, who was becoming Shakira, had dark hair and was a bit anxious when she learned she'd have to go blonde to remake the "Underneath Your Clothes" video. She could be seen awkwardly saying to her confessional on the way to the salon that she was hoping she'd just wear a wig.
    • When remaking Limp Bizkit's "My Way", the fan becoming Sam Rivers had a typical 2000s 'surfer dude' hairstyle. He learned he'd have to have it all buzzed off to a blade one, and started joking that they might want to rethink it if they knew "I have this dome shaped melon". As the scissors started, he sighed "there go the wings". It was then subverted, since he seemed very surprised at how good the haircut looked.
  • In the third season of Beverly Hills, 90210, Brenda imagines doing this to Kelly after having found out that Dylan cheated with her all summer while Brenda was in Paris.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: One episode deals with a frat house being haunted by ghosts of traumatized children. One of the things they were traumatized by was their caretaker chopping off the hair of girls she caught "preening."
  • Double subverted on Bus Life. Jess gets gum in her hair right before she's to meet her boyfriend at the bus stop. The gang consider all sorts of options before Rick opts to just cut the hair. Jess ends up with a stylish bob that she says she loves, but it's then revealed Rick somehow left a bald spot at the back of her head.
  • Played for laughs in an episode of El Chavo del ocho. Don Ramón is working part-time at a barber shop and El Chavo and La Chilindrina go there and start playing barber with his tools. At one point Chavo grabs the scissors and cuts Chilindrina's Girlish Pigtails for real, and in his attempt to leave them on equal length, ends up cutting them a bit too much, causing her to throw a tantrum.
  • Cobra Kai: Eli has the trademark mohawk he's embraced for so long (since midway throughout Season 1) as a means to "flip the script" from his previously meek nature and identify himself under the "Hawk" moniker. So when the Cobra Kais gang up on him (while the latter was alone at the tattoo shop) with Robby shaving off his mohawk, Eli effectively loses his confidence and suffers an identity crisis (going as far as to nearly quit karate). It's not until he gets a Motivational Kiss from Moon and beats Kyler in the All-Valley quarterfinals that he re-gains his confidence, going as far as to defeat Robby and win the All-Valley boys' bracket.
  • Cold Case. Scotty notices that his mother has abruptly cut her hair. She offhandedly claims that she wanted to try something new. However, several episodes later, Scotty learns that she was raped (attacked while leaving the supermarket) and viewers quickly surmised that she got the haircut as a reaction to her ordeal.
  • Played for Laughs in Conan when Conan O'Brien experienced a "Beardpocalypse" at the hands of Will Ferrell.
  • Coronation Street - when Lauren came in for an appointment with David, the latter warned her to stop bullying his sister. Lauren's response was to snap "no wonder her mother's been locked up in the nuthouse and her auntie's been murdered", and David's response was to chop off her hair and threaten "it'll be your throat the next time". Although she attempts to phone the police, David covers up by claiming she'd asked for the cut and freaked out and ran out of the shop before he could finish it.
  • Desperate Scousewives - a Liverpool based reality series - had one girl getting a trim before a party. The hairdresser was distracted by his boyfriend for a moment, and cut a chunk of the girl's hair. The girl is unaware until the haircut is finished, and discovers that she's been given a bob. She shows what she thinks of it by putting a hat on immediately. The hairdresser tries to blame his boyfriend for distracting him.
  • In one episode of The Drew Carey Show, Drew meets a guy who claims to be the Devil. Drew plays along with him at first, and asks why he doesn't have horns, causing the guy to groan and mutter, "Get one bad haircut in the 15th Century, and all of a sudden, everyone thinks you have horns..."
  • An episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman had Robert E. and Grace being terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan. In one attack, a group of Klansmen surround Grace and hold her down while they cut her hair off.
  • In the Chinese drama series The Empress of China, the main character Wu Meiniang gets sent to live her remaining days as a nun after Emperor Taizong's death, along with the other concubines who didn't give children to the Emperor. The first step is to get her hair shaved, all the more traumatic considering the importance given to hair in the series. Luckily, it grows back exceptionally quickly.
  • In Flashpoint Season 1 Episode 6 Attention Shoppers Opens with a group of girls attacking another girl, Tasha, in a mall bathroom. Tasha has been targeted for a beating and traumatic haircut, because she is pressing charges against a gang leader, and boyfriend of one of the girls for attempted rape. Tasha has no support at home because her mother is drunk all the time. Her only adult support seems to be her coworker, who helps the team with information.
  • In Frasier, when the staffers of radio station KCYL accept a weight-loss challenge against a rival station, a week of desperate remedies results in a final weigh-in where Frasier's team are losing by mere ounces. Ros Doyle, who has suffered more than most from privation, cannot accept this and demands a pair of scissors. She orders a team-mate to hack off her long pony-tail on live TV. Then demands a new weigh-in. The loss of half a pound or so of her hair ensures victory for her side.
  • Friends:
    • Played for Laughs when Monica asks Phoebe to give her a haircut like Demi Moore. Phoebe thinks she wants a haircut like Dudley Moore. Monica is horrified with the result.
    • Rachel had one in her childhood; when she was on a swing, her hair got tangled in the chain and had to be cut to free her. Thus she has a fear of swings.
  • A French Village: Hortense gets her head shaved as the punishment for having sex with a German.
  • In Game of Thrones:
    • Dowager Queen Cersei's Walk of Shame includes having her precious golden locks cut short by the Septas. She opts to keep wearing the hair short in subsequent seasons.
    • Ser Loras also has all his hair cropped short right before his trial.
    • Arya has hers cut to disguise as a boy. It's traumatic because she doesn't have the reasons explained until after.
  • On General Hospital, during an argument with boyfriend Sonny, a hysterical Brenda grabbed a pair of scissors and began hacking away at her hair. Repairing the damage done, sure enough, Brenda's friend Lois was able to give her a snazzy new short haircut. This was again, the actress' Real Life decision being incorporated into the show's storyline.
  • In Get Some In!, Teddy boy Jakey Smith is very proud of his "duck's arse" haircut, an integral part of the Teddy boy look. When he goes for his haircut after reporting for National Service in the Royal Air Force, he gives the barber detailed instructions for how he wants it styled. The barber pretends to listen, then grabs the front of Jakey's hair and chops it off completely, causing him to howl in despair as he sees his reflection in the mirror.
  • Ghost Whisperer's "Last Execution", the Gordons' shower is broken so Melinda has to wash her hair in the sink. Naturally, that's when a ghost chooses to attack her; trapping her hair in the garbage disposal. Jim has to cut it to free her, and next morning it's been cut to shoulder length to even it out.
  • Played for laughs on Glee. In the first season, Puck shows up at school without hair. Turns out his mom found a spot on his head while washing his hair and forced him to go see a doctor. The doctor had to shave off Puck's beloved mohawk to be able to examine the spot, which turned out to be a harmless freckle. At first it's just a minor annoyance, until Puck gets to school and very quickly realizes that his badass reputation is in danger, as people seem to have lost their respect for him now that he no longer has badass hair.
  • The Spanish game show El gran juego de la oca (The Great Game of the Goose) was a giant board game with each space on the board corresponding to a challenge of some sort. However one of the spaces was home to a demented barber. Whether you were male or female, getting one of three questions wrong (the third of which was always impossible to answer) resulted in your receiving an extreme haircut.
  • Implied in Heroes. When Sylar first appears in flashbacks, his hair is a little longer. When he's captured, it's been cut into an uneven buzzcut. In fact, when he escapes and slams Noah Bennett against the wall, he snarks "that was for the haircut."
  • In the last episode of Hit & Miss, Mia goes home to try to save her mother. Her sadistic brother took a knife and cut off her hair, making her say "I'm a real boy". Mia, being Transgender, had a breakdown.
  • British soap opera Hollyoaks had a storyline in which Amy Barnes was abused by her boyfriend, including him hacking off her long hair because he thought it made her look childish.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Marshall agrees to let Lily's cousin, who's training to be a hair stylist, style his hair for their wedding and a miscommunication leads to the cousin giving Marshall ugly frosted highlights. In a moment of panic Marshall grabs an electric razor and cuts a massive chunk right out of the middle of his hair which just makes him look even worse. Lily eventually borrows a hat from the venue's gardener to cover it up.
  • iCarly has this happen to Lewbert after his Yandere Psycho Ex-Girlfriend finds him and tries taking him back.
  • In From the Cold: When she's blackmailed by the CIA into their service, Jenny has to cut her long hair short into a sexy style that's better for seducing her target. She's in tears when she does this, due to this being part of getting forced back into an existence she once escaped.
  • In El internado: Las Cumbres it establishes that Las Cumbres is a Boarding School of Horrors:
    • Paz is caught talking on a cell phone after lights out, and Mario, the gym teacher who is monitoring the dorms, drags her off and buzzes off her long hair. The next day at the headmistress Mara's office, Mario claims this was Paz's choice to avoid spreading her lice, but Brother Elias is horrified (both at the punishment and Blatant Lies). Mara is angry, indeed, but at Elias for questioning Mario. She tells Elias that it's her way or the highway.
    • Rita is also punished like this, but she just gets her ponytail lopped off at the nape, leaving her with wildly uneven locks.
  • In Inhumans, Maximus cutting Medusa's hair is especially traumatic because of her Prehensile Hair, making this double as a De-power.
  • In Brazilian soap Laços de Família ("Family Ties"), Camila had her hair shaved, as she would undergo a chemo (she had leukemia). The actress, Carolina Dieckmann, was shaved for real in that scene. The background song, Lara Fabian's "Love by Grace", amplified the dramatic tone.
  • One episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit had a young woman who was a member of an ecoterrorist group fall victim to this trope after she is believed to have leaked intel on the group or one of its members to the authorities.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: When Bulk and Skull decide to join the Angel Grove Junior Police Patrol, we get a comically dragged out scene of their hair being shaved almost into non-existence, with the two simultaneously screaming into mirrors at the end.
  • In Malcolm in the Middle, Lois puts gum in Kristin's, who tormented Reese, motorcycle helmet. Malcolm mentions that the janitor ended up having to cut her hair with a hedgetrimmer. We later see Kristin's new hairdo when Diane breaks down in tears over her butchered dolls.
  • In Neighbours, teen lesbian Lana Crawford is cornered by a gang of girls at school and threatened with scissors, because "all lesbians have short hair". Teachers intervene in time, though.
  • Never Did Me Any Harm - the father has his boys go through with these haircuts. The Dandy Joe really wasn't happy to get his haircut, annoyed at how old fashioned it was (which becomes Hilarious in Hindsight when those haircuts came back into style). Dad relented and wouldn't force his oldest boy Theo to get the cut (as he had the longest hair).
  • On One Life to Live, a crazed Blair believed that the only reason her husband Todd had fallen in love with her was because of her resemblance to Marty—the woman he raped several years prior. To that end, she grabbed a pair of scissors and began cutting away at her hair. Several years later, in order to get revenge on Blair (who had earlier shoved her head into a toilet), her husband's mistress Skye drugged her, then hacked off all her hair once she passed out, giving Blair a very nasty surprise when she woke up the next morning. The funny thing is, in both cases, the actress wanted to cut her hair in Real Life and the show's producers decided to incorporate her decision into the storyline.
  • Penny Dreadful flashed back to Vanessa's stay in a mental asylum - where her long hair was shaved off completely.
  • Agatha Christie's Poirot. In "Murder on the Links" the Belgian detective gets into a bet with an equally arrogant French detective; if Poirot fails to solve the case first he has to cut off his moustache (the French detective would have to give up his trademark pipe). David Suchett is shown with a pair of scissors quivering at his upper lip at one point, but he rallies himself and wins the bet (magnanimously allowing to the loser to keep his pipe. "Because when you light it, you will think of Poirot.")note 
  • In the 2006 BBC Robin Hood series, Marian's hair is forcibly cut in front of the townspeople as punishment for defying the Sheriff. This overlaps somewhat with Important Haircut, since her tough "Night Watchman" persona comes more into focus afterwards.
  • In Rome, Servilia of the Junii is knocked from her litter and is beaten, stripped naked, and has her hair cut with a dagger as an act of revenge from another character. The entire experience is clearly very traumatizing to her, and she spends several days recovering.
  • In Salute Your Shorts, Budnick is briefly persuaded to let his love interest shorten his hair. But as he is led to the barber chair, he imagines it as an electric chair. After a few dramatized snips, he can't take it anymore.
  • The mini-series adaptation The Scarlet Pimpernel:
    • Minette Roland, a young actress, is revealed to have very short hair. It's implied that it was cut because she was sentenced to be guillotined.
    • Marguerite Blakeney's gorgeous dark curly hair gets cut when she's about to be executed.
  • Scrubs:
    • Played for laughs. Throughout the series, there are flashbacks to the two male leads' stay in college, all of which feature Chris Turk with an afro. In the last one, frustration over lost tickets to a basketball game causes Turk to start tearing his hair out in handfuls. At the end of the flashback, JD mentions that this is the reason Turk keeps his head shaved in the present.
    • In another, just as JD starts dating a girl who's in love with his hair, he starts challenging Dr Cox to "go the extra mile" for his patients. His attractive patient is about to lose her hair from chemo, and JD brings in her entire family, who all shave in solidarity. Because it's a sitcom, they expect JD to bald up as well. Which he eventually does. It takes a month for his hair to grow back.
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Barber", Jerry shaves the head of his Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Newman as a form of revenge.
  • Smallville's Lionel Luthor, unlike his spawn, had a lot of hair that he probably did not appreciate having shaved off for admission to general-population prison in the season 3 finale. He DID say "thank you" - also they were playing Mozart's Requiem in a sort of death montage - as the BACKGROUND to the haircutting scene. Most epic haircut ever. It's intercut with shots of his son being poisoned, the key witness in his murder trial walking into a safe house and then having it explode spectacularly, Martha Kent finding a huge Kryptonian symbol burning in the field AND Jonathan Kent collapsed and possibly dying. Yeah, that's epic.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand:
    • The protagonist gets all his long shaggy hair hacked off down to the scalp at the start of episode two when he is purchased as a gladiator to make him look more presentable. Overlaps somewhat with Important Haircut as it is the first part of his induction as a gladiator as well as one of the steps the Romans use to Break the Haughty.
    • Pops up as part of a Bait-and-Switch in the second to last episode of season 1. When it is revealed Naevia and Crixus have been sleeping together, Lucretia is seen attacking Naevia savagely in her chambers and asks for a servant to bring her a knife. Naevia is not seen for the rest of the episode implying she has been killed but she appears at the end scalped before being sent away from the ludus. Crixus gets his revenge in the next episode.
    • The prequel series reveals that Crixus was originally long-haired and had to have his cut short to become Lucretia's Sex Slave. By War of the Damned, he's grown it back out again.
  • In an episode of Stargate SG-1 with an Inferred Holocaust example, Daniel Jackson lost his long floppy hair with no explanation (and kept it that way for the rest of the series' run, partly because it fit his rising levels of badass and partly because curtains were going out of style)... coinciding with waking up the prisoner of someone who actually had raped him once before.
  • Stranger Things:
    • In seasons two and three, Eleven grew her hair out after having spent much of her childhood (including season one) as a lab rat whose hair was kept buzzed due to the nature of the experiments she was subjected to, and clearly enjoyed having it long, associating short hair with her Dark and Troubled Past. In season four, she agrees to undergo a procedure to restore her Psychic Powers, which means that they have to shave her head again. She's horrified when she wakes up and realizes that her beloved hair is gone.
    • In Season 4, Hopper has all his hair and beard shaved off as part of the torture he endures in a sadistic Russian prison.
  • That'll Teach 'Em:
    • The boys had to get short-back-and-sides. Brennon Gunston began as a rocker with long blond hair. After it was all cut off, he had a hard time adjusting to the system. He ended up quitting the show. A Spanish spin-off had girls forced to get regulation haircuts too (to shoulder-length). Some of them really didn't take it well. A Dutch spin-off forced a black girl to remove all her extensions, leaving her hair very short.
    • Richard Mylles was singled out for a punishment haircut as a result for constantly clashing with Matron (and the others noting how "his whole ego's in his hair"). His already short hair was cut even shorter and, although protesting at first, he responded "oh, very good" when he was shown the finished product.
  • Attempted in Top Chef when near the second season, Cliff, Sam, Ilan, and Elia got drunk and decided to shave their heads. After that, they decided to grab Marcel and shave his head. Cliff, a huge black man, pinned Marcel down while he was calling out for help. Marcel managed to wiggle free and lock himself in the bathroom for the rest of the night. Cliff was kicked off of the show for his behavior.
  • In the first episode of Total Divas the office fears that Eva Marie resembles the Bella Twins too much and asks her to dye her hair blonde. Eva revealed later that she had already just got her hair streaked, and the office wasn't happy with that, which is when they asked her to bleach it. She couldn't go through with it and instead chose to become a dark-skinned redhead instead. Fortunately for her, the office liked the final result.
  • The BBC The Tripods TV series adaptation has a scene with a young teen girl getting her head shaved while crying. The head shave is standard before the capping ceremony, and she’s afraid of what’s about to happen.
  • In Argentina there was a show called El Último Pasajero (The Last Passenger) in which two groups of teenagers in their last high school years competed for a graduation trip for the whole class division, which is a tradition between Argentinian students. One of the games, and the most viewed, consisted in a member of one team selecting someone from the opposite team, normally a pretty girl with long hair, in order to get him/her a horrible haircut. The teen could refuse but their classmates made that choice rather difficult, by insisting and treating the girl as a traitor if she didn't accede to the task. Most of the girls who acceded to cut their hair ended up crying. The show was sold to other TV stations outside of Argentina, and the game was kept in at least the Chilean and Peruvian versions.
  • The series Unorthodox depicts the tradition of a new bride having her head shaved at the wedding. Etsy sobs while this happens.
  • In the first arc of the third season of Veronica Mars, there was a subplot about rapists shaving the hair off the girls they raped.
  • In Victorious Cat receives one from Jade. Jade shaves Cat completely bald as revenge for waxing off her eyebrows.
  • The documentary Whose Hair Is It Anyway? features singer Jamelia traveling both to Russia and India to see fresh hair being cut to make hair extensions. The trope is inverted by both Jamelia and Tatiana - who collect the hair from the girls themselves - when they have to take hair from a thirteen-year-old. The girl is happy to sell it but Tatiana is left feeling shaken after taking it, and gives her the equivalent of £100 (much higher than she'd normally give). Jamelia is initially horrified when she sees the hair of Indian people being cut at the temple (including some children who are visibly scared at what's happening) - but then she discovers that the temple uses the money made from selling the hair to feed the poor.
  • Two episodes of The X-Files featured a necrophiliac serial killer obsessed with women's hair, which he would cut from his victims' bodies.
  • Mexican Sketch Comedy series XHDЯBZ features an examples Played for Laughs in one segment of DMS por la noche. Early on, a poll was made on whether the death penalty should be approved or not, merely tallying 8% for "No" and 7% for "Yes." However, a third option appears out of nowhere which states that singer Daniela Romo should get her hair cut, with a whopping 85%. Cue to the DMS staff taking a cursing, thrashing Romo to a barber shop to do just that.
  • Young Sheldon: In "A Second Prodigy and the Hottest Tips for Pouty Lips", Mary gets her hair caught in the sewing machine, so she needs an emergency haircut to extricate herself. Mary goes back to the salon and takes off her hat to show June, who says it's not that bad. We don't actually see Mary's hair, but judging by June's expression when Mary can't see her, it must be quite awful.

  • In Wilfred y la Ganga's song "El Rap de la Abuela" ("Grandmother's Rap"), the narrator goes spend some time with his My Beloved Smother of a grandmother, who demands for him to both shave his beard and cut his hair short. The guy does the first, but not the latter... so the grandmother waits until he falls asleep and hacks his hair off.
  • In "Deep Deep Trouble" from The Simpsons album The Simpsons Sing the Blues, Bart Simpson caps off his tale of sadness by saying that Homer took him down to the barbershop. In the video, we don't get to see the top of Bart's head until the end when he sings the last verses:
    I said, "Please, sir, just a little off the top."
    Dude shaved me bare, gave me a lollipop,
    So on my head there's nothing but stubble.
    Man, I hate being in deep, deep trouble.
  • Vermillion Lies' song "Long Red Hair" takes this Up to Eleven with a pair of sisters "connected by the ends of their long red hair", who die when cut apart.
    The sisters lay there
    Blood poured from the ends of their hair...
  • The imagery of the Samson and Delilah example mentioned below under Myths & Religion is also evoked in "Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright, though the characters involved aren't mentioned by name and it's mixed very closely in with a reference to David and Bathsheba.
    Well, your faith was strong, but you needed proof
    You saw her bathing on the roof
    Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
    She tied you to her kitchen chair
    She broke your throne and she cut your hair
    And from your lips, she drew the Hallelujah
  • In the Kris Kristofferson Anti-Police Song "The Law is for Protection of the People", one of the things that the cops in this song do is hold down a hippie by the name of Homer Lee Hunnicutt and cut his hair.

    Music Videos 
  • A couple have this inflicted on them by a mysterious masked gang in the video for Black Moth Super Rainbow's "Windshield Smasher" - the male half also gets a traumatic beard shave.
  • A military haircut underscores a young man's troubled relationship with his girlfriend in Green Day's music video for "Wake Me Up When September Ends."
  • In the music video for Paramore's "Misery Business", a girl with a long, blonde plait has her braid cut off and presented to her by the bad girl. The blonde is horrified. The bad girl gets what's coming to her, though.
  • In a related subject, Katy Perry puts herself through this when she decides to get over her cheating ex-boyfriend by joining the Marines in the music video to "Part of Me".

    Myths & Religion 
  • In the original Norse Mythology stories, Loki, Thor's best friend and the resident Trickster God, played a prank that involved shaving Sif. While no picnic for her, it was more traumatic for her husband Thor than it was for her (or at least, the story only focused on Thor's reaction). Thor had something of a hair fetish, so with Loki shaving his wife's hair, he was so angry he threatened to kill Loki if he didn't fix it. This lead to the origin of how Thor acquired his signature hammer Mjolnir, as well as several other keen aspects of both his and Odin's characters, and Loki's punishment in the end is one of the contributing factors that lead to his eventual Start of Darkness, and in turn Ragnarok itself.
  • In Classical Mythology King Nisus of the Megarians had a red/purple lock of hair, which made him invincible. His daughter Scylla (not the one from The Odyssey) fell in love with the invading king, Minos, and cut it off to give to him. Unfortunately for her, Minos was utterly horrified at her lack of filial loyalty and ditched her. She and Nisus got turned into birds, forever predator and prey. That's the Greek version; there may be others. In some versions, it turns out yes, it is 'that Scylla'. You do not murder your father, dearie, there are consequences!
  • The Bible:
    • After losing his precious locks to Delilah (and his godlike strength), Samson is captured by the Phillistines, has both eyes gouged out, and chained between two pillars to serve as entertainment at a party, making this trope Older Than Feudalism. In this case, it wasn't the hair itself that was the source of power — God had decreed He would empower Samson so long as he followed the restrictions of a Nazarite but Samson broke every single one of them — getting his hair cut was the last straw, at which point God withdrew His blessing until Samson asked forgiveness and God gave him his strength back, allowing Samson to die honorably through Taking You with Me.
    • Also, the instructions for when an Israelite soldier decided that a (non-Canaanite) female prisoner of war was attractive. After the war was over, he was to take her into his home, shave her head and trim her nails, get rid of her old clothes and other cultural attachments, and give her a month to mourn her family and culture. After that month of mourning was up, she would become his wife. If he then decided that he didn't want her anymore, he was to let her go free, and was not allowed to sell her into slavery.
    • An incident of forced shaving happened to envoys sent by King David to the Ammonites (2 Samuel 10). In that case, the envoys only lost half of their beards... but they also lost the bottom half of their garments. The Ammonites came to regret their decision.
  • In Celtic Mythology, Cuchulainn cuts off Findabair's hair in the Cattle Raid of Cooley due to her being a pawn of her mother Maeve, the queen who orchestrated the raid on Ulster.
  • In the Algonquin story "The Bride of Strong Wind," one of the many abuses Oochigeaskw suffers at the hands of her older sisters is having her long hair cut off. Thankfully, it grows back (among other miracles) after Strong Wind accepts her request to marry him.
  • In Feudal Japan, sudden and inexplicable hair-cutting was known as "Kamikiri." Incidents were variously blamed on demonic winds, kitsune, and strange mantis-like insects.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The entire point of the Hair vs. Hair match, in which both participants put their hair, and thus the entirety of their dignity, on the line. Look for the loser to behave as if he or she has been through an exceptionally traumatic event, and attempt to cover up the shame with wigs, bandannas, and the like.
  • The first really high profile and thus all the more humiliating shavings in Mexico came in 1942 when Bobby Segura, who would become known for unmasking luchadors, put his hair on the line against El Enmascarado Rojo' in Arena Modelo at an EMLL event and lost, resulting in the first (but not the last) shaving for his efforts. It was so dramatic EMLL gave Rojo another chance the next week, where he shaved Puma Valderrama and then put El Santo in a hair vs mask match against Bobby Bonales during their tenth Aniversario tour (Santo would not unmask for another forty one years so you know how that went)
  • An early case outside of Mexico to get big press was the Maple Leaf Wrestling hair vs beard match, where Ivan Rasputin lost his facial hair to Nanjo Singh.
  • During his feud with baby face The Destroyer, one of Gorgeous George's most humiliating defeats happened to be a hair vs mask match loss, which stung more than usual, given George was...effeminate, being the trope name for Gorgeous George and all.
  • During their 'learning' excursion from All Japan Pro Wrestling to the Continental Wrestling Association in 1981, Atsushi Onita and Masanobu Fuchi lost a Tag Team hairs vs hairs match to Bill Dundee and Steve Keirn. Fuchi would take it well in the long run, becoming known for keeping his hair short, Onita, not so much.
  • As luchadoras would not be recognized by the Comisión de Box y Lucha Libre for another three years, La Galáctica shaving Jaguar Yokota as the result of a lost wager during a 1983 All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling show was the first time many fans had heard of women participating in such a thing.
  • The Heenan Family "raped André the Giant of his dignity" when Big John Studd and Ken Patera cut off Andre's long hair in 1984. Not the only example, but maybe the most disturbing. There's also Edge (to a smaller degree) in WWE, Seth Skyfire/Chet the Jet in OVW and Erick Stevens in Ring of Honor.
  • During the 1986 Great American Bash tour, Jimmy Valiant faced Shaska Whatley in a hair vs. hair match, with Valiant winning by knocking Shaska out with a loaded glove. Shaska was still unconscious while the deed was done and woke up to find his hair lying on the mat. He tried to put it back on his head. Shaska got his revenge a few nights later when Jimmy Valiant faced Shaska's manager, Paul Jones, in another hair vs. hair match. Shaska interfered to help Jones win and stick it to Valiant. After the match, many of the face wrestlers tried to stop Valiant from going through with it, telling him he could protest to the NWA Board over Shaska's interference. Valiant went through with it anyway.
  • For years in the Memphis territory, Jerry Lawler was undefeated in hair vs. hair matches. In 1987, he faced Austin Idol in a steel cage hair vs. hair match. The cage went around the entire ringside area to keep Idol's manager, Paul Heyman, from interfering, but Tommy Rich had been hiding under the ring since before the show started. Rich interfered and helped Idol win, leading to Lawler (who was EXTREMELY popular in Memphis) getting his head shaved. The haircut was evidently more traumatic to the fans, who rioted while it took place (one fan actually started climbing up the cage). Idol, Rich and Heyman needed a police escort to get back to the locker room.
  • One especially disturbing example was Roddy Piper shaving a struggling dwarf to resemble Mr. T, who he was feuding with at the time.
  • Roddy Piper was also involved in the incident which gave Brutus Beefcake the nickname "The Barber". Piper had his "retirement" match at WrestleMania III with Adrian Adonis (Piper's retirement lasted less than two years). During the lead-up to WrestleMania Adonis teamed with Beefcake and Greg Valentine against Rick Martel, Tom Zenk and Lanny Poffo in a 6-man tag team match. By this time, Piper vs. Adonis was already slated to be hair vs. hair. During the match, Beefcake had Martel backed against his team's corner and Adonis took out a pair of scissors, planning on cutting Martel's hair to show what he'd do to Piper. Martel switched places and put Beefcake in the corner, causing Adonis to cut his hair by accident. At WrestleMania Piper beat Adonis with a sleeper hold, knocking him out, at which point Beefcake returned the favor and shaved Adonis bald.
  • First attempted on Konnan by As Charro in February 1989. Perro Aguayo would eventually take his mask two years later but Konnan remained undefeated in hair matches for the rest of his career, getting Aguayo shaved later that year as well as shaving Rey Gestas, Jake Roberts(who tried to end Konnan's career by interfering in his retirement match), Cien Caras (in a steel cage no less) and Mike Awesome, among others.
  • One of the indignities Bam Bam Bigelow dealt to Tatanka during their 1993 feud was cutting a chunk of his hair out.
  • At AAA's famous When Worlds Collide show in 1994, Octagón and El Hijo del Santo humbled two of AAA's most hated rudos, The Love Machine Art Barr and Eddie Guerrero of Los Gringos Locos, by defeating them in a mask versus hair match. This show, co-produced by WCW, was the first mainstream American exposure to the Mexican lucha libre style. The mask vs. hair match was also Barr's last appearance, as he would die later that month, and Eddie's first real exposure to an English-speaking audience during his pro wrestling career.
  • Jacqueline once attacked Sable from behind and cut a chunk off her hair. For several weeks she would wear the hair tied onto her own. The hair likely wasn't real though - Sable appeared with it back to its original length the next week.
  • Miss Kitty had one of these done to her by Terri Runnels during a makeover. Terri took her to the beauty parlour supposedly for a day of pampering but spiked her drink. Kitty woke up with her hair cut and badly coloured. And Terri had done the same to her dog too.
  • Crossing over into Real Life: WWE producer Michael Hayes received one during the infamous Plane Ride From Hell in 2002. During the flight, an apparently highly intoxicated Hayes nearly urinated on Linda McMahon (thinking he was in a bathroom), picked a fight with John Layfield, and continued in obnoxious behavior until he fell asleep. Enter X-Pac, who sneaked up on the sleeping Hayes and cut off his signature mullet, to the applause of the entire plane. Hayes didn't discover his mullet was gone until he was in customs back in the States, and had a flip-out in the middle of the line.
  • Sinister Minister got the pleasure of shaving his nemesis, Raven, after he was defeated by Shane Douglas in 2003, during TNA's weekly PPV era.
  • In 2003, Alex Shelley was shaved in IWA Mid-South after he put his hair on the line against the boot hair of Jimmy Jacobs.
  • Molly Holly at WrestleMania 20. After being defeated by Victoria, she was strapped into a barber's chair and had her head shaved, prompting her to wear wigs with a chin strap attached because she was so embarrassed. In reality, the whole thing was her idea, because she noticed there wasn't going to be a women's match at all on the roster and decided to take drastic measures. She considers it to be her single-favorite moment of her career, and kind of wished that it was more culturally acceptable for a woman to be bald, because she loved it. Hers was traumatic for another reason. During the head shaving, the plastic guard on the clippers came off and, combined with Victoria's inexperience with using hair clippers, chewed up Molly's scalp. She wasn't acting. She was in real life pain! In 2013, at the opening of Victoria's wrestling-themed restaurant in Chicago, Molly showed up for revenge to give Victoria a Traumatic Haircut of her own - with a kitchen knife!
  • Big Show was shot with a tranquilizer dart and had his head shaved in the ring by Kurt Angle. Most disturbing was that Angle was making noises like he was getting off on it, though nothing explicitly sexual, while announcer Michael Cole went on and on about how Angle was "raping Big Show of his dignity". Repeatedly. For several weeks afterwards when referencing the event. Kurt Angle himself is a victim of this, having lost a Hair vs. Hair match to Edge. However, after a few weeks of embarrassing toupees, Angle has kept the look since. Supposedly, the whole reason they did that was because Angle was losing his hair anyway.
  • At WrestleMania 23, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Donald Trump, and Bobby Lashley beat Vince McMahon up and shaved his head after Lashley had defeated Umaga. Vince was humiliated and constantly covered his head with anything he could find, which led to a hilarious moment when he stuck his head up Lilian Garcia's skirt. Vince then vowed revenge and made Bobby Lashley's life a living hell for several months. Vince eventually grew his hair back.
  • A few weeks before the WrestleMania 23 match, Vince and Umaga beat the crap out of Eugene and shaved his head, while boasting that the same thing would happen to Trump. Obviously, that didn't go as planned.
  • At Sacrifice 2008, Roxxi Laveaux lost a hair vs hair match and got her head shaved. Similar to Molly Holly, it was necessary because her hair had been ruined from constant dyeing. She kept her bald look for several months before growing it back. Of note it was not the hair of her opponent on the line but that of Angelina Love, who with The Beautiful People stable (Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne) would often assault people and cut out chunks of their hair with scissors and sabotaged the match to ensure Laveaux lost. They had also been involved in an angle where "The Governor" fooled them into thinking she was Sarah Palin. Once Laveaux and Taylor Wilde revealed to them she wasn't, The Beautiful People were furious at being humiliated, triple teaming not Palin and cutting chunks off her hair.
  • In February of 2010, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toru Yano were booked in a rubber match, but when Tanahashi won he was attacked by Masato Tanaka and Yano cut some of Tanahashi's hair. After Tanahashi and Yano had it out for another four months, Tanahashi beat Yano in a hair versus hair match only for Takashi Iizuka of CHAOS to attack him to prevent Yano from being shaved. When they instead tried to shave Tanahashi though Yoshihiro Tajiri made his official return to New Japan Pro-Wrestling to save his former rival and ensure Yano was shaved.
  • CM Punk, as the leader of the Straight Edge Society, had his "disciples" shave their heads as a sign of faith to the Straight Edge lifestyle, ended up a victim of this courtesy of Rey Mysterio Jr.. Punk covered it up with a luchador-esque mask, but ended up having that forcibly removed by Big Show during an episode of SmackDown. He's kept his hair short since then.note 
  • This was the effect intended when Toru Yano, now fashioning himself a barber, destroyed Montel Vontavious Porter's cornrows after losing to him in the New Japan Pro-Wrestling Invasion Tour 2011 and failing to become the first IWGP Intercontinental Champion.
  • Perhaps not the most traumatic example but Mercedes Martinez used to think Serena Deeb was cool, up until Deeb took out a piece of Martinez's hair. From there, their relationship deteriorated to Mercedes vowing to end Deeb's career (or worse).
  • Vendetta Pro Wrestling Terror Rising 2012 saw Matt Hardy shave Billy Blade in revenge for assaulting girlfriend Reby Sky.
  • When Su/Ka became the number one contenders for the Ballard Brother's Vendetta Pro Wrestling Tag Team Title belts, the Ballards assaulted them, tied up Sunami and started cutting off his beard with a pair of scissors. A good deal of the beard managed to be saved however.
  • During Shine 20's "Last Woman Standing Match" between Jessicka Havok and Allysin Kay, Su Yung tried to keep Havok down by tying her up. Havok freed herself with a pair of scissors and then went to work on Kay's hair.
  • A year after she betrayed her nationality just to spite the relentlessly positive and optimistic Courtney Rush in SMASH, Cherry Bomb finally found a way to get to her by subjecting Rush to an unwanted haircut in 2015. It ended up working a little too well.
  • After defeating Bullet Club's then newest member, Adam Page, Jay Lethal vowed to run through each and every last member of the group, one by one. However Bullet Club had no intention of playing along and ended up ganging up on Lethal so Adam Cole could shave his head. Lethal wasn't Cole's first head-shaving victim. Two years earlier Cole and The Kingdom attacked Michael Elgin after a match and shaved his trademark mullet off.
  • On July 31, 2020, Sonya Deville beat up Mandy Rose and cut out chunks of her hair. This was originally to set up a Hair vs Hair match for SummerSlam but got changed to a 'Loser Leaves WWE' match.note 
  • On March 28, 2022, Becky Lynch attacked Bianca Belair and attempted to cut her ponytail off with scissors, but Bianca recovered and knocked Lynch out before cutting chunks of her hair.

  • The Goon Show: "The Phantom Head Shaver of Brighton"; This is the tale of QC Hairy Seagoon, in order to prove the innocence of his client Nugent Dirt, tries to track down the mysterious criminal who shaves the heads of the Brighton populace while they sleep.

  • Behind The Veil: When Kathleen Allan sold her ex-husband to a Mage in exchange for another werewolf, she had little idea that his current lover Roxanne Pavlenco would take it so badly. Less than two hours later she found herself kidnapped by said lover, tied up and forcibly shaved when she wasn't forthcoming with who she sold him too.
  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, a flashforward shows a future where Zia is detained and has her distinctive purple undercut forcibly shaved off, something that pisses her off to no end.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer:
    • An incident like that started a war between the elves and dwarves. The elves had a dwarven emissary shaved, which became the famous last straw. The war has subsequently been known as the "War of Vengeance" to the dwarves, and the "War of the Beard" to anyone else currently out of dwarven earshot. Not just shaved, but also laughed out of court, beaten, shaved and sent back to the dwarven kingdoms in that state. But the beard was the main reason.
    • The orc warlord Gorfang Rotgut made an enemy of the dwarf king Kazador Dragonslayer by infiltrating his keep, abducting several of his family members and finally shaving Kazador's son and leaving him tied to Kazador's throne. The son was permanently traumatized by the haircut, and Kazador went from a Boisterous Bruiser to a permanently grim and sombre individual who swore a terrible oath of vengeance on Gorfang.
    • The ritual for becoming a Slayer in dwarven society involves shaving your head except for a huge mohawk and dyeing it orange, so that anyone can see at a glance your disgrace. There is also one canonical example in the Gotrek & Felix novels of a dwarf who became a slayer after losing his beard; the slayer wore a leather mask (with a fake beard) to cover up their shame.

  • In Christopher Marlowe's Edward II, the king has his beard forcibly shaved off during his imprisonment, to prevent his identification and rescue.
  • Into the Woods: The Witch angrily cuts off Rapunzel's hair after she discovers she let her prince in the tower and banishes her to the desert.
  • Played for comedy by Harpo Marx, though he didn't limit himself to hair. A memorable example that made it to the movies appeared in A Night at the Opera.
  • Fantine in Les Misérables willingly sells her hair to raise money to help her daughter Cosette. It is the first step towards her degradation and shame, as her beautiful hair is one of the few things left she has of beauty and sentimental value.
  • The Ancient Greek playwright Menander had a play titled Perikeiromene which translates as "Girl who has her hair cropped". This refers to an incident prior to the action of the play, where the hero suspects his mistress of infidelity and shears her hair as punishment.
  • Which Witch The Musical: As a part of the witch trial Maria's beautiful long hair is cut very short.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • ATTACK on MIKA: Fed up with Tsukasa stealing Yuji's attention from her, Ririna follows her to the bathroom and forcibly cuts off her hair after dumping a bucket of water on her.
  • There are GoAnimate videos which involve the grounding victim getting a haircut for a punishment. A good number of videos interpreting how Caillou became bald could also count. They usually involve his dad shaving his hair off as punishment.
  • MoniRobo:
  • Trouble Busters: Aaron's mother shaved the back of his fiancé Helen's hair at their wedding because she didn't like her.

  • Alien Dice:
    • Everytime Lexx rolls up a level, his hair grows out and sometimes changes color. He normally cuts it back to his normal, short, length, but he still sees it as a sign of one more situation he has no control over. Since his lack of personal freedom is a major part of his backstory, he's understandably very controlling about his hair.
    • Chel has her waist-length hair cut when she is kidnapped. Soon after, she breaks a mirror to make a knife so that she can cut her hair further (removing a rat-tail that the kidnappers left) and re-assert her independence and control.
  • April in College Roomies from Hell!!! has her hair cut after she kills another character.
  • In a rare male example, Bumper in Dominic Deegan becomes keen to genuinely hurt the eponymous seer after Dominic's actions result in Bumper losing his topknot.
  • Since long hair is a sign of status in the world of Drowtales having it forcibly cut or shaved is naturally extremely traumatic and insulting. One character we see this happen to is Abyte in a flashback, where after she was accidentally tainted and refused to kill herself since the Warden actually responsible refused to admit fault, so she was instead thrown in prison, had a heretic mark carved into her forehead with a knife and was shaved bald. Also shown with Verthandi in chapter 48 when one of her kinsmen forcibly cuts off her hair and explicitly says she's not worthy of long hair thanks to her traitorous actions.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Anthony Carver takes control of Annie's life. The next time Kat sees Annie, she has one of these. Doubles as an Expository Hairstyle Change—it's the same haircut she had as a young child (and at the beginning of her schooling). Coupled with the comic's Art Shift at various points, it's clear Annie is regressing.
  • Joe vs. Elan School: It's mentioned that Elan School often cuts its inmates' hair to remove what it calls "image," which is the school's way of removing its inmates' sense of identity. Specifically, a 14-year-old inmate at Elan named Sandra is said to have had long hair that had never been cut in her life. According to Katie, the first thing the school does is cut all of Sandra's hair off; other girls were allowed to have long hair, but because Sandra's was important to her, the school decided that it had to go. When Sandra protests, the school calls her attention-seeking, deceiving, and manipulative. After her hair is cut, she loses her mind and becomes the staff's punching bag.
  • In Kevin & Kell, Frank, desperate to win the weight-loss challenge against Kell, shaves off his entire mane. Desdemona points out that Kell would win instead if she cut off her hair, but Kell can't bring herself to do it.
  • Charlie and Tom in Khaos Komix are attacked by a mob of their schoolmates after Charlie shows up in school in a girls' uniform, and during the beatdown, Charlie is given a choice: either she cuts her hair, or the ringleader's boyfriend vaginally rapes Tom.
  • Xylan attempts this on June in The Legend of Maxx. However, it doesn't really take: it serves to anger her more than anything else.
  • In Lint by Colby Purcell, Al'bert du Fromage (the elvish noble and evil henchman) is obsessed with his long hair (particularly the single white strain) as a running gag. The hero once threatened to cut it off while questioning him, causing him to break immediately. Later, to punish his failure, his boss Lord Fang ordered his men to throw Al'bert in the dungeon and "... cut his hair too, would you?", prompting a "NOOOOOOOO!".
  • One-Punch Man:
    • Speed o' Sound Sonic gets his hair hacked off by Genos during their fight. This got Sonic pissed off enough to use his ultimate secret technique.
    • Extends to Saitama himself as before he became a hero, he used to have a head full of hair. After undergoing his training that made him overpowered, he lost his hair in the process.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Haley's rival Crystal knocks Haley out, cuts off her ponytail with a dagger, then proceeds to trim off a good deal of the rest of her hair as revenge for a quip Haley had made when they were teenagers about Crystal's short haircut. Subverted in that Haley, while annoyed, refuses to let it distract her from the business at hand. (Interestingly enough, it makes her look like the earlier representative of her personality that wants to [paraphrase] "Stop all the emo stuff and get back to the jokes," who, along with self-reliance and optimism, gets Haley out of her depressed funk.) Gets a lampshading a little later, when she gets her long hair magically restored and Elan says he'd assumed the new do was meant to represent her character development... but nope, it was just a haircut.
  • Rain: The title character had one inflicted on her by her sister Kellen, which came very close to the Moral Event Horizon for the latter and became a significant plot point moving forward.

    Web Original 
  • Google Doodle Soccer WM 2014 gag on July 8 Poor Andrea Pirlo...
  • In Moonflowers, Owen is a handsome young man with long black hair. He's also gay. When three men attack him, he's angry but restrained enough to just snark at them. When one of them hacks his hair off with a knife and reveals the scar Owen got from another homophobic attack, Owen starts cussing him out and screaming that he'll kill him.
  • Subverted in this Mother's Blog. A mother taking her daughter for a trim and thin saw the hairdresser grab the scissors instead of thinning shears, and cut a chunk of the hair by accident. The daughter was given a choice to cut the rest to match or leave it. She opted to leave it and just wear it in pigtails until it grew back.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • D.W. gets one in Arthur after a mishap at the barber shop forces her to get her hair cut very short.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • At the beginning of the second season when Zuko and Iroh are forced to go on the run from Azula, they are required to cut off their ponytail and top knot to hide the fact that they are Fire Nation from the Earth Kingdom populace they intend to hide amongst. Although they are cutting off their own hair, the gravity with which the act is performed (combined with the obvious cultural relevance of the hairstyle since virtually every Fire Nation person is seen to have it) makes it clear that the act is a symbolic acknowledgement of the fact that they will never be able to return to their homeland. It crosses into Expository Hairstyle Change as well, since from then on Zuko's Character Development is symbolized through how his hair is styled.
    • Azula gets one in the series finale. Self-inflicted and a sign that she just went way off the deep end.
  • Big Mouth: In "Am I Normal?" Andrew's dad forcibly waxes off Andrew's mustache because he finds it "disgusting." This upsets Andrew so much that he rushes into the bleachers to try and beat up his dad during a basketball game.
  • The deranged barber, Freaky Fred, from Courage the Cowardly Dog is very prone to lock raping when he can't resist the temptation. Especially accompanied by his Catchphrase.
  • The eponymous man in Dan Vs. falls victim to this when a barber deliberately butchers his hair after learning that Dan is dating his daughter, prompting Dan to declare vengeance on the barber.
  • In Doug. Connie gets a bad haircut, leaving half her head bald and the other half very short. She hides it under a hat when she attends a party at Doug's house. Roger dares Doug to remove Connie's hat, but when Doug refuses, Roger snatches Connie's hat, exposing her bad haircut. Connie responds by elbowing Roger and telling him to grow up.
  • Oddly enough, inverted at one point in Gravity Falls. A bully sticks a piece of gum in Mabel's hair on picture day, causing her to dissolve into tears. Dipper cheers her up by finding a razor and convincing her to just shave a chunk of it right off - using his own hair to demonstrate. In the end, Mabel is comforted by the fact that they get to have a horrible school picture together.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Lucius got his horns roughly cut off thanks to Jimmy, resulting in him sobbing for a good deal of the episode. Another episode had this actually happen with his hair...his four tiny, microscopic hairs. It seems to have the same effect on him.
  • An episode of KaBlam! begins with Henry coming in embarrassed about his new haircut. So June decides to mess it up.
  • King of the Hill:
    • Hank and his friends have to get their heads shaved after Bill infests them with head lice.
    • In the third season opener Luanne gets her hair burned off in the propane explosion, she actually spends most of the season with short hair until it eventually grows back to its previous length.
    • It appears all the new recruits Bill shaves are often crying when he does so. Ironically the people in line laugh at the one crying, despite the fact the same thing will be happening to them soon.
  • In the Madeline animated movie "Lost in Paris", this is downplayed. LaCroque threatens the lace shop girls with this all the time because lace is supposedly made from human hair. But when she finally cuts Madeline's hair, it's a few strands on one side; this is treated as if the poor girl has been shorn. Her 11 schoolmates later copy the cut in solidarity. However, Fifi's haircut is much more ragged and unattractive, thus playing the trope a little straighter.
  • In My Little Pony 'n Friends episode "The Glass Princess", Lickety Split, Hearth Throb and Gusty are kidnapped and have their manes shaven to weave a magic cloak. It grows back immediately, but it was still fairly traumatic.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the pilot a camp river serpent throws a hissy-fit because he lost part of his mustache to Nightmare Moon. Rarity immediately cuts off her own tail to fashion a replacement mustache for him.
    • Played for laughs when Rarity accidentally shampoos her mane with a magical remover formula, causing a good majority of her mane to get disintegrated.
  • The Owl House has the inverse of this. At the start of "Thanks to Them", a long-haired Hunter hallucinates Belos and Caleb staring back at him in the mirror, chops his own hair off in a panic, and rocks a crewcut for the rest of his time in the human realm. However, when Belos takes over his body in the episode's climax, he forces Hunter's hair to rapidly grow longer, leaving him with a scraggly-looking mullet. Given that Hunter chopped off his own hair in an attempt to look less like Belos, this is just an extra slap in the face.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • In "The Mane Event" Bubbles and Buttercup accidentally pull out a huge chunk of Blossom's hair while playing with it, and their attempts to fix their mistake were less than successful, making her look like she lost a fight with a lawn mower. She eventually gets revenge on the other two by butchering their hair. It's all back to normal next episode.
    • In the World Premiere Toons short, "Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins," Bubbles has one pigtail turned into a drumstick by Fuzzy's Meat Gun. This proves ill for Fuzzy Lumpkins.
    • Bubbles becomes a lovely victim to this trope in the reboot. In "Bubbles of the Opera", the apprentice for the hair salon turns out to be the same woman who gave Bubbles a bad school photo. She makes Bubbles' hair very short. The apprentice ends up getting a restraining order for this.
  • Rugrats:
    • "Chuckie's First Haircut": Chuckie had to get his hair cut. Since he's only a timid, two-year old, he didn't want one. It didn't help that Angelica terrified him into believing that a hair cut involves having every one of his hairs pulled out by the roots and that his father ended up suffering a traumatic haircut when he tried to show him that haircuts were harmless.
    • "Showdown at Teeter-Totter Gulch": Tommy and Chuckie visit a playground where a bully known as "The Junk Food Kid" terrorizes all the kids who play there. The bully turns out to be a candy-eating toddler, and ends up blowing a huge bubble with her gum and smashing it into the long golden curls of another of the babies, and she has to get all the hair cut off. At the climax of the episode, however, the Junk Food Kid tries the same thing on Tommy, but he pops the bubble, causing the same thing to happen to her.
  • Averted (and very notable) in Samurai Jack, where normally, as noted below, a samurai would kill himself if he lost his topknot.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Offscreen and Implied but no less disturbing example during Season 5. Major spoiler warning: After Adora arrives on Horde Prime's flagship during a Roaring Rampage of Rescue for Glimmer and Catra, a Wham Shot reveals that the latter is now directly under Prime's control, wearing the army uniform and the same cropped military haircut as Prime's clone army. Given that Catra's Wild Barbarian Longhair has been her trademark since the first episode, the implications via context are downright shocking.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Lisa gets a large wad of gum in her hair and people spend the rest of the episode trying homespun recipes to get it out (honey, peanut butter, etc). Finally she gives up and goes to a barber, who tells her he understands how important a girl's hair is. Cue the next shot, where he's just shaved that part of her head. And then next shot, where Lisa has a nice hairstyle. "I look like a real person!". Then Lisa goes outside and immediately Nelson goes "Haw haw!" at her; she sticks a bobble-hat over her head to hide her cool new hairstyle, suddenly and inexplicably ashamed of what she had liked just moments before.
    • In a season 4 episode, during a flashback, two-year-old Bart, jealous of all the attention Lisa is getting cuts off all her hair. "Who's cuter now?"
    • In the episode "Simpson Tide", Homer tries to avoid getting his head shaven after joining the US Navy Reserve. He isn't successful and is left holding the few strands of hair in his hands.
      Homer: Ohh, I'm a freak!
    • In "Dog of Death", the family must cut costs to afford an operation for a sick Santa's Little Helper; forcing Bart to get a cheap haircut from a student at the local barber college. The results are unfortunate.
    • In "Itchy & Scratchy Land", Homer gets his strands of hair chopped off by Robot Itchy while dodging his axe.
      Homer: Aah! My hair. You chopped off my Hair! Oh God, I'm ugly!
    • After Maude Flanders is Killed Off for Real, Ned begins a relationship with a Christian Rock singer. She wakes up one morning, horrified to find that Ned has cut her hair like Maude used to wear hers, while she was sleeping, and angrily leaves him. Later, she reappears, and Ned comments that her hair has grown back. She responds that it's a wig, and that she doesn't want to talk about it again.
    • In "Blazed and Confused", Bart's new substitute Jack Lassen shaves Bart's hair for attempting to pull a prank on him.
  • Averted in The Smurfs (1981) episode "Smurfette's Golden Tresses". Hogatha captures Smurfette and orders her to cut off all her hair so that the evil witch could use it to give herself natural blond hair. Papa Smurf has Smurfette hide her hair underneath her hat and then has Barber snip off some fur from a bearskin rug and dye it yellow to make it look like Smurfette cut off all her hair.
  • In the Time Travel episode of Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM), Sonic runs into a younger version of Snively with a full head of hair. He cockily introduces himself and speeds off, blowing Snively's hair away. It's apparently then that he decides he hates Sonic.
  • Steven Universe: Future: Greg has to lop off his glorious mane to escape Aquamarine and Eyeball and begins mourning it like a soldier that's been gunned down, while Steven gets so angry about it that he briefly goes into Pink Steven form in response.
  • Reef gets this twice in Stōked:
    • In "Who Knows What Evil Lurks In The Heart of Clam?", Amber Green cuts off a good chunk of Reef's hair to keep it in her locket. Reef does not take this well and tells Fin that he is sorry for jumping to conclusions. He wears a hat for the remainder of the episode.
    • In the Grand Finale "Grom Fest", Reef loses his hair after crashing into Lo's boat. What happened was Reef was distracted by the Kahuna's comment on Reef being a "jerk" to the point he wasn't paying attention to where he was going. Reef was stuck between pieces of wood and Fin saved him at the cost of his top part of his hair. Later on, after taking the Kahuna's "hair depilatory", thinking it meant regrowth when it actually meant removal, Reef becomes completely bald.
  • Near the end of Total Drama Island, Heather's hair is forcibly shaved off. She is not pleased. Afterwards, she spends the entire second season bald and the third season with her hair only partially grown back. Also in the third season finale Sierra gets her hair burned off in the plane explosion.
  • In a Woody Woodpecker cartoon, Woody takes refuge in a barber shop when he hears a lion has escaped the circus, only for said lion to barge in and demand a place to hide. Woody eventually offers to give him a "disguise", and proceeds to shave him bald. Among other things. (The lion gets even at the end, shaving Woody the same way.)

    Real Life 
  • Often done as a form of punishment to the person getting the haircut, or as a form of atonement by the person. Both are often done in cultures where hair has a cultural/religious significance, thus having it shows either that the person had done something notably bad, and/or is willing to atone for this.
    • Cutting your own hair (even shaving it fully) as atonement is still often done by people, especially public figures in East Asian cultures.
  • Shaving a woman's hair, or cutting it short, used to be a humiliating punishment for a very long time in many cultures, including Europe; in parts of Europe, a woman with short hair was often thought to be a scandalous sight even in the early 20th century. It was usually used as punishment for adultery and thus was as traumatic as having the word 'whore' tattooed on your forehead.
  • World War II collaborators (generally women who had sex with Germans) usually had their heads shaved once the Nazis were kicked out of the town. The reason women were the main target of revenge-minded mobs in newly-liberated areas was because most of the serious collaborators (officials, company heads, officers, local right-wing party members etc.) had already been arrested by their governments for treason, and were awaiting sentence. Or if you want to be cynical, such women were easy targets compared to those in authority, who often kept their positions even after the war. Others were simply shot.
  • The Nazis were fond of doing this to those consigned to concentration and death camps during The Holocaust, though that was mostly a matter of lice control, or, in some cases, to make stuffing, woven fabrics or boot lining. Discarded hair from ordinary barbershops was also collected for the same purposes.
  • There was the generally antisemitic practice of cutting off the peyes, or religiously significant side-curls and beards of Orthodox Jewish men.
  • According to this article on The Other Wiki, forced/required head shaving is used on prisoners and U.S. Marine Corps recruits, though for the latter it's probably more of an Important Haircut.
  • The Important Haircut variant is common to all branches. Army recruits have the "barely there" shave until the end of Basic. Also called 'peeling your scalp'. Drill sergeants intentionally invoke this trope as part of your introductory hazing. The more hair you arrive with, the more malicious glee they, and the barber, take in rubbing your nose in it. Female Officer Candidates in Navy OCS get an Important Haircut upon enrollment. They have their hair shorn down to less than two inches; this is singular in the US military, where most of the time women are required only to wear their hair off their collar and out of their face. Male OCs get the typical "high and tight" described by the Marine above. Females entering the U.S. Naval Academy also receive this haircut.
  • In countries with conscription, like Russia (where it is especially hated) army hair cuts are truly traumatic haircuts.
    • Averted, surprisingly, in the Israel Defense Forces, where not every conscript has his head shaved. Female conscripts keep their hair (as long as it's kept out of the way) and male conscripts don't face military barbers if their hair is already acceptably short.
  • As back as late 40s there existed a Russian non-conformist sub-culture, known as "stilyagi", which consisted mostly of youth intrigued by Western fashion and popular culture. Since having long hair (for men) was an iconic part of that subculture, it naturally led to this trope being employed as (mostly unofficial) "corrective measures".
  • The Qing Dynasty was ruled by the Manchurians, who forced the Chinese to shave their foreheads and have a ponytail, called a queue, which became the stereotypical hairstyle of the Orient back in those days. Losing the ponytail was not only a loss of honor, but also punishable by death. As such, you can imagine why people were frightened when they heard stories about sorcerers or secret societies traveling about stealing queues. Given that Han Chinese hated the queue requirement across the board it would probably be better to say that having the hair cut (and shaved forehead that went with it) was the real dishonor. Cutting it off became the definitive method of declaring oneself a rebel against the Qing. And again, a declaration that others could make for one. When Han Chinese came to the U.S., they were often worried about cutting off their queues because once they did so, it would be impossible to return to their homeland. Cutting off the hair of a railroad worker often meant they could never escape their lot in life. The richer, western-educated Chinese would often have a wig made with queue, for ease of travel within China.
  • Back in the day when the Rastafari were persecuted in Jamaica, cutting off their dreadlocks was a common nasty trick the police would do to them.
  • Back during the 60s, hippies would sometimes receive the same treatment from police in regards to their long hair.
  • In ancient Japan, a woman's hair was considered one of her greatest treasures. Cutting her hair off against her will was considered to be on a level with raping her. So when it happens in anime it is significant by Japanese cultural standards (example: early in YuYu Hakusho, when Keiko enters Yusuke's burning house to save his still dead body. While she succeeds, Koenma states that, in return for saving her life, he had to take something away from her body. That, as it turns out, was her then-long hair - handwaved in which the fire had burned the hair at its tips, so they had to be cut off already. Yusuke gets pretty mad at Koenma when he sees this, though it's mostly because, the way Koenma worded it, Yusuke assumed he would take something more permanent).
  • If a samurai lost his topknot in a fight it was considered far worse than losing his head, and he'd have to commit seppuku to regain his honor. The movie Harakiri explores this and other samurai rules of honor in depth (and the hypocrisy in which the rules were often applied).
    • During the Meiji Restoration, there was a concerted (and, eventually, successful) push to abolish the samurai class. One of the reforms implemented was banning topknots. Those born to the shizoku (privileged) class mostly opposed this move and many of them continued to wear topknots in defiance of the ban. As one of the responses from the Japanese government, schoolteachers were instructed to cut topknots off of any students that still wore the style (occasionally complicated in the more remote areas of Japan where the "schoolchildren" had delayed their education by a few years and weren't so much children as young men, fully capable of fighting off an overzealous teacher coming for their topknot). Gichin Funokoshi, one of the founding fathers of modern karate and a former schoolteacher himself, wrote in his memoirs about having to subdue unruly students for their government-mandated haircut and about the tears and frustration that often accompanied such actions.
  • When a rikishi (sumo wrestler) retires, part of the ceremony involves cutting off their top knot. Crying is not unheard of.
  • Wearing one's hair in intricate braids was required among European women of standing, with only children wearing their hair simply. As having all those braids required long hair, cutting a woman's hair functioned to force her into an immature appearance.
  • Chinese general Cao Cao once violated his own orders when he carelessly allowed his horse to trample some crops; legend claims that he actually ordered himself beheaded, but his officers protested the order and he merely had his head shaved as a symbolic "beheading."
  • Cutting the hair of a Sikh, who for religious reasons do not cut their hair or shave (although they wear turbans, so people in public never actually see their hair), can be considered a hate crime, because of the significance of it. If a Sikh needs to be shaved (anywhere on their body) — for surgery, usually — they may have to perform menial duties around the temple for a while as penance.
  • It can happen that people who sport real-life long hair, which naturally requires a great deal of upkeep, may enter a period where they can no longer care for it — for example, falling into a deep depression with accompanying self-neglect that includes the hair — and as a result, the hair becomes unsalvageable and must be cut, sometimes only short, sometimes almost shaved off. Being that someone who puts in the effort to care for long hair is probably very attached to it, no matter how necessary the shearing can be, it is agonizing.
  • A law in Wisconsin makes it illegal to cut a woman's hair without her express consent.
  • The kings of the Merovingian dynasty that ruled the medieval Frankish Empire traditionally had long hair. When the last Merovingian king, Childeric III, was dethroned by his mayor of the palace, Pepin the Short, he was sent to a monastery and tonsured (having his head shaved save for a strip of hair) like all the monks there, thus symbolically deprived of his royal powers.
  • Patients about to go through chemotherapy for cancer will often shave their hair before hand, as the treatment is notorious for losing hair. This is often (and understandably) traumatic for the patient (ESPECIALLY if the patient is a woman) and for the family and friends, because it really confirms the patient's illness. It's not uncommon for family and friends to also shave their heads in solidarity with the patient.
  • While not an actual hair cut, there was an incident a few years ago when some high school kids held down a girl (who was popular because of her long hair) and spread Nair (hair remover) on her head.
  • It was once a vital stage of nuclear decontamination to shave off all the hair on one's body. However, because shaving can create tiny microscopic holes in the skin that allow radioactive particles to get through more easily, this is no longer done. Modern decontamination procedures just include removing clothing and showering, and preferably washing your hair with shampoo if possible. This ultimately averts this trope.
  • Peter the Great of Russia, as one step of modernizing his empire made all state officials shave their beards off. For those who especially resisted, he would pay a personal visit to them and cut their beards off with an axe.
  • In Chile, a 14-year-old schoolgirl wearing two very long and noticeable braids is questioned about it by her teacher. She doesn't pay attention, so the teacher forcibly takes her to the teacher's room and cuts them off. The poor girl is traumatised, the parents are understandably pissed off, and the case reaches public attention.
  • A 15-year-old boy with hair past his shoulders went through the experience.
  • In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Canadian and American governments were dead-set on assimilating Native Americans into white society. One of these steps was sending thousands of American Indian children to boarding schools where they were "assimilated" through a variety of steps that directly interfered with their religious and cultural practices, a common one of which was only cutting one's hair in the event of grief or shame. When the children were subjected to forcible cutting of their braids, they were very traumatized indeed.
  • In the book Siblings Without Rivalry, the authors recount an incident of this that happened to one of the members of their support group for parents trying to improve their parenting techniques. The parent in question had curly hair that she was proud of, but her sister was jealous of. As a result, the parent's mother took her to the barber and had all her hair cut off.
  • In 2010, in Portland, Oregon, there was a guy who sat behind women on the bus and cut off their hair or put glue in it.
  • In Aceh, Indonesia (the only Indonesian state run by Sharia law) religious police arrested dozens of punks and (among other things) forced them to shave their heads.
  • Katee Sackhoff cut off her own hair with a knife on-camera in an episode of Battlestar Galactica (2003). Even though the haircut in the story was a way for her character to return to her old self (in-universe it was a trope inversion - the character had had short hair before, and the long hair was the symbol of trauma and misery for her, therefore the need to cut it), Katee cried afterward, especially since she'd been forced to keep her hair short earlier to play Starbuck - by the time the fourth season came around, she flatly refused to cut her hair any shorter for the role and her character stayed long-haired.
  • Female murder victims (for example, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, teenagers murdered by Canadian serial rapist and murderer Paul Bernardo and his wife Karla Homolka) are sometimes found with their hair cut, as a means of further humiliating them.
  • In Utah, there was a case in which a thirteen-year-old and her friend befriended a three-year-old at McDonald's and cut off her long beautiful hair. The judge agreed to reduce the girls' sentence on the condition that the girls have their hair cut—even ordering the mother of the thirteen-year-old to cut off her daughter's ponytail in front of everybody in the courtroom.
  • In Sweden, cutting someone's hair without consent is considered such a huge violation of human dignity it is classified as felony assault and battery.
  • A pushy or inexpert hairdresser might sorta give you one of these by accident if you go for a haircut and they end up cutting it much shorter than you tell them. Many a person have been rather... upset after the stylist goes gung-ho on their hair like this. Rather worryingly, many hairdressers are noted to follow extremely outdated and conformist rules, especially regarding hair length. They're often trained to consider anything considerably past shoulder-length (on women, not men!) as "too long, time to chop." They will then do so without telling the client, and they often wonder why the now-upset person refuses to pay for something they didn't want and often didn't agree to.
  • Minami Minegishi of AKB48 was demoted to trainee and had her head shaved after she broke her band's "no dating" rule. The demotion was the band's idea but the head-shaving was Minegishi's.
  • In 2011, members of an Amish splinter group forcibly cut the hair of mainstream Amish men and women and were charged with hate crimes. Hilariously, their leader's name is Sam Mullet.
  • In Northern Ireland during The Troubles, British soldiers would frequently like to flirt with local girls. If the girl was Catholic, she had to rebuff their advances. Punishment for becoming involved with a British soldier (especially if he was Protestant) was to have the girl's hair publicly cut off before being tarred and feathered.
  • Alex Pettyfer had to shave his head for the film Beastly. He claimed in an interview that it was especially traumatic for him as his hair had been a security blanket all his life.
  • Anne Hathaway was not acting filming the above mentioned haircut scene in Les Misérables (2012), as she sacrificed her own hair on screen. West End actress Nicola Sloane recalls them doing one take, where she chopped the front part of the hair off and Anne called for cut - soon bursting into tears when she felt how short the hair already was. They had to swap Nicola out for her hairdresser for the remainder of the scene. According to the actress, she was especially distraught because her wedding was coming up soon.
  • Gwendoline Christie who plays Brawn Hilda Brienne on Game of Thrones said she cried after having to cut her long hair short for the role. As soon as the final season wrapped, she grew it out again.
  • One delinquent "trend" in the early 2010s in Venezuela was attacking long-haired women, forcibly pulling their hair up in a ponytail, and cutting it with garden shears to sell it for hair extensions.
  • Hair can easily break off due to chemical damage from perms/colors or even exposure to extreme cold, which can be just as traumatic. Not to mention the need to cut off hair if it becomes too damaged from this kind of element.
  • Queen Victoria endured one of these in her tween years. Bedridden with typhoid fever, she had to have her long chestnut hair cut extremely short, as medical advice at the time believed it would ease the temperature in her head. Biographer Carolly Erickson notes that the princess was not fond of her own appearance, but her hair was considered lovely, and the loss of it was painful to her (once she was no longer dying and could think about it).
  • Similar to Chemotherapy, Alopecia can cause hair to fall out and it often occurs without any warning and to people who are otherwise perfectly healthy. In some extreme cases of Alopecia Universalis, people can lose every single hair on their body in as little as a few weeks. Needless to say, such an experience can be very psychologically damaging, especially to women.
  • In 2018 a teenage girl was allegedly forced to cut her hair as a punishment after her mother got her highlights as a birthday present, by her own father and stepmother.
  • Inverted among many cultures: Cutting one's hair is a very common sign of mourning in cultures that value long hair, so the haircut happens BECAUSE of trauma instead of resulting in it. Of course, this naturally leads people in those cultures to associate all haircuts with emotional distress, as mentioned above for North America; Many Native American/First Nations children who were shipped off to assimilation schools received forced haircuts to "civilize" them, so the standard trope happened anyway.
  • Every so often, a Talk Show will do an episode about makeovers. Almost inevitably, there is a long-haired woman who's been badgered into going by her "friends", is visibly unhappy about it, and comes away with a shoulder-length bob that leaves her fighting (or in) tears. This ends in praise from the host and her so-called friends.
  • A sixteen-year-old high school wrestler called Andrew Johnson was subject to an impromptu one before a match. The referee claimed his dreadlocks didn't match regulations, and he'd either have to forfeit the match or cut them off. His dreadlocks were then haphazardly cut off, though he still won the match.
  • A hairdresser on Buzzfeed recalls a client being a teenage girl with beautiful long hair. Her mother had caught her drinking beer with friends and as punishment was making her cut and donate the hair. When the hairdresser tried to leave it as long as she could, the mother screeched and made a scene about cutting it to shoulder length.
  • Kristofer Hivju (best known as Tormund from Game of Thrones) was pressured into cutting his famous hair and beard drastically shorter for the film After Earth. He didn't want to do it, and Jaden Smith tried to argue on his behalf, but the studio insisted. Then most of his scenes were deleted.
  • Jennifer Aniston's famous 'the Rachel' haircut was actually one of these. The story is either that the hairdresser made a mistake that he had to fix, was drunk at the time or else just felt like being elaborate. Jennifer hated the cut that resulted and grew it back as quickly as she could. This was parodied in a sketch on Jimmy Kimmel, where they recreated a scene from Friends and she refused to wear a wig of the haircut.
  • In the Magdalene laundries in Ireland (as depicted in The Magdalene Sisters above), nuns would often cut girls' hair if it was too long and pretty out of 'fear' it would tempt boys too much.
  • Persis Khambatta, for her role as Illia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, had to have her hair shaved off for the role. She was distraught over having to shave it off (as Roddenberry refused to let her wear a bald cap), that she demanded insurance to be put on her hair should it not grow back.
  • Rachel True was used to having quite long hair early in her career, such as in Embrace of the Vampire (1995). Due to breakage and split ends, she had to cut it short right before she was cast in The Craft. As such, she says she channeled some real emotions for a scene where her character hallucinates that her hair is falling out.
  • Virginia C Andrews based the Flowers in the Attic example above off something that happened to her as a child. A relative claims that the author was playing in some tar at a road paving, got it stuck in her hair and thus had to have it cut boyishly short. Having prided herself on her long golden hair, she was particularly traumatized by this.
  • Much like murder victims, victims of kidnapping are also subjected to this treatment. During their torturous decade long captivity, Ariel Castro's victims were either ordered to cut their hair or forcibly have it cut by him (which at one point was done in response to an unintentionally poorly done haircut he received from one of the girls in spite of her not being a professional.)
  • A California high school teacher was arrested for attempting to do this to a male student in her class while singing the national anthem before he walked off. She then tried to cut a female student's hair before they all fled in terror and it soon made national headlines due to the unprovoked nature of the session, the belief that she had a mental break of some sort and her awful singing.
  • Geri Halliwell from The Spice Girls mentions in her autobiography that she had a pudding-bowl haircut after catching fleas, and her mother had to chase her 'round the garden with the scissors.
  • Just like with chemotherapy and alopecia, depending on how invasive it may be and/or the amount of illness or trauma involved, undergoing brain surgery usually involves either a partial or complete shaving of one's head.


Video Example(s):


Thor's Traumatic Haircut

Thor gets a haircut prior to making his debut as a gladiator. Trauma mixed with comedy, a Taika Waititi trademark and one of Stan Lee's more amusing cameos

How well does it match the trope?

4.96 (26 votes)

Example of:

Main / TraumaticHaircut

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