Sometimes a piece of news trickles out from North Korea that seems like it came from a YA dystopia generator. The latest true scenario? Fauxhawks have been banned and the government controls hairstyles.
No, really: The North Korean government has released a guide to the 28 state-sanctioned haircuts. Ladies, you've got even more reasons to get married young now. The unwedded female can choose from short, above-the-shoulder styles, but put a ring on it and you can go wild with curls (with class), length (to a point) and… no, actually, that's pretty much it. But you're allowed 18 variations on a patriotic theme to choose from!
Sorry, fellas, but you've only got 5 cm (about 2 inches) to work with. Shagginess is a threat and a well-known symbol of free-thinking and rebellion, unless you're older, in which case, go wild up to 7 cm (3 inches). Not only that, but short hair is a matter of health. Young men are required to touch up their high'n'tights every 15 days to prevent nutrition from leaching away from their brains. (Apparently past a certain point, men have outlived their usefulness anyway, hence less concern for their neurological nourishment.)
Image Credit: AP
By the way, if you're still not clear on what coifs are kosher, North Korean state TV put together a five-part series on how to maintain hair that's in line with communist values:
In a country where not even the Supreme Leader's family is safe, the politics of hair suddenly aren't so trivial. One news anchor known for Effie Trinkets levels of dictatorship buy-in created something of an uproar as viewers tried to make sense of what it meant when her hairstyle changed twice in two weeks.
North Korea is pretty much a parody of itself, which doesn't cancel out the fact that the people running it are inexplicable and awful. The indignities and horrors Kim Jong-un inflicts on his citizens are real, but to combine the policies that earned the nation a place on the Axis of Evil with state-approved lookbooks is surreal to the point of cartoonishness. Not even Panem goes that far.