"Just Shave It Off" A Thematic Analysis of Men’s Baldness Forums

Main Article Content

Glen Jankowski
Michael Sherwin
Nova Deighton-Smith
Beth T Bell


Head hair comprises a critical part of the male appearance ideal, which itself is a crucial signifier of a man’s masculinity. However, difficulties in recruitment have meant that research has not yet fully explored how men construct the loss of head hair (baldness), perhaps because it is considered “feminine” to disclose body dissatisfaction experiences to a researcher or other people.

Methods and Design
Online forums provide an opportunity for the anonymous discussion of body dissatisfaction that may overcome this obstacle. The first 260 forums posts from the two most popular baldness forums were thematically analysed.

Ethics Statement
Institutional ethics approval was granted.

Results and Discussion
We identified three themes titled: (1) Baldness is an ugly and demasculinising condition, (2) Baldness is stigmatised by a superficial society and superficial women and (3) Resistance to baldness despair. Our findings show baldness distress, and stigma exist though so does resistance, which can be comforting to men experiencing baldness or any form of body dissatisfaction.

Conclusion and Implications
Online forums are a salient resource to enhance our understanding of men’s balding concerns and disclosure barriers. Independent, professional and effective baldness support that unpacks baldness masculinised and medicalised framing is recommended.


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Article Details

Author Biographies

Glen Jankowski, Leeds Beckett University, UK

Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK

Michael Sherwin, Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK

Nova Deighton-Smith, Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK

Beth T Bell, York St John University

York St. John University, York, UK


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