Beauty brand wants to end forced haircuts in Thailand’s schools

The Thai office of one American beauty brand wants to push Thai schools to ditch their mandatory haircuts for students. This news comes after the brand, Dove, has started working with Girl Guides, Thailand’s version of Girl Scouts, to empower women to reach their fullest potential.

This week, Dove launched a campaign called #LetHerGrow, and released an ad about the impact of forced haircuts on girls. The video shows young girls having their haircut all in the same short bob, and crying. It then show older girls and women who all have their own unique hairstyles, and are confident. The ad has sparked a debate in Thailand about whether forced haircuts are a violation of rights.

A study by the British analytics firm YouGov found that 8 in 10 Thai high school students had their self-esteem negatively impacted by forced haircuts. Yet, 74% of respondents said forced haircuts were still being used to discipline students. This is despite the fact that, ‘officially’, haircut rules changed two years ago, and making students get haircuts as punishment was outlawed. Under the supposedly ‘official’ laws, students can wear their hair long, as long as it is “neat and tidy”. The law also supposedly allows both boys and girls to have either long, or short hair.

In 2020 when a wave of youth protests swept through Thailand, mandatory haircuts were one thing students demanded change on. The other demands involved schools’ strict dress codes. Thailand’s school uniforms have origins in the country’s military history, and originally symbolised love for the country.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Bangkok Post | Bangkok Post | Thai PBS World

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.