Mull it over or mullet over

Private boys school Trinity College has banned the iconic Australian mullet, saying in an e-mail to parents that “the college sets clear requirements that ensure health and safety, as well as setting a high standard for personal presentation … closely cropping the sides of the head to accentuate the ‘mullet’ style are untidy, non-conventional and not acceptable at Trinity College.”

Curtin student Ken Trijo. Photo: Edward Morgan.

The recent resurgence of ‘the party up the back’ has drawn controversy among schools and parents with claims it’s old fashioned to judge people based on their hair and why have perceptions changed?

Edith Cowan University lecturer of arts and humanities Dr Laura Glitsos says the judgement of individuals based on a haircut is old fashioned and ignorant.

“It was always very working class because the musicians and the fans that came out of glam rock were still working class,” Dr Glitsos says.

“The tensions that exist between the working class and the middle class and corporate culture have always been there.

“I think that fashions come and go and change and particularly younger people have every right to explore their fashion sense.”

Love the mullet? Video: Edward Morgan.

Mullet Fest founder Laura Johnson says schools policing hair to this degree restricts expression.

“I think that it’s quite destructive, particularly teenage boys, for the teachers to be so restrictive of something that is just an expression of self,” she says.

Ms Johnson says it’s hypocritical.

“If you look back at the hierarchy of the school and none of them had ever had a mullet I would be shocked,” she says.

Dr Glitsos says the mullet has long been a staple of Australian culture and a way of expression.

“I think it’s a way for men in particular to express themselves, particularly when there are less options to do so.”