When did Geert Wilders Trump acquire hair

The role of the hairstyle in the self-presentation of politicians

At some point it has to be over. Cells know exactly: this far and no further. Nature largely adheres to it: the maple leaf cells follow their construction plans exactly, the fir tree pauses when the size is right. Only human scalp hair leads an uninhibited life of its own. If there wasn't radical intervention, they would grow to infinity. That is why the beneficial guild of hair clippers established itself thousands of years ago. Today, in the pandemic, they are even among the state maintainers of the system - and call themselves stylists. After times of life-despising jogging pants existence in lockdown and defaced by hairdressing self-experiments, their social significance became more important than ever.

Of course, it is not just about trimming the hair, but also about optical self-optimization, hairstyling, self-presentation, as especially male politicians with populism are using it excessively.

The brand me

The psychotherapist and social psychologist Klaus Ottomeyer has been thinking about people as a stylish brand and hairstyle wearer for a long time. More than 15 years ago, Ottomeyer wrote an essay about the former finance minister Karl-Heinz Grasser as a prototype of the "I brand". "He ostentatiously sported the aesthetic appearance and the self-love. Of course, the always well-groomed head of hair immediately caught the eye," says Ottomeyer. Grasser's mane proved resistant to destruction, and it withstood even the hours of courtroom sessions.

A little later than Grasser, a young and vital top candidate of the CDU, Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg, appeared on the political stage in Germany. Its trademark: the back-combed gel hairstyle. After his plagiarism scandal, he quickly disappeared to America and with him the hairstyle, which became an inconspicuous stubble haircut. Silvio Berlusconi also fought again and again for his head of hair, in Bosnia Serb leader Radovan Karadžić showed himself with a voluminous gray helmet. Hollands right winger Geert Wilders, on the other hand, tries with a blond, combed-back tower on his head.

"Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's much-admired straight hairstyle is of course also a role model when it comes to brand management," says Ottomeyer. The finely modeled, thick hair laid back seems - as if concreted - to withstand all adversities. As well as the same, light shirts and dark jackets. A red shirt and short would no longer be short.

A large amount of hairspray

The hairstyle plays a central role when trying to stylize itself as a brand that wants to be bought. It is the first to be seen. This enables a high and quick recognition value to be created. "The person must be identified in half a second if possible," says Ottomeyer.

With his orange-blonde, teased hair, ex-US President Donald Trump presents himself as an unmistakable, true diva in the political circus. "His hair-setting hairstyle is an important part of the brand. Trump was or is a brand from his casting show that has come to life," says Ottomeyer.

Magazines around the globe had tried to uncover the secret of the trumpy head of hair. The women's magazine Brigitte puzzled: "Just a large amount of hairspray? Or maybe a toupee? And above all: Where did Donald Trump get this special carrot hair color from?" The hairstyle has been his trademark since the 80s and probably requires an elaborate morning routine. "Because instead of brushing the mat once, as many men prefer, there is an ingenious method behind it: First, a deep side parting is drawn on the left side, then the hair is combed to the right, and in the next step from the back to the front Then spray a lot of hairspray into the hair so that the hair is in the right position. Et voilà - the hairstyle of power is already there, "she knew Brigitte.

DEFAULT: There is also a man's cult behind this hair fetish.

Ottomeyer: An irony of fate is that many of the political leaders who like to show themselves to be independent, strong men, cover up the elements of their personalities that we traditionally refer to as "feminine" and are then caught up with precisely those elements. They develop traits that are unfairly ascribed to women across the board. It's like a cartoon-like return of the repressed: They are grouchy, react mimosa-like to criticism, have to constantly pay attention to their clothes and their special hairstyles and spend a considerable amount of time in front of the mirror every day. In maintaining your brand, you become a diva who is meticulous about ensuring that she and not someone else on stage receives the greatest attention.

Boris Johnson is likely to start the day just as lavishly as Trump. "Boris Johnson with his messy hairstyle wants to come across as an authentic looking blonde rascal. He acts like he's just crawled out of bed. So that you don't just look stupid, it takes a lot of time in front of the mirror to get such a draped, curly hairstyle." says Ottomeyer.

An overly rigid optical corset naturally also harbors dangers - as can also be observed with Kurz. If he loses his composure, the learned reactions often fail. "Kurz is a rigid administrator of his brand. This is also related to the relentless attitude to prevent the admission of children from Greek camps. A change in this attitude would endanger his brand essence," says Ottomeyer.

Politician hair in court

The case of ex-SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schröder made clear what legal after-effects can even arise from a politician's head hair. Schröder went to the supreme court to defend himself against suspicions that he had dyed his full black hair.

The FAZ tried to classify the affair politically: "The court made it clear that the dispute over the Chancellor's hair color was not of great political significance, but was not insignificant for the public. The image advisor, who dealt with the Chancellor's styling, held up Schröder's dark hair is untrustworthy: 'His powers of persuasion would benefit if he didn't tint his gray temples away.' The Karlsruhe judges note: 'The reference to the tinting of the hair thus became a kind of test for important qualifications of a politician . '"

A remarkable assessment by the judges of the German Federal Constitutional Court: hair as a manifestation of the "qualification of a politician". (Walter Müller, March 13th, 2021)