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Forced Haircuts Debate Heats Up With Students in Thailand

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The hashtag “scrap hairstyles” is top trending on Twitter in Thailand after the “Bad Student,” the anti-establishment Facebook group, posted a picture and strict rules related to student forced haircuts at a school in Thailand.

According to the rules, male students’ hair must be cut evenly short, with hair on the front not exceeding three centimeters. Junior high school students should have their hair cut evenly to the earlobes, and seniors should have their hair cut 4cm below the earlobes.

More than 150,000 tweets featured the hashtag #ยกเลิกเรื่องทรงผม (#cancel hairstyle) on Thursday as Thai schools prepare to resume on-site classes next week.

According to the “Bad Student” Facebook group, which was formed in 2020 during the peak of anti-government protests in the country, schools that did not follow the new hairstyle guidelines of the Ministry of Education in 2020 would be violating the law.

According to a Twitter post, students at Matthayom Wat Thatthong School in Bangkok can cut or grow their hair short.

A male’s long hair must be parted at the front, and the length of the hair at the back cannot be below the hairline. The long hair of girls must be neatly gathered.

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 12,000 likes had been received as a response to a comment by the Bad Student Facebook page administrator that the individual should define hairstyles.

According to the Ministry of Education’s new hairstyle regulations, students can wear their hair short or long, as long as it is neat and appropriate.

Forced Haircuts Debate Heats Up With Students in Thailand

Campaign to End Forced Haircuts in Thailand

Meanwhile, as a proponent of body positivity, US beauty company Dove has launched a campaign to end forced haircuts in Thailand.

The campaign intends to end the practice of schools using haircuts as punishment.

The brand argues that forcing students to cut their hair sends a message that they do not have control over their bodies.

In a recent YouGov survey, 74% of Thai respondents said that haircuts are still used to discipline students two years after being disallowed.

In the same study, it was found that more than 60% of Thai high school students believe that forced haircuts cause them to lose self-confidence, while 82% believe these practices cause them to lose control of their bodies.

Thai students have in the past resisted forced haircuts, starting “Hairdo Resistance” groups to advocate for the freedom to choose what they look like.

With the hashtag #LetHerGrow, Dove has called on people all over Thailand to support the end of forced haircuts. In addition to criticizing the practice, their print and video advertisements have also sparked a wider discussion on Thai students’ rights and freedoms.

 

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