Personal Brand Stereotypes #5: Only Punks Wear Mohawks

Posted on April 9th 2008


As we continue with the many personal brand stereotypes that plague our culture, I hope you're being more observant as to people who are wearing pink shirts or glasses and are more understanding of their situation. No one wants to be made fun of or laughed at because of what they wear. People have the freedom and enjoyment of self-expression. I don't think I would ever see a large corporate environment hiring a hippie, without forcing them to conform. As we drift into the realm of gen-y, you will see different cultures emerge. Managers that are accepting of such stereotypes, as long as they produce.

What I've posted about so far:

  • #1 - Tall people are basketball players
  • #2 - Glasses make you look smart
  • #3 - Men who wear pink are homosexual
  • #4 - The Hippie PhenomenonMohawk Punk Brand

Today, the discussion follows all of those people who wear mohawks. I was thinking about doing this post last week and Natasha Vincent commented on my blog to remind me. A mohawk is a hairstyle, which consists of shaving either side of your head, leaving a strip of longer hair in the middle. When I say longer hair, I mean shot straight up at least 8 inches tall. The first word that comes to mind when I see someone wearing a mohawk is “punk.” The reason for this maybe that there was a massive punk subculture in the early 1980s and the mohawk was adopted by various other groups during this time.

It is expected that an individual wearing a mohawk has a lot to maintain. There may be regular shaving to maintain a clear line down the center. I think you also need to put a lot of gel on to keep it straight up. I've seen anywhere from short mohawks to one's that are various colors (maybe even rainbow).

Analysis

I'll admit it right now that I've been to a punk concert, where Bad Religion and Rise Against played. Both are great bands, but it was a complete culture shock for me, as I was tossed into the “mosh pit.” It was almost like these people weren't human, but monsters with the way they wore their hair. How could I possibly take them seriously? Well it didn't really matter at a punk rock concert, but I just couldn't imagine interviewing them for a job. Could you even picture someone with a mohawk on the other side of the table, while you read off their resume and ask them questions? Would you laugh and think to yourself “I wish he put his picture on his resume so I could have eliminated him already”?

We talked about hippie's already and how they made a choice and how they are unique in their own way, well a mohawk certainly makes you stand out, but maybe not for the right reasons. If you want a career as a professional skater then it might make sense and be acceptable. On the other hand, if you are looking to work for a technology company, I think it would be nearly impossible to get a job based on your hair. I know it's crazy but it's our culture and how we are perceived. If someone walked into my office with purple hair that would be weird enough, but a purple mohawk would be pushing it!

Would you hire someone wearing a mohawk?

Coming up next

I really want to discuss why college students are forced to take entry-level positions. “She must be an associate because she has no experienced and just graduated with a BS in marketing.” There is a stereotype that people in gen-y have menial jobs. This is a stereotype of ageism and I've experienced it many times, as I've wrestled through the personal branding orchids (think sharp thorns). If you have any other ideas of what you want me to cover in this series, please leave a comment. Looking forward to unveiling more of these as we move forward.


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DanielSchawbel

Daniel Schawbel

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Comments

You don't have to go as far as mohawks to stray into a personal brand crisis.  As my work becomes more oriented toward social media, I'm wrestling with whether I should give up the suit and necktie of my Wall Street/Fortune 500 days.  So far I've made the jump in the real world but, as you can see from my avatar, I'm still besuited online.  Is that backwards or what?
Hi Dan! Interesting topic, for sure. Whether or not you hire someone with a mohawk (or not) totally depends on the company. I'm all for a casual work environment when it comes to personal expression and appearance. I see what you're saying, though - first impressions do count. On the other hand, I hope companies will continue to look past appearances. Video game development studios are a perfect example of where something like a mohawk would be easily accepted. I also attended BlogHer Business in NYC last week where a panel of Microsoft bloggers spoke about their company culture. One of the bloggers actually seeks out employees with interesting stories and then blogs about them for the rest of the company to see. She mentioned one employee, in particular, who shows up to work every day in full goth garb (with the make-up and everything). Microsoft embraces her and other employees like her no matter what they wear to work every day. More power to 'em!