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What is a Mullet?

Niki Acker
Updated May 21, 2024
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A mullet is a hairstyle worn by both men and women that is short on the front, sides, and top, and long in the back. While the style was fashionable in the 1970s and 1980s, and remains popular in certain circles today, it became an object of derision in American youth culture in the 1990s. The origin of the name is unclear, but the Beastie Boys popularized it in their 1994 song "Mullet Head" and a related article in their magazine.

In the 1970s, the mullet was associated with pop-culture icons including glam rocker David Bowie and television star Florence Henderson of the Brady Bunch. Popular musicians and actors continued to sport the style throughout the 1980s, as it became ever bigger and more flamboyant. As the decade waned, however, it became increasingly associated with balding has-beens looking back to an earlier decade of glory. The Beastie Boys spearheaded the revolt of youth culture against the hairstyle and the values of previous decades that it symbolized.

The hairstyle became somewhat of a joke after the Beastie Boys song, parodied in punk and hip hop songs, coffee table books, and websites. People with the style became stereotyped as ignorant, unfashionable, and generally out of touch with the modern world. Nevertheless, the mullet remained popular and fashionable among certain blue collar and youth populations throughout America and Europe. While members of the punk scene ridiculed the it, country and heavy metal fans embraced the style. The mullet has also remained popular for players and fans of certain professional sports, including American football, hockey, and soccer.

More recently, the mullet has seen a resurgence of popularity among the young and hip, as its heyday is now far enough removed for the look to be considered retro. Jade Puget, the guitarist of post-punk band AFI, wears a mullet-inspired hairdo, as do many members of the emo scene.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a BeautyAnswered editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "
Discussion Comments
By anon117143 — On Oct 09, 2010

We called that hairstyle a shag and I never heard anyone call it a mullet.

By anon115682 — On Oct 04, 2010

A mullet is a great hybrid that shows your serious, business side in the front without overshadowing your partying self.

Niki Acker
Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a BeautyAnswered editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range...
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