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Ode to the Mohawk

Maureen Mullen | Thursday, September 14, 2006

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a fair few Mohawks being flaunted around campus these days – and they certainly can’t all belong to our one trendsetter of a safety.

Since school began I imagine most of us have seen Mohawk wearing individuals in the dining halls, at tailgates and in classes. We have all seen the Mohawk paired with a skateboard, but recently I caught sight of one accessorizing a polo shirt. Yes, hard to believe folks, but it seems that Notre Dame – bastion of prep chic – is embracing The Mohawk.

So, in the true spirit of acceptance and inclusion, I thought I might educate myself on the Mohawk – its style, its genre, and its history.

Five pages of Wikipedia are dedicated to defining and describing the term “Mohawk hairstyle.”

As most of us would expect, it was the Native American Mohawk tribe that gave us this fantastic hairstyle. Wikipedia also tells us that during World War II, members of the Allied Airborne soldiers shaved their hair into Mohawks.

In my mind however, it was the decade of the eighties that truly rocked the Mohawk. Lawrence “Mr. T” Tureaud donned the single strip of spiked hair as Clubber Lang in Rocky III and then again as Sgt. B.A. Baracus in the TV series, The A-Team. Rockers and punks alike dyed, spiked and sported their hawks. Robert De Niro in Martin Scorcese’s film Taxi Driver gave America another well-known cultural depiction of the fad.

Until exposure to a breadth of Wikipedian knowledge on the subject, I was ignorant of the many forms a Mohawk might take. There is for instance, “The Liberty Spiked Mohawk” (Mohawk with spikes resembling those on Statue of Liberty), “Devilocks” (fashioned by Jerry Only of the band Misfits), “Dreadhawk” (Mohawk with hair dreadlocked instead of spiked) and the “Fanned Mohawk”(resembles a fan, term used toady in punk circles). The “Fauxhawk” is a more modern deviation of the Mohawk – a style that some may argue is sell-out as it allows for a less punk and more “metro” look. Of course the styles go on, but Inside Columns do not.

Yes, it seems that the Mohawk is making a more contemporary resurgence. Travis Barker of Blink182 brought the punk hawk to the 90s. Currently, David Beckham wears his Mohawk very well indeed. This year’s German World Cup soccer team displayed Mohawk solidarity, while Maddox Jolie-Pitt has revolutionized the concept of “the cute Mohawk.”

There are without a doubt a great many of the Mohawk nay-sayers in this world. Working professionals, companies and businesses, the majority of parents, all reject the concept of the Mohawk. At the Penn State Pep Rally last Friday however, No. 9 scored the Mohawk a victory and reassured, perhaps even persuaded one of the nay-saying groups:

“Parents, if your kid wants to get one, don’t worry. Hair grows back.”