FA1: Mullet – The Story Behind the Icon
There is perhaps no haircut as reviled — yet as resilient as the mullet. A style so irrepressible that if the calculations from the Font Awesome Ministry of Pop Culture are correct, the mullet has stood the test of time for 50 plus years!
Love it or hate it, we believe that such an enduring cultural symbol deserves respect. So, we thought it only appropriate to make an icon in honor of the enduring mullet.
So, for those who prefer the business in the front and the party out back, this one’s for you. This is FA1 — the story behind the icon.
However, before we get to the saga behind the creation of the icon, we would be remiss, not to mention some critical historical mile markers. From where and from whence did this iconic hair come?
When and Where Did the Mullet Originate?
Some argue that the mullet goes back to ancient times. Though we’re unable to substantiate these claims with any accuracy, we do have legitimate proof of Tom Jones sporting the look in his 1965 performance on the Ed Sullivan show.
A mere half-decade later, David Bowie took the mullet to new heights during his 1970s “Ziggy Stardust” era. By the mid to late 80s, the mullet had entered the mainstream imagination and began gracing the airwaves and silver screen, with many a TV and movie star proudly flaunting their style. The hairstyle provocateurs include Kiefer Sutherland, Kirk Cameron, Billy Ray Cyrus, John Stamos, Hulk Hogan, and Michael Bolton. Men’s hairstyle options were forever changed.
Who Coined the Term “Mullet”?
The etymology of the mullet is highly debated. Some believe the Beastie Boys coined the term in 1995. In their brilliant tongue-in-cheek academic styled article titled “Mulling Over the Mullet“, which appeared in the pages of the short-lived and celebrated 90s pop-culture magazine, Grand Royal, the writer explores the mullet through the “lenses of race, economics, and history.”
True to the twists and turns of etymological history, some know the mullet, not by its official moniker, but by another name such as Hockey Hair, Ape Drape, Mississippi Mudflap, The Kentucky Waterfall, Soccer Rocker, River Cut, the Boz, and many more.
In the comprehensive Decoder Ring podcast, Willa Paskin “tracks the rise and fall of the mullet, and also the lexical quandary at its heart: who named the mullet?”
Initially, Paskin discovers the earliest mention of the mullet in an Australian magazine called “Street Machine,” a claim later found to be falsified. If reports are accurate, there is a Reddit thread where some claim that “mullet” was already a part of the teenage lexicon by the mid-80s.
Though we may not be able to say who coined the term with absolute certainty, the mullet’s luxuriously coiffed lochs are still with us today. In fact — no, you are not crazy — the mullet has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence of late, which may ensure a bright future for the style in the coming decades.
Long live the mullet!
The Story Behind the Mullet Icon
At Font Awesome, every icon we create goes through a rigorous and thorough vetting process. This was NOT the case for the “user-mullet” icon. In fact, we had just added a new “user-hair” icon. But the Font Awesome team were quick to point out that this icon was only “business in the front.” For the sake of balance, we added “user-mullet” to round things out with a bit of “party in the back.” The fact is, the mullet has experienced a renaissance of sorts and to keep up with trends we needed to add a mullet icon — it’s as simple as that.
So, we don’t see our oddball icons in the wild often, but we believe in you, Font Awesome Community. Now’s your chance. Show us whatcha got with an apropos use of the user-hair-mullet icon!
Commission or Upvote the Icon You’ve Always Wanted
We want to hear from you if we’ve missed an important hairstyle worthy of icon creation. Did you know you can commission an icon? It’s true. And we’ll add it to Font Awesome. Officially. All Font Awesome users will have access to the icon, and we’ll note you as the official sponsor. Get in touch with us for more details and next steps.