That Basque look

Escrito por el 23 octubre, 2011 § 1 comment

We are having a stubbornly sunny autumn throughout Spain. There is colective relief and some restrained joy after ETA, the Basque separatist group announced the end of violence. Challenging new days are ahead. However, a pressing question remains. ¿Will the abertzale look linger on?

Although in the Basque language it means «patriot», the term abertzale refers in Spain to the left wing sympathizers of Basque nationalism. As is often the case, their strong views reflects on their sartorial choices. They favor trekking clothes for all occasions and fleece abounds but its their dated hairdos that gives them away. The mullet being the conservative choice, some would sport a long and thin single braid and dreadlocks are the daring ones’ choice.

Women’s coifs deserve a different chapter altogether. The term femullet does not start to describe it. And it does not stop on the left nationalist current, either. Historically, the Basque country has been a matriarchy. Their women are tough and, that goes without saying, independent. Abertzale or not, old or young, creative hairdressing is the basque women trademark. Sit on a terrace on any Bilbao or San Sebastian avenue and you’ll see red or purple hair strands, bleached spikes, very short fringes…you name it. Unlike conservative Madrilenes or feminine Andalusians, urban Basque women rely on their hair for expressing individuality. There is a definite modern Basque look and is not easy on the eye nor gentle on the scalp.

Not to dismiss these frivolous concerns, there is the more serious issue of how Basques and central Spaniards are mutually perceived. After all, those after-punk relics are just what the rest of Spain sees on televised trials and demostrations. Let’s hope that very soon, when we see a horrid haircut we think of green northern landscapes and peaceful dynamic cities.

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