Monday Tropes: Bald Men are Evil

Take a glance at any cast of characters and try to determine who’s the villain. Chances are, that bald guy is not the hero – and is actually probably bad.

Why this is bad: While I doubt bald men are statistically more evil than men with hair, some studies have shown that we find bald men more dominant and powerful. This is probably linked to American perceptions of baldness going along with more “masculine” professions, such as military and construction. Because of this perceived dominance, we often find bald men as more intimidating and “standoffish.” Of course, like all stereotypes, this isn’t necessarily true, but it does hint at why we see so many villains without hair.

How you can fix it: Have you ever seen a bald hero? Or heroine, for that matter? There’s not a lot of them. If you’re looking to play on people’s expectations, introducing a morally ambiguous bald character can be a fun way to keep audiences guessing about the character’s motivations since their natural expectation is that the character will be more domineering and evil.

Bottom Line: Play around with tropes and stereotypes of what an “evil look” is if you’re trying to subvert readers’ expectations.

Give me your thoughts.

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