BIZARRE: North Korean state-sanctioned hairstyles!

The bizarre campaign exhorts women to choose from one of 18 officially sanctioned hairstyles chosen by communist officials eager to clamp down on western influences.

With traditional Korean dress, women generally wear a straight style but with western clothes they can choose something more wavy or loosely permed.

You can also tell the difference between married and unmarried women just by the style of their hair do.

Married women tend to be frowned upon if they are not sporting a shorter mop but those who are unmarried are allowed to be a bit more playful with their choice of style - opting for plaits, braids or even a ribbon.

Unfortunately, the strict guidelines also apply for men.

Back in 2005, North Korean state TV launched a five part series entitled 'Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle' with the aim of promoting short back and sides for its male population.

At the same time, a number of reports appeared in North Korean press and radio urging tidy hairstyles and appropriate clothing.

The TV show sent out teams with hidden cameras to catch 'rebel' North Koreans who were breaking the North Korean strict hairstyle code.

The makers of the program went so far as to name and shame those who had the audacity to get their hair cut differently.

The program even claimed there were health reasons not to grow long hair including the bizarre claim that long hair would rob the brain of energy.

Men should keep their hair shorter than five centimeters and have it cut every 15 days.

Older men have a bit more leeway - they are allowed to grow their hair up to seven centimeters before they must make a trip to the barbers for a trim. 

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