Skinheads: My Truth, Their Misconceptions

This is an article that I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I absolutely adore Skinhead fashion but there are a lot of myth’s about the Subculture that I find ridiculous that I will address.

Aren’t Skinhead’s merely someone who shaves their head?

It really annoys me when someone says this as it isn’t at all true. Skinheads are members or the Skinhead Subculture. A subculture that has a broad history, it’s own musical influences and styles, fashion and fashion influences and enjoy aspects of the skinhead lifestyle. These aspects will be briefly explained below.

I always thought Skinhead’s were racist?

Originally the Skinhead subculture was actually influences mainly by Jamaican Rude boys and held no common trait of racism at all. In the late 1960’s some Skinheads begun engaging in violence against immigrants, this became the way some Skinhead’s align themselves and group themselves. Yet, Skinheads are still people. Everyone of them have varying opinions and to lump all members of the subculture together with a section that brought this bad name for all Skinheads to be racist is ridiculous.

What about gay/lesbian/bi people, don’t they hate them?

This is along the same lines as my response to racism stereotypes. It’s explained greatly in this documentary called Skinhead OUT! which you can watch both part one and part two on youtube. There is no one mindset that applies to all of the Skinhead community. I must say again: they are people, each with their own opinions, morals and ideals.

Why are all Skinhead’s pale in demeanour?

Not all Skinhead’s are Caucasian, there were and still are coloured skinheads. This is another stereotype that runs along the lines of all skinheads are racists.

A Brief History

It all started in the late 1950’s when the United Kingdoms economy boom meant some had extra money in their pockets. This developed the mods whom were known by their devotion to scooters, music, fashion and consumerism. Those mods of a lesser income of the working class went for a practical style including work boots, straight legged jeans, buttoned down shirts and braces. After controversy between the smooth mods (The more expensive mod) and the hard mods (working class) which around 1968 became more commonly called Skinheads. Skinhead’s kept some of the mod influences with an emphasis on Jamaican Rude Boy style and culture.

Skinhead Music

The Skinhead Subculture was originally associated with soul, reggae, rock-steady and ska but once those genre’s started directing themselves towards black nationalism themes, which most white skinhead’s couldn’t relate too, the music was transformed. In the 1970’s 2Tone was one of the most popular genre’s of the Skinhead Subculture which included the Jamaican influences combined with Punk Rock. After the first wave of punk rock some Skinhead’s embraced Oi!, Punk’s working class sub-genre, which combined football chants, punk rock and glam rock.

Why do Skinhead’s shave their head’s?

Traditional skinhead’s commonly shaved their head’s as they were workers and it was more suitable or practical. Another reason would be in defiance of the hippie culture for some. There’s also, of course, they may merely have liked the style.

Skinhead’s all look the same!

Just in case you didn’t sense my sarcasm, sarcasm intended. Of course Skinhead fashion is typically branded by their shaved heads, but not always, the styles have changed quite a bit through the years. It’s much easier to separate them into sections, though of course this doesn’t at all limit the variation.

Trojan Skinheads (Traditional Skinheads)
These, of course, follow the typical style of the 1960’s with braces, flight jackets, button down shirts, polo shirts, cardigans, denim jackets, v-necks, straight legged jeans, work boots and such, with head shaved at a #2 or #3 grade clip guard (The same as my undercut).

Oi! Skinheads
 Oi! Skinheads are influenced by 1970’s Punk, often with shorter hair (typically #2 grade or shorter), higher boots, tighter jeans and tattoo’s. Mods were much less influential than traditional Skinheads.

Hardcore Skinheads
This style is much less strict including leather/army jackets, wife beaters, looser jeans (sometimes torn), hoodies, bandanna’s and chain belts. Hair was short, sometimes even shaved with no guard or a razor.

White Power Skinhead (Neo-Nazi Skinhead)
Army pants, T-shirts, higher boots and shave their heads are either grade #0 or with a razor. They wear badges, chains and rings, also common are tattoos, featuring white power slogans or Nazi symbols. 

For more information on the Skinhead Subculture you may want to check out this documentary on you-tube called Skinhead Attitude that was made in 2003. Skinheads are also represented in popular movie This Is England.

**I claim no photography in this article as mine.**



  1. August 25, 2011 / 11:37 am

    Oh I'm so glad that I recommended This is england to you, I LOVE the skinhead look too! I think it's the shaved heads; gets me every time.

  2. August 25, 2011 / 11:46 am

    It may not be apparent, but I love learning about different subcultures. 😀 Then again, I don't really know anything about anything yet so maybe the new knowledge is just raping my mind all the time.

    (On another note, your apostrophes blind meeee. ,_,)

  3. August 25, 2011 / 11:55 am

    Fairy: I'm really glad you recommended it too me too. It was a lovely movie. I just love the braces, button up shirts and boots. xD

    Xary: Why do my apostrophes blind you? o.O

    Also, the amount of ignorant and racist comments I'm getting one facebook is really annoying me. This is why I never post controversial topics. Makes me all emotional!

  4. August 25, 2011 / 1:04 pm

    I love the movie This Is England. I also think they get a bad rep, especially here in the states. Love the fashion as well.

    Awesome post!!!

  5. August 25, 2011 / 4:03 pm

    Hey, love this post! I found it very informative and worth the read. And I so agree with Vivienne, skinheads have an awful rep in the states. I love their look though, I think it's just so rough. 🙂
    Oh and ignore those facebook "know-it-alls." It's clear to me that you obviously did your research on this.
    P.S: Thanx for the book recommendation ^.^
    -Kelli <3

  6. August 26, 2011 / 1:18 am

    This post is really cool! I'm really interested in subcultures and never really gave skinheads much thought until now

  7. ellenshirae
    December 18, 2011 / 6:12 pm

    I didn't realise that Skinheads were so diverse. I've only met two, both while at work, and they were quite tattooed, and quite polite as customers, but they looked like the stereotype in my head – work trousers/army trousers and work boots, wife-beater shirt, shaved bald head, lots of tattoos. Maybe I've met more but haven't realised because they didn't look like what I'd suppose them to look like. One did have a lot of England-themed tattoos, and I'm not sure if that was a football or nationalism thing.

  8. Meagan Hendrickson
    April 2, 2012 / 5:22 pm

    Very insightful my dear and well written!

  9. Helen
    August 4, 2012 / 7:51 pm

    Hi there, I just stumble upon this blog by chance. I'm the skinhead girl on the scooter you have under oi skinheads. I'm glad you took the time into looking into skinheads as an unique subculture and what you have is mainly correct. But I'm a traditional skin girl- most English skinheads are or SHARPS in the US, we call racists etc boneheads and they couldn't be further from our subculture. I listen to ska and soul, ride a scooter and wear late 60s early 70s clothes, I am lucky to have friends from different races and creeds, and would count rockabillys closer to being a true skinhead than a bonehead, as rockabillies in the 50s were also working class kids listening to black music. Hope you get to meet some nice skinheads some day and keep up the good subculture writing.

    • August 5, 2012 / 12:06 am

      Wow, thanks for clearing that up. That's really interesting and I don't think I would have found that in any book or documentary.

      I'm glad you weren't offended by the picture placement. It was just a genera; placement. :3

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