In 1994, Kurt Cobain dyed his hair blue. Since then, this image has become synonymous with todays teenagers and generation X. However, over the years, this image has also come to be associated with a group of people who have been labeled as “emo,” which led to many people not only viewing Cobain as an emo but also making fun of him for being an emo. Kurt Cobain colored hair is all over the internet now and it’s even become a part of popular culture. Kurt Cobain and his hair have become synonymous with both “emo” and “liberal.”
But was the color of his hair always so misunderstood? Consider this image from the film “Forbidden Zone.” Look at what you see here: That’s right, Kurt Cobain has a blue Mohawk! What many people don’t realize is that this is actually an incredibly accurate representation of what a lot of kids were wearing in 1994. The style is called a Fred Perry Polo. Of course, these were being worn by emos as well as everyone else, but not many people are aware that Kurt was wearing one too. For example, check out this fan art: This is a picture of Kurt Cobain wearing a blue Mohawk. It was drawn by an amateur artist during the height of Nirvana’s popularity.
Cobain fans associate this image with being “emo” and “gay.” But not so long ago, this image was associated with the name KURT COBAIN! It’s no coincidence that many kids are still wearing these polo shirts today. They’re comfortable and they look great. It wasn’t until the blue hair fad died that people started to notice that it resembled Kurt Cobain’s Mohawk, and once they made that connection, they also made the assumption that all people wearing blue Mohawks had to be emos and goths.
1. Inaccurate Representation
The above image was created by a fan who wanted to show how much he/she “LOVED” Nirvana. What it ended up promoting was an inaccurate stereotype. It also created a level of confusion that many people still don’t understand today. The majority of people associate Kurt Cobain’s hair with being a Mohawk, when the truth is that it was actually part of a style called “The Polo.” There is no doubt that Kurt Cobain did experiment with his hair, but it wasn’t always blue and it wasn’t always in this fashion. In addition to this inaccurate representation, many people are also confused about the length and its relationship to Kurt Cobain’s death.
The hair with which Kurt Cobain died was long. It was long before his death and it continued to grow after his death. The pictures below show how much hair he had when he died and how much hair he had in 2003. Many people often forget that he died during the height of his career, while still being a very young man. For most people, this is the image of Kurt Cobain they will always remember: Some people assume that he continued to wear his hair like this due to depression or even because he “wanted” to die. The fact is that he died with this hair because it was fashionable and because he liked it. He didn’t die with this hair because he was an emo.
3. The Fan Expectation Factor:
Another factor of Cobain coloring hair is the fan expectation factor. Although Kurt Cobain did experiment with his hair, many of his fans have come to expect him to have a blue mohawk because that’s the way they remember him most often. Because of this, every time someone dyes their own hair blue, people assume that they are trying to BE Kurt Cobain or that they are basing their image on Kurt Cobain’s image. But Cobain fans are not the only ones with this expectation. The majority of fans today are emo/goth.
4. The Emo Stereotype:
While Kurt Cobain was definitely an emo, he wasn’t the only emo in rock music during his time. Many other artists have dyed their hair as well, including two bands that were heavily affiliated with Cobain and Nirvana: PIG and Marilyn Manson. Both of these bands made heavy use of the color blue in their music and also had long hair like Kurt did as well.
Kurt Cobain was also a fan of Tim Burton films as well as films by experimental filmmaker David Lynch (who was famously associated with the “Emo” stereotype). In both of these films, you can find many examples of people with long hair and even blue hair as well, who are not necessarily emo! This is also an example of how subjective the term “emo” is. A lot of people have come to associate the word “emo” with “goth,” and although there are valid reasons for this association, it isn’t totally fair either.
5. The Liberal Factor:
The stereotype that Kurt Cobain was a liberal was most likely started because he was one. In fact, he was a very liberal man who loved his daughter more than anything else in the world, who just happened to dye his hair blue at one point in his life.