Mullets are having a moment right now, but queer women have always known they’re hot
You may well have noticed already, but the mullet has officially made its comeback as the hottest hair trend of the moment. And not even ironically.
The infamous “business in the front, party in the back” style has recently been embraced by everyone from Billie Eilish and Petra Collins to, of course, Tiger King’s Joe Exotic whose extreme peroxide cut stood out even amidst the increasingly berserk series of events captured on the programme. And honestly, if there was ever a time for a mullet renaissance it is now. With the world around us currently looking pretty bleak, what better time to find joy where we can and express our creativity through truly bonkers hairstyles.
But while most people are only just coming around to the joys of the mullet, for lesbians and queer women the style has long been a firm favourite. Alongside other Alternative Lifestyle Haircuts sported by women-loving-women through the years – including but not limited to shaved heads, faux-hawks, pixie cuts, spiky bedheads, Bieber-esque bangs, anything asymmetrical, and our version of The Rachel: The Shane – the mullet has often acted as a symbol of queer sexuality. Yes, it’s a stereotype but it is also a signifier. Queer people have a long history of signalling through personal aesthetics and hair is a key non-verbal communicator in the subtle coding of the LGBTQ+ community. And the mullet in particular has proudly held the handle of lesbian haircut, with everyone from Ellen Degeneres to Tegan and Sara through to Christine and the Queens wearing the style.
So without further ado, here are some of the best queer mullets from pop culture, ranked.
Punk legend Joan Jett has rocked a mullet since The Runaways’ 1970s heyday, a key component of her signature badass look. A fun fact about me: when I was 17, I spray painted Joan Jett’s name onto a t-shirt and wore it to a Green Day concert that she was opening for. In hindsight, a very gay thing to do.
RANKING: 4 mullets out of 5 for being an OG champion of the mullet.
K.D. LANG ON THE PUPPY EPISODE
A groundbreaking moment for LGBTQ+ visibility in mainstream culture, when Ellen Degeneres came out as gay on her ABC sitcom Ellen it became one of the first major television shows with an openly lesbian main character. To mark the occasion the episode featured cameos from several queer public figures including Melissa Etheridge, Jenny Shimizu and k.d. lang who appears as a rainbow pin wearing, lavender T-shirt clad singer sporting a mullet and singing an anthem about sisterhood.
RANKING: 5 out of 5 mullets. Doesn’t get much gayer.
TEGAN AND SARA
Tegan and Sara are queens of the Alternative Lifestyle Haircut. From sweeping asymmetrical bangs to choppy pixie cuts, the range has been impressive but where they have truly excelled is the mullet, a style they’ve worn shaggy, whispy, or paired with long fringes and shaved sides.
RANKING: 4 out of 5 mullets for range and dedication to the look.
CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS
French singer-songwriter Christine and the Queens was recently asked her opinion on the best mullet in history on an Instagram livestream. Her response? A sly suggestion that you were looking at it. Another fun fact about me, when Chris released the short film for La vita nuova my friend sent it to me with the timestamp for the exact moment when Chris licks Caroline Polachek's neck. (It’s 11.20, you’re welcome.)
RANKING: 3 out of 5 mullets. It’s still growing out from a subtle shag to a full on mullet.
At the beginning of the year, Miley Cyrus debuted a new 70s shag haircut in an Instagram post brimming with optimism for the new year. That optimism is probably gone, but the haircut has remained strong and in isolation has even been updated to a full-on Joe Exotic-esque mullet.
RANKING: 2 out of 5 mullets. It’s a strong mullet (it is, after all, in her blood) but Miley loses points for suggesting women are gay only until they find the right man. “You don’t have to be gay, there are good people with dicks out there, you’ve just got to find them,” she unfortunately said. “I just always thought I had to be gay because all guys were evil, but it’s not true.”
One of the gayest haircuts in recent history belonged to comedian Cameron Esposito who not only had a mullet, she had a SIDE-mullet. Cameron sported the iconic look for eight years before making the chop a few years ago to a still quite gay swoppy fringe, short sides look.
RANKING: 5 out of 5 mullets. It’s a side-mullet!
For her portrayal of known mullet rocker Joan Jett in the 2010 film The Runaways, Kristen Stewart adopted Joan’s signature haircut, and continued to wear it long past the end of filming. Since then Kristen has revisited the mullet on several occasions as well as other gay classics like the buzz cut, the pixie cut and the asymmetrical bob.
RANKING: 3.5 out of 5 mullets. A solid mullet plus half a point for Kristen publicly coming out via an SNL monologue about how much President Trump hates her.
CARMEN FROM THE L WORD
Carmen de la Pica Morales was introduced in season two of The L Word with a weirdly out of character choppy mullet. The look did not last long, with Carmen wearing her hair long, curly and lustrous for the rest of her run on the show.
Despite Carmen being a fan favourite, the character did not return to the Generation Q reboot in part thanks to actress Sarah Shahi not actually being Latina herself. Nevertheless, Carmen remains in our hearts and we will always have this scene which is still one of the hottest non-sex sex scenes on television.
RANKING: 2 out of 5. Not a true sense of commitment to the mullet.
Back in the late 80s, before the Puppy Episode, before she became a George Bush apologist, Ellen Degeneres was just a stand up comedian with a glorious mullet.
RANKING: 3 out of 5 mullets due to my complicated feelings about Ellen.
ROBERTA COLINDREZ IN VIDA
Roberta Colindrez is so hot I sat through the entire series of I Love Dick (ok that’s a lie I skipped all the Kevin Bacon parts) and briefly, but seriously, considered buying a plane ticket to Marfa in the hope that Devon would too hand me over a pair of cowboy boots and tell me my art is pedestrian.
But it was as the character Nico in the series Vida that Colindrez's mullet came into being. The bartender and bona fide heartthrob rocks a soft, curly shag that just tips over onto this side of a mullet.
RANKING: 2.5 out of 5 mullets. Like Chris, the hair is still growing out from a subtle shag but the attitude is there.
INDIGO GIRLS CIRCA 1985
Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of folk-rock duo Indigo Girls are both lesbians as well as the writers of classic lesbian anthem “Closer to Fine.” Add to that the solid mullets they wore throughout the 80s and you can see why they hold such a special place in the hearts of queer women.
RANKING: 4 out of 5 mullets. Solid effort.
An early adopter of the revival mullet, Euphoria star Barbie Ferreira hasn’t been afraid to experiment with the style going from short and green to long and wavy, and amazingly pulling it off every time. As the youngest member of the list, Barbie is surely indicative of Gen Z’s commitment to embracing the mullet.
RANKING: 3 out of 5 mullets. Love the green.