As early as the 1930s, with the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco California and the widespread development of modern day high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, the hard hat, claimed as a safety apparatus by the elitist chief engineers of its time, has been utilized as a tool of oppression. It is true that hard hats do protect workers from fatal accidents involving plummeting heavy equipment. However, modern advances in the study of phrenology suggest that a couple of extra knots on the cranium, as from a falling wrench or hammer, may benefit individual members of society.
Hard hats prevent such accidents, these potential bouts of serendipity and providence, and keep working class citizens trapped in their current socioeconomic positions.
Dr. Bulshitz N. Haügwash, professor of phrenology at Freie Universität in Berlin, stands at the forefront of this issue. Having been dropped on the head by his mother at a young age, Haügwash speaks out against policies that require the use of hard hats, saying, “Rendering the use of those appalling devices as mandatory denies them [working class construction workers] the same opportunities that I had in life.”
And the restrictions on phrenologistic development don’t stop with hard hats. Dr. Haügwash is active in the debates surrounding many policies, usually disguised under the veil of safety regulation, restricting individuals’ rights to cranial alteration.
Sporting equipment like the modern football helmet, redesigned in the 1950s, has led to claims that helmets perpetuate student’s attendance to colleges and universities in order for these institutions to maintain a competitive edge.
American Social Service officials refuse to acknowledge parents’ insistence on their children wearing bike helmets as an abusive action that hinders child development.
The phrase, “Seat belts save lives” can be heard and read all across the United States as the national Click It or Ticket campaign has gained in popularity since the early 1990s. Leading activists in the fight for phrenologistic rights continue to argue that high speed contact with a windshield or steering wheel offers a perfect opportunity for cranial development. However, automotive policies continue to restrict this possibility. Similar policies exist for the implementation of air bags.
Hundreds of suits have been filed against large construction companies since the topic of cranial rights gained traction in the early 2000s. Most of these suits have been pursued in the wake of accidents on industrial construction sites, near misses as some call them (or near hits, in activists’ minds). However, current legislations in most states uphold the risk of personal harm as a higher priority than the potential for personal development.
Since its inception, the hard hat has become more than just a physical stigma of injustice, but an active tool that promotes oppression. Truly, as workers construct buildings ever taller, the hard hat will continue to deny them upward mobility.