What is the symbolism for the haircut?
The greasers cannot afford rings, cars, or other physical trappings of power that the Socs enjoy. Consequently, they must resort to more affordable markers of identity. By wearing their hair in a specific style, greasers distinguish themselves from other social groups. When the Socs jump Ponyboy at the beginning of the novel, they ask him if he wants a haircut and threaten to cut off his hair. By doing so, they would rob him of his identity.