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Hair

Geraldine Biddle-Perry and Sarah Cheang

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives, 2010, Berg Fashion Library

Encyclopedia entry

Across cultures, the symbolic and material management of hair on bodies, faces and heads is intrinsic to human adornment and hygiene, ritualized belief, and commercial enterprise. Fashions in hair can display an enormous and shifting range of aesthetic and social conventions. A wide variety of primary and secondary sources provides an overview of key debates and theories that describe, inform, and develop our understanding of the styling and management of human hair as a powerful vehicle for soci

Beards and Mustaches

Caroline Cox

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion, 2010, Berg Fashion Library

Encyclopedia entry

Fitrah: Temporary and Permanent Body Modifications for Muslims

Irvin Cemil Schick

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Central and Southwest Asia, 2010, Berg Fashion Library

Encyclopedia entry

The term fitrah, a precise equivalent for which does not exist in English, has been variously translated as that which is innate or instinctive, is determined by nature, derives from creation, or is in accordance with the true faith, which is Islam. The concept of fitrah is sometimes applied to the human body; namely, what people are allowed or not allowed to do with it. It is related, for example, that the Prophet Mohammed said that the five practices that are characteristic of fitrah are circum

The Renaissance Beard: Masculinity in Early Modern England

Will Fisher

Source: Classic and Modern Writings on Fashion, 2nd Edition, 2009, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

This essay builds on Judith Butler's recent theoretical work in Bodies that Matter by suggesting that the sexual differences that “mattered” in early modern England are not exactly the same as those that “matter” today. In particular, it suggests that facial hair often conferred masculinity during the Renaissance: the beard made the man. The centrality of the beard is powerfully demonstrated by both portraits and theatrical practices. Indeed, virtually all men in portraits painted between the mid

Hair, Gender and Looking

Geraldine Biddle-Perry

Source: Hair. Styling, Culture and Fashion, 2008, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

Across cultures, hair is one of the most powerful symbols of our individual and collective identities. But historically and culturally it is arguably the sight of hair that makes its styling, cutting and dressing significant. Hair is our unique ‘species signal’ that in prehistory made us ‘visible from afar…. our great bushy heads on top of our smooth naked bodies identified us immediately as human. Our extravagant tresses were carried like a flag’ (Morris 1987: 21). The human species continue to

Hair and Male (Homo) Sexuality: ‘Up Top and Down Below’

Shaun Cole

Source: Hair. Styling, Culture and Fashion, 2008, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

The French philosopher Michel Foucault (2000: 137–8), speculated on whether it was possible to create ‘a homosexual mode of life.’ He said, ‘A way of life can be shared among individuals of different age, status, and social activity. It can yield intense relations not resembling those that are institutionalised. It seems to me that a way of life can yield a culture and an ethics. To be “gay”, I think, is not to identify with the psychological traits and the visible masks of the homosexual but to

Hairpieces: Hair, Identity and Memory In the Work of Mona Hatoum

Leila Mckellar

Source: Hair. Styling, Culture and Fashion, 2008, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

In 1995, Hatoum produced a piece entitled Pull (Figure 13.1), which was shown in Munich over three days. It consisted of a plait of hair hanging in a box, above which the artist’s face appeared on a video monitor. At first glance it was unclear whether the piece was a performance or a video work. Viewers were invited to pull the hair, in response to which the face on the screen appeared to register sensations of pain. Gradually, viewers realized that the hair and the face were connected, that Hat

Hair Without a Head: Disembodiment and The Uncanny

Janice Miller

Source: Hair. Styling, Culture and Fashion, 2008, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

The most contradictory fact about hair is that whilst many styling products are sold on the premise that they can create hair that has life, vitality and strength, hair is dead matter. Herein lies its complexity as symbol and as object. Hair is dead and yet in most dealings with it, it is its life-force which defines it. That hair should be ‘lively’ is a familiar concept, particularly for women; that it is dead is an unfamiliar one, repressed by the kinds of advertising that promise ecstatic expe

Men’s Facial Hair in Islam: A Matter of Interpretation

Faegheh Shirazi

Source: Hair. Styling, Culture and Fashion, 2008, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

In different religious groups, the presence or absence of facial hair holds distinct meanings. For example, among the Amish, beards indicate marital status. Amish men are not allowed to grow moustaches. Married Amish men must wear full beards known as ‘the chin curtain’ and dress in black (Hostetler 1995: 218). The Amish read Psalm 133:2 as a sure sign that the beard is associated with godliness. Mennonites strictly regulate men’s facial hair. For the Mennonite, pacifism is all-important and is c

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