This is the first academic book ever written on women and body hair, a subject which has, until now, been seen as too trivial, ridiculous or revolting to write about. Even feminist writers or researchers on the body have found remarkably little to say about body hair, usually not mentioning it at all. If womens body hair is noted, it is either simply to accept its removal as an inevitable aspect of female beautification, or to argue against hair removal as a return to a natural and un-oppressed female body. The only texts to elaborate on body hair are guides on how to remove it, medical texts on hirsutism, or fetishistic pornography on hairy women. The last taboo asks how and why any particular issue can become defined as self-evidently too silly or too mad to write about.
Using a wide range of thinking from gender theory, queer theory, critical and literary theory, history, art history, anthropology and psychology, the contributors argue that, in fact, body hair plays a central role in constructing masculinity and femininity and sexual and cultural identities. Arguing from the theoretical position that identity and the body are culturally and historically constructed, the chapters each analyse through a specific focus how body hair underpins ideas of the cultural and natural in Western culture. This book will provide academic researchers, postgraduates and advanced undergraduates with a completely fresh perspective on all of the fields mentioned above.
'This is a genuinely entertaining and informative book that reveals body hair as a vital methodological lens by which to illuminate not only practices of regulation around gender and sexuality, but also highlighting how these are linked to 'race', colonialism and ultimately to to the ambiguities and efforts to contain the uncertain and fragile boundaries constructed within modern western culture between nature and culture.' Prof. Erica Burman, Research Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University
1. The last taboo: women, body hair and feminism - Karin Lesnik-Oberstein
2. 'The wives of geniuses I have sat with': body hair, genius, and modernity - Daniela Caselli
3. A history of pubic hair or reviewers' responses to Terry Eagleton's 'After Theory' - Louise Tondeur
4. Hairs on the lens: female body hair on the screen - Alice Macdonald
5. 'La justice, c'est la femme a barbe !': the bearded lady, displacement and recuperation in Apollinaire's 'Les mamelles de Tiresias' - Stephen Thomson
6. 'That wonderful phaenomenon': female body hair and English literary tradition - Carolyn D. Williams
7. 'Fur' or hair: l'effroi et l'attirance of the wild-woman - Jacqueline Lazu
8. Designers' bodies: women and body hair in contemporary art and advertising - Laura Scuriatti
9. Bikini fur and fur bikinis - Sue Walsh
10. Women with beards in early modern Spain - Sherry Velasco
11. On Frida Kahlo's moustache: A reading of 'Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair and its criticism - Neil Cocks -- .
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 4th January 2011
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6
Weight (kg): 0.34