HAIR: A Human History

HAIR: A Human History

KURT STENN    Book Number: 87576    Product format: Hardback

A leading expert on hair follicles, Kurt Stenn is a brilliant communicator, covering not only the science of hair growth and development but the secrets of what goes on in the modern hairdressing salon, fur merchant, associations to sheep farms and medical clinics. Zoologists study the signals sent out by birds and animals through their feathers and fur, and humans have an even greater range of messages about self-identification, social-sexual fitness and religion. Over the millennia human hair has become associated with beauty, and the author describes the sensation created when the winner of an American beauty queen contest in 1997 threw off her wig in the final parade to reveal the bald head of an alopecia patient. Intended as a protest against the commodification of women's bodies and an appeal to refocus on who we really are, the gesture shocked American society where identity is closely bound up with hairstyle. Men's hair is as subject to fashion as women's, and in the early 1800s Byronic young men were cutting their hair short to distinguish themselves from the powdered wigs of the older generation. Apart from a few diversions, short hair distinguished the American male up to the wartime crew cut, with the 1960s seeing a return to longer styles influenced by Elvis and the Beatles. For women, shorter hair came in with the early 20th century Gibson Girl and her roll of hair across the forehead. Men's barbers go back to ancient times, but historically women's hair was styled at home until the first salon opened in the 1870s in Paris's Montmartre, where Marcel Grateau popularised the "Marcel wave". The author concludes with the forensic uses of hair, often brought as evidence of poison in criminal trials. 224pp, notes, bibliography, photos.
Published price: £20
Bibliophile price: £6.00

Additional product information

ISBN 9781605989556
Browse these categories as well: Health & Beauty, Science & Maths, History

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