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Social role of hair

From Academic Kids

Hair has great social significance in human beings. It grows on most areas of the human body, except for the palms of the hands and the feet, but hair is most noticeable in most people in a small number of areas that are most commonly trimmed, plucked, or shaved. These include the face, head, eyebrows, eyelashes, legs and armpits, as well as the pubic region.

The highly visible differences between male and female body and facial hair are a notable secondary sex characteristic.

Hair has had social and sexual significance in a number of societies, as a sign of manliness in men, and femininity in women when in the "right" place, and as a sign of effeminacy in men and unfemininity in women when in the "wrong" place. Where the right and wrong places are differs from one culture to another.

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Allori_Portrait.jpg
Portrait of a Woman, Alessandro Allori (1535 - 1607; Uffizi Gallery): a plucked hairline gives a fashionably "noble brow"
Contents

Hair as indicator

  • healthy hair indicates health and youth
  • hair colour and texture can be a sign of ancestry
  • facial hair as sign of puberty
  • white hair as a sign of age, and hair dye
  • male pattern baldness as sign of age, the toupee, Rogaine
  • hairstyle as indicator of group membership:
    • Beatle "pudding-bowl" haircuts
    • Punk mohawk haircuts
    • Skinhead haircut

Growing and removing

Missing image
Hair-punishment.jpg
French civilians shave the hair of a young woman as punishment for having personal relations with Germans, August 29 1944

Hair, power, punishment and status

Concealing and revealing

See also

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