- Format: Paperback
- ISBN: 978-0-7190-8323-5
- Pages: 256
- Price: £16.99
- Published Date: January 2011
This is the first academic book ever written on women and body hair, which has been seen until now 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 ignoring it completely. It would appear that 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 also questions 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. It is sure to provide many academic researchers 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.'
1. The last taboo: women, body hair and feminism - Karín 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 à barbe !': the bearded lady, displacement and recuperation in Apollinaire's 'Les mamelles de Tirésias' - Stephen Thomson
6. 'That wonderful phænomenon': female body hair and English literary tradition - Carolyn D. Williams
7. 'Fur' or hair: l'effroi et l'attirance of the wild-woman - Jacqueline Lazú
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
Karín Lesnik-Oberstein is Senior Lecturer in English and American Literature at the University of Reading