A film examining cultural significances attached to hair and femininity.
By Elvira Vedelago
By Elvira Vedelago
Earlier this year, BASE collaborated with the cultural anthology POSTSCRIPT to create a short film exploring societal understandings of femininity and its relationship to hair.
Hair continues to act as a gender and sexual signifier today. Where hair holds great historical, cultural and religious significance across the globe, modern society still perceives long hair as a fundamental part of female beauty, and in turn, part of our worth as women. Therefore, viewing the removal of hair as an act of defiance for women across the globe. Those who have decided to cut off their hair or live openly with the effects of hair loss are seen as non-conforming. Punks, rebels and antagonists. Assumed to be queer, sick and/or emotionally distraught women. Women of colour, in particular, are often faced with cultural stereotypes around femininity and hair, as it continues to play a significant role in hierarchal beauty standards cross-culturally. As such, women of colour with short hair are often subjected to questions around their attractiveness, misconceptions about their sexuality and concerns about being “too masculine”.
Released alongside POSTSCRIPT’s Defiance Issue, this film features three British women of South Asian backgrounds with buzzcuts or very short hair – some who chose to cut their hair to better match their identity and some who lost their hair as a result of illness – and explores each model’s personal relationship to their hair, as well as how their perspectives on femininity have changed as a result of having short hair. With this project, we hope to open up more dialogue about beauty, femininity and womanhood, all the while deconstructing some of the stigma and stereotypes attached to the lack of hair and society’s limited perspectives of what defines feminine beauty.
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