The presence of male facial and body hair is not a fad that has simply come to forefront of men’s grooming standards in a few short years. Dating back to the beginnings of America hair has been cut,shaved, and plucked off the bodies of men. Hair has had the ability to connote power and presence, or poverty and homelessness. No matter the social, political, or economic status of the male, his identity can (and has) been expressed through hair. In “Hair: An Analysis of Masculine Aesthetics”, I examine the history of the performance of masculinity and the grooming standards that have grown to father the traditions of male beauty throughout several socio-economic eras of Westerners, specifically in the United States; as poverty levels rise and fall, so do fads and social trends with body hair. While showing ever-changing development of hair I propose a few questions to men of the twenty-first century: what purpose does hair serve for men today? What defines the line of transgressive hair? What does today’s understanding of hair look like compared to its history? Through the use of contemporary men’s magazines like GQ which publish body grooming tips and tricks, historical analysis of the physical aesthetics of former leaders in American society, and media that dictate male grooming standards, I construct a contemporary portrait of hair by creating faux beards that will be photographed on men as an iconically ironic blend of masculinity. These portraits will be artistic interpretations of hair throughout its history.
Lee, Adam, "HAIR: A Discussion of Performative American Masculinities" (2014). Student Research Day Abstracts and Posters. 11.