Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Haircut hysteria

Snap coiffure inspection! Here is a typical scene from 1893, after newspaper reports that tightly-bound hair-styles are a risk factor for getting stuck in spiderwebs. The Guardian of the Belgian Revolution -- a state-sanctioned vigilante defender of public morality -- is checking the young ladies' chignons. A summary scalp-shaving awaits if any are found to be too tight.

But the haircut hysteria did not stop there, for other researchers claimed that loose hair was just as dangerous, with the risk of snagging in the twigs of bare trees in snowy symbolist landscapes.


The moral panic continued, peaking in 1908, when an authoritative meta-analysis of all the available data showed that any hair-style was equally associated with spiderweb-related injuries.* The furore died down swiftly and no further media attention was paid to coiffure hazards, as if it had never happened.

* H/t to Rachel.

UPDATE: tigris brings a Bonus Case study of loose hair snagging in a growing tree. This is why you should pay attention while the industrial-safety cautionary movie is screening rather than doodle on your folder!

18 comments:

Another Kiwi said...

Van De Dood! I had not heard of them for ages. Their second album was disappointing at best!

Substance McGravitas said...

Were the hairstyles flouridated? Because that's COMMUNIST.

Rachel said...

Mellery's ladies (top two pics) look most able to rip those spidery ropes, what with their super long arms, well-muscled buttocks, stocky legs and broad,powerful backs. I think he'd heard that hands always ended mid-thigh but missed the rest of Anatomy for Artists, where you find that is the norm for the WELL-PROPORTIONED.

This fashion model's arms are the correct length:

http://youtu.be/5CaMUfxVJVQ

Laura said...

I just steer clear of spider webs.
That's all. :)

((Hugs))
Laura

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Just don't get complacent, Laura.
~

HyperCRYPTICal said...

I have often been the victim of spiderweb related injuries...

...never realised in was hairstyle related - silly me - I shall shave it off...

Anna :o]

mikey said...

Van De Dood.

Little known Belgian film from 1976 chronicling the travels of a Belgian hippie, known only as "Dood", throughout the low countries. He meets and sleeps with many young girls, drops acid (represented on screen by distorted images, flashing lights, quick cuts and atonal music) and argues at night with soldiers in pubs.

Although neither well known nor particularly well made, Van De Dood is often cited as an influence by many film makers, from Joel Coen to Dennis Hopper

vacuumslayer said...

See? Nothing good comes of being a showy ginger.

Rachel said...

Did you notice the little blue babe at her breast? -And a second one stuck in the snow... this is a showy ginger mama.

Smut Clyde said...

Once she was helpless, the feral babies closed in for the kill.

tigris said...

Alas, the heartbreak of static electricity still gets shockingly short shrift. I'd weep bitter tears, but what with the low humidity they evaporate almost instantly.

tigris said...

Also: the babies in the snow are soon to be pressed into ice whine.

fish said...

I never found the Nazi spider propaganda all that compelling.

tigris said...

Oh, there's a pertinent image in "une semaine de bonté," p 138 in the Dover ed. if you have access.

Smut Clyde said...

"Have access"? I bought my copy in 1978 or 1979 so it's looking slightly foxed but then so am I. Dover make books to LAST.

But no scanner. Let's see if anyone has uploaded the image to Flickr.

tigris said...

I assumed you owned it, just not that you could immediately lay hands on it. I mean, I've seen the pixies' shelving system.

Smut Clyde said...

Thanks to the workings of memory and the opportunity to download 1981 issues of Heavy Metal, I found some images of the Library Pixie shelving system. They may appear some time in a post.

Rachel said...

Hey, there's a veiny-headed man in the bottom right of Tigris' addendum... spewing some message in magic symbols?