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January 2, 2013
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hair length and roles among the sexes

:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I heard in art history that when a character in a painting had body hair it meant that they were virile and(or) promiscuous. HoweverI am starting to realize that not only body hair but the length of hair seems to have a correlation with gender and sex roles.

Girls in many fictional settings are usually supportive, obedient, kind, nurturing and have long hair. Older respectable women are seen with long hair only put up in a bun. While women with short hair or no hair are portrayed as strange or mean. One example that comes to mind is the borg queen from Star Trek, she has no hair, and is seen as manipulative, creepy, and over the top evil.

When I think about men with long hair I think about romance novel covers with Fabio or Fabio clones, and the beast from Beauty and the Beast (tv show and movie). These men are not real men but idealized projection of what people want men to be.

Let me know if this makes sense or sounds crazy.
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:icontheawesomeshoexd:
TheAwesomeShoeXD Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I personally never really understood the whole body and pubic hair thing. I hate seeing it. I personally get rid of mine and the characters I draw are also clean shaven, although most of the characters express massive amounts of sexuality.

I think the whole long hair thing on women comes from the classic gender roles. Women are to stay at home with the children. This fits the description of supportive, obedient, kind and nurturing. Why long hair? Any active person would know long hair really gets in the way of things. It requires a lot of care; care that an at-home woman can handle but an active one would have a hard time with. I used to have long hair but I couldn't keep up with it and I thought it looked fucking stupid, so I cut it. I was in many activities and didn't have time to wash it every day, I hated combing it because it was a big pain in the ass to do, my dog would sit on it at night, I couldn't wear hoodies, it got caught in everything including my backpack, and I was into fighting and it would always be pulled and used against me. Not fun. It also gave me headaches. After I cut it, it was quite the weight off my shoulders. Unfortunately, many people saw me differently after that. You're right, short haired girls are portrayed as strange or mean so that social stigma stuck. I am very strange, so it went well with my personality there, but I am by no means mean. Back to gender roles, it is expected of a woman to be subservient. One that doesn't conform to those standards is considered strange, and being independent could come off as mean. Many strong, independent women have short hair, so the misunderstood stereotype stuck.
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I am glad you are enjoying your short hair.
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:iconrockygems:
RockyGems Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Student General Artist
Among old European aristocracy, an abundance of pubic hair was seen as so sexy, that when people got syphilis and the hair started to fall out, they would actually glue on wigs down there :XD:
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That explains the body hair in Art History.
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:iconwandereratheart:
WandererAtHeart Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013
In Asia men used to always have long hair as well as women, it was a sign of well-being, status, beauty and pride. Somewher along the course of history the Europeans decided short hair was the thing and spread it around and somehow it stuck although slowly the stereotype is being broken as we see more celebrities like Emma Watson cutting their hair and she's not a symbol of cruelty, evilness, or creepyness at all. And with the whole emo phase hitting teenagers more guys are growing their hair too.

At least that's a miz of what I've learned and observed. Personally I dig guys with long hair though :P
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hooray for Emma Watson.
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:iconnecroraevyn:
NecroRaevyn Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Student Writer
It's an ancient idiot sexist stereotype people still haven't gotten over.
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:iconrionx:
RiONX Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
Alice Krige who played the Borg queen in Start Trek 8 was also in Silent Hill where she was just as evil but had very long hair.
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:iconkamar-al-zaman:
Kamar-al-Zaman Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
cool
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:iconstoneman123:
stoneman123 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't think there is any objective correllation. It seems these things are rather arbitrary and mercurial; artefacts of the culture that produced them. The Masai people of East Africa seem to be rather fond of bald women, for example. What's more, I think shorter hair was preferred on women in the earlier half of the 20th century. Looking at media from that era, it certainly seems more common.

Anyway, if you see it in fictional settings, it's just the result of lazy worldbuilding, with the writer simply projecting a melange of Western cultural perceptions onto the characters.
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