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Hair Today; Gone (And Tarred) Tomorrow

This photo comes from the Netherlands National Archives at Flickr:

Shaving and tarring [pitch] of [‘Kraut whores’] after the liberation of Holland. Amsterdam, The Netherlands, May, 1945.

The so-called “Kraut whores” were sometimes prostitutes; but not always. Any woman who was thought to trade with or otherwise was perceived as having benefited from the occupying German forces was, after liberation, called a whore. It is important to remember that even in cases where women sought to submit in order to keep themselves or their families alive, these things cannot easily be called “choices”; it was wartime. But in any case,  accurate or not, the slur was used — along with the tar and razors/scissors.  (Perhaps the feathers were a premium at such a time?)

What’s most interesting to me is the application of tar over the shorn locks of hair.

It’s obvious in the photograph that the woman’s hair was not cut to remove the tar.  No, the primary objective was to remove the lady’s hair; the tar a classic, stinging, icing on the befouled cake of supposed justice.

Hair is a vital, hardwired, biological signal of desirability — what we call “beauty.”  Hair, especially long hair, signals female health and youth. Both relate to fertility and offspring viability, keys to genetic information necessary for species survival.

The removal of a woman’s hair delivers more than condemnation and/or humiliation.  It’s more than a momentary societal judgement. Potential permanent damages from tarring and careless (or pain inflicting) shaving aside, it  takes years for the hair to grow back. Even if time shall help erase societal and individual memories of acts of (perceived) shame, the removal of a woman’s hair affects the woman’s genetic value.

During the time it takes for the hair to regrow, she is eschewed at a primal base level.  For the actual prostitutes, this threatens their income and survival.  For all women treated thus, this passage of time may be their window of reproductive years.  As this act of removing a woman’s hair has deep ties to the human animal unconscious, the act is an assault — the repercussions of which can prevent a woman from mating and genetically living on via her offspring.

In a patriarchal society, this dooms a woman to poverty and even death.

 

Posted in Essays, Photographs, Prositution, Sex History.

Tagged with , , , , .


2 Responses

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  1. lafemmeroar says

    Ah, such atrocities signify such inhumanity. What needed to be tarred were the men and yes even in some cases the women who promoted such barbaric practices.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Bad Hair Is No Joke (Or, Hairy Situations In Racism & Misogyny) linked to this post on November 18, 2013

    […] in gender and race. From the Bible and organized eugenics programs to the less organized attacks of societal judgements (NWS), history shows that women have been — and continue to be — judged, humiliated, marked, […]



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