Last week the media was full of images of Britney Spears shaving off all her hair. Countless articles appeared in the newspapers analysing in great detail the possible motives behind her action.
Meanwhile, every year thousands of women lose their hair as a result of alopecia or chemotherapy treatment. What are the psychological and emotional effects on a woman of losing her hair? How important is our hair to our sense of identity? What impact does hair loss have on the way other people see women? Does going bald have more impact on a woman than a man? And if a woman chooses to shave her head, what statement is she trying to make?
Jenni discusses this with historian Prof Lisa Jardine of Queen Mary College, London University, who has personal experience of hair loss, and Dr. Karin Lesnik-Oberstein, a senior lecturer in cultural studies at Reading University who has spent 15 years researching the connection between a woman's hair and her identity.
The Last Taboo: Women and Body Hair by Karin Lesnik-Oberstein, published by Manchester University Press ISBN: 9780719075001