Hair Culture

The Tangled Business of Facial Hair in Politics

Jan 7, 2016

Fashion styles come and go, but facial hair on men hasn't entered the mainstream since safety razors came on the scene. Sure, some of our elected officials have held on to their whiskers, but Presidential beards and mustaches are a distant memory.

digboston via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/avaXhK

Once the customary hairstyle of ballerinas and librarians, the bun has been making a comeback - this time on the heads of lads. Man buns have even topped the heads of Hollywood stars like Jared Leto, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Chris Hemsworth, and have trickled down to the streets of Brooklyn, LA, Portland, and even into Middle America. 

But not everyone covets the Man Bun. Many people, including Brian Moylan of TIME and James Corden, host of the Late Late Show, have been ready to end the trend – but as anyone walking through Williamsburg or Bushwick can see, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. 

9.28.15: White Lies, Pill Trackers, & Man Buns

Sep 28, 2015
Paweł Marciniak via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/zfPq8

Among the choices for the 2015 edition of the Best American Poetry, a poem by Yi-Fen Chou.  The problem? The author was actually a white guy using a made-up name. Today, white privilege in the poetry world, and the editor who defended his use of racial nepotism. Then, since airline de-regulation in the 1970s, legroom and seat width have measurably decreased, leading to cramped misery in economy-class cabins. But is it a human rights issue? One organization says yes. 

Al_HikesAZ via Flickr CC / //flic.kr/p/5eSsvr

The National Park Service reports that only 7% of annual park visitors are African American. On today’s show, we delve into environmental and cultural history to find out why the story of the American outdoors is so white.

Then, from clamshell tweezers to electrolysis, we’ll take a look at America’s history of hair removal, and what it reveals about shifting views of racial and social status.

Plus, is technology killing the jewelry industry? We’ll find out why global sales of fine jewelry have been sluggish since the global recession.

6.24.15: Trolls, Back to the Future & Gray Hair

Jun 24, 2015
Darrell Miller via Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/biFVsZ

Internet trolls – they shame, threaten, bully…and help sell ads!  A researcher infiltrates a trolling network and the cycle of harassment. Plus, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of back to the future, the billion dollar film franchise that repurposed the Delorian, reinvented time travel, and gave us the hoverboard. And from Rihanna to lady gaga – dyed gray hair is a hot fashion trend. Feminist statement or a passing fad? 

CatWarren.com/press

For most pet-owners, dogs are a symbol of love and loyalty.  Throughout history though, man's bestie has also held darker associations.  Today, we talk about death and the dog, from Greek mythologies three-headed hell-hound named Cerberus, to the modern use of cadaver-detection dogs. Plus, we go on the trail with a blind hiker and his guide dog as they summit 48 of New Hampshire's 4,000-footers in a single winter! 

Dave via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4rTLFX

Valentine’s Day is this weekend and couples in love are expected to spend in the billions, but spending by singles may have even greater revenue potential. On today’s show, a look at China’s anti-Valentine’s holiday: Singles' Day and how it became the largest online shopping day in the world.

Then, from clamshell razors to electrolysis, humans have gone to great lengths to achieve a smooth, clean shave. We’ll take a look at the history of hair removal, and what it reveals about shifting views of racial and social status in the U.S. 

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

istolethetv via Flickr CC

As long as transplants have been medically possible, there have been horror stories about the black market organ trade.  Today, an anthropologist sheds the trappings of academia to take on, and even indict, illegal organ brokers.  Plus, a less frightening example removing body parts – we’ll investigate the growing controversy behind men who shave, wax, or Nair their backs. And now, some hairy men are fighting back against a standard of beauty few of us even knew existed. Plus, the future is now – we investigate an algae powered building that actually works.

Virginia Prescott notices that recent movie reviews include as much critical analysis into facial hair as they do to cinematography, sound design and acting. Check out Virginia's take on the phenomenon here: