A History of Queer Women’s Hairstyles

‘A History of Queer Women’s Hairstyles’ is a deep-dive into the hairstyles that queer women have worn throughout history. From the slick, modernist Eton Crops of 1920s lesbians which at once signalled sexuality and modernity to the long locks and beehives of 1950s femmes; from the shaved head of contemporary butches and disgraced women of centuries gone by to the specific hairstyles of Black women and their significance in queer communities – this talk is about the times when hair isn’t just hair, but a secret signal or bold confession. Mullets or curls, styled or natural, hairstyles are just as much a part of queer women’s fashion history as any piece of clothing.

In this lecture, we’ll look at historic painting and illustrations, as well as modern photographs. We’ll read the words of queer women from the past and the present who found significance in their hair, as well as archival newspapers, biographies, and even modern-day Tumblr posts. A history of queer’s women’s hairstyles is as varied and diverse as the people whose heads are crowned by them.

Please, note:

  • the total duration of the event is 1 hour ( ~ 50mins lecture and 10mins Q&A)
  • the talk doesn’t require any prior training and anyone can join
  • This event will be recorded: the video will be available in 3-5 days after the talk
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Eleanor Medhurst
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Eleanor Medhurst is an independent lesbian fashion historian and the author of Dressing Dykes, an online blog about lesbian fashion history. She has degrees in design and fashion history at BA and MA level from the University of Brighton, and has also worked towards the sharing of queer histories through her involvement with Queer Looks and Queer the Pier, exhibitions at Brighton Museum. Her first book, Unsuitable: A History of Lesbian Fashion, is being published this June.

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