Concept

Head shaving

Summary
Head shaving is a form of body modification which involves shaving the hair from a person's head. People throughout history have shaved all or part of their heads for diverse reasons including aesthetics, convenience, culture, fashion, practicality, punishment, a rite of passage, religion, or style. The earliest historical records describing head shaving are from ancient Mediterranean cultures such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The Egyptian priest class ritualistically removed all hair from head to toe by plucking it. In many cultures throughout history, cutting or shaving the hair on men has been seen as a sign of subordination. In ancient Greece and much of Babylon, long hair was a symbol of economic and social power, while a shaved head was the sign of a slave. This was a way of the slave-owner establishing the slave's body as their property by literally removing a part of their personhood and individuality. The practice of shaving heads has been widely used in the military. Although sometimes explained as being for hygiene reasons, the image of strict and disciplined conformity is also accepted as a factor. Upon the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II, many soldiers chose to have their heads completely shaved in order to deny any Nazis the opportunity to grab it if they engaged in hand-to-hand combat. For the new military recruit, it can be a rite of passage, and variations of it have become a badge of honor. Prisoners commonly have their heads shaven to prevent the spread of lice, but it may also be used as a demeaning measure. Having the head shaved can be a punishment prescribed in law. Nazis punished people accused of racial mixing by parading them through the streets with shaved heads and placards around their necks detailing their "crimes". During and after World War II, thousands of French women had their heads shaved in front of cheering crowds as punishment for either collaborating with the Nazis or having sexual relationships with Nazi soldiers during the war.
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