Entangled Empowerment: Connecting Shared Hair Transplantation Practices for Men in Turkey and Iran
Max Weber Stiftung, Connecting Themes Conference
with Melike Şahinol
Irrespective of gender, techno-medical possibilities are causing profound transformations in the human body, promising empowerment. As a result, there is a growing cultural enthusiasm for cosmetic surgery, revealing itself in the promotion of a range of cosmetic treatment options tailored towards men and women alike in billboards placed around metropolitan areas of Turkey and Iran, the two of the most popular global destinations for health and beauty. These two countries, compared to the world, stand out with the number of hair transplantations carried out for men regarding their facial and chest hair. Connecting these two countries through their shared hair transplantation practices for men, we aim to discuss unifying but contested elements of masculinities construction that are intertwined with empowerment.
We discuss three dimensions, enabling and contesting the emergent empowerment through hair transplantation practices. First dimension regards purity and cleanliness, which could often be traced to religious meanings and affects. Secondly, empowerment is framed by socio-political currents as in different moustache and beard styles often associated with specific socio-political attitudes. Last dimension points to the emergent beauty norms often related to emergent masculinities. Our qualitative research discloses individual yet connected empowering practices and techniques around hair transplantation entangled with the three above-mentioned dimensions reshaping masculinities.
Photograph: Kamyar Nematollahy
This presentation was made as a part of Hair:y_less Masculinities. A Cartography, a subproject within IRSSC. IRSSC was led by Orient-Institut Istanbul within the scope of Max Weber Foundation’s international research project Knowledge Unbound (Wissen Entgrenzen), which was funded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).