© 2018

New Perspectives on the History of Facial Hair

Framing the Face

  • Jennifer Evans
  • Alun Withey


  • Offers the first survey of the history of facial hair across both time and geographical space

  • Provides new insights into the male body and manliness in different time periods, contexts and societies

  • Utilises innovative, cross-disciplinary approaches to the history of facial hair


Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Alun Withey, Jennifer Evans
    Pages 1-11
  3. (Re)Building the Beard?

  4. Masculinity and the Moustache

  5. Feminine Facial Hair and Feminine Responses to Facial Hair

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 235-249

About this book


This volume brings together a range of scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to re-examine the histories of facial hair and its place in discussions of gender, the military, travel and art, amongst others. Chapters in the first section of the collection explore the intricate history of beard wearing and shaving, including facial hair fashions in long historical perspective, and the depiction of beards in portraiture. Section Two explores the shifting meanings of the moustache, both as a manly symbol in the nineteenth century, and also as the focus of the material culture of personal grooming. The final section of the collection charts the often-complex relationship between men, women and facial hair. It explores how women used facial hair to appropriate masculine identity, and how women’s own hair was read as a sign of excessive and illicit sexuality.


Masculinity Beards Medicine Moustaches Fashion

Editors and affiliations

  • Jennifer Evans
    • 1
  • Alun Withey
    • 2
  1. 1.University of HertfordshireHatfieldUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.University of ExeterExeterUnited Kingdom

About the editors

Jennifer Evans is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. Her research focuses on the body, gender and medicine in the seventeenth century. She is currently working on a project exploring men’s sexual health in the seventeenth century. Recent publications include Perceptions of Pregnancy from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century (Palgrave, 2017), co-edited with Ciara Meehan. 

Alun Withey is Wellcome Research Fellow in the Centre for the History of Medicine at the University of Exeter, UK. An historian of early modern medicine and the body, he is currently working on a major research project on the history of facial hair in Britain. Recent publications include Technology, Self-Fashioning and Politeness in Eighteenth-century Britain (Palgrave, 2015).

Bibliographic information