A Tiny Cloak of Privilege: Facial Hair and Story Telling

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


From Poirot’s moustache to Clint Eastwood’s cowboy stubble, facial hair can be a useful tool in a storyteller’s arsenal, an immediate visual shorthand for indicating wealth, status, culture or state of mind to an audience. The author investigates how we use facial hair in the portrayal of narrative stereotypes in performance, what our definition of these characters from their aesthetic says about us, and why some characters’ facial hair seems to pervade popular culture to such a degree it acquires a celebrity independent of the wearer. She also looks at the experience of those performers who grow facial hair for particular roles and have to live with the character ‘on their face’ as well as those who use the transformative power of false facial hair and how they feel it differs from other costume elements, as if it were a facsimile of their own body.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Casey
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent Makeup ArtistLondonUK

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