How is it possible that the same symbol that stands for vice and experience also may stand for purity and virginity? And the Victorians who traded hair lockets and rings were perhaps trading favors of another kind. Down through the ages, blondes have been prized for their rarity and erotic allure-even though most of them were not authentic. The rich needed a new sign of status, which they found first in dark hair, later in wigs of enormous complexity and expense. Some of it is fleetingly striking.
We get the historical litany of blondes from ancient Greek goddesses to Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana. This is a fascinating beginning for a memoir. Already, many of our goddesses of beauty are coffee-colored and yellow-haired. Pitman seems to have been inspired by a period of her own life spent in Africa, where her fair-haired looks made her particularly unusual. Blondeness had totally changed its meaning. Some of it is fleetingly striking. On Blondes struck me as the kind of book produced more and more often by contemporary publishing-a book that must have made for a great pitch meeting. And the Victorians who traded hair lockets and rings were perhaps trading favors of another kind. This ought to alert us to the human tendency to manipulate symbols so that they become an outer expression of inner drives. We have seen full lips replace rosebud lips as the standard of feminine beauty. How did blond hair reassert itself after a period of fascination with dark curls or powdered wigs? How is it possible that the same symbol that stands for vice and experience also may stand for purity and virginity? Fashion is nothing if not malleable, and it responds rapidly to political and social change. It did fascinate me that the ancient Romans so prized blond hair that they sheared Germanic slaves to make blond wigs for their Mediterranean-looking noble ladies-emulating, of course, the very people who would eventually overrun the empire. It also raises many interesting questions about fashions in beauty in a world where the races increasingly mix and intermarry. Probably the most interesting parts of Ms. By the midth century, enormous wigs supported ships in full sail on waves of powdered hair. Pitman seems to me a talented writer searching for a book contract in a dumbed-down publishing universe. The rich needed a new sign of status, which they found first in dark hair, later in wigs of enormous complexity and expense. Norton , will be published in May. Will other changes in the ideal come out of the mingling of races? On Blondes makes a worthy beginning. Of these depths in her theme, Ms. How does this process occur? The irony is appealing. Blondness has stood for vice and for purity in different cultural contexts.
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