Ivory Towers Combing around the More Hirsute Fringes of Academic Research

By Hartston, William | The Independent (London, England), July 16, 1996 | Go to article overview
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Ivory Towers Combing around the More Hirsute Fringes of Academic Research


Hartston, William, The Independent (London, England)


Last week the national press latched gleefully on to a report that men with hairy chests are liable to be more intelligent than their glabrous cousins. That, however, is only the visible fringe of a good head of hairy research over the years. Here are some more findings from the follicles of academia.

"The hairless ideal: Women and their body hair" (by SA Basow, Psychology of Women Quarterly, 1991) is a report on the results of a questionnaire sent to 200 women members of the American Psychological Association and the National Women's Studies Association which asked them if they regularly shaved their legs and/or armpits, whether they had ever done so, how long they had been doing it and their reasons for doing/not doing it. The researchers predicted that "women who are not trying to attract men (i.e. lesbians) will be less likely to conform to the norm {of shaving} than other women. The results confirmed that while 80 per cent of the sample did shave, the vast majority of non-shavers were "strong feminists and/or not exclusively heterosexual".

An earlier study ("Sexual attributes as correlates of sexual figures in human figure drawing," by DPJ Przybyla, D Byrne and E Allgeier; Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 1988) had shown that "in drawing a male figure, male and female erotophiles were more likely than erotophobes to include .

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