News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

The Bald truth
Britney’s motivation aside,
women call it liberating

By Fran Golden
For The Associated Press

We may never know why Britney Spears shaved her head.

But she's hardly the first female celebrity to go hair-free. Nor even the first singer. The difference: Most of those women lost their locks for their art.

Historically, shaved heads have had practical purposes. In ancient Egypt men and women shaved their heads and wore wigs because it helped protect against lice, among other things.

Forcing a woman to shave her head also has been used as a means of control and humiliation: Thousands of women lost their hair in Nazi concentration camps.

These days, a shaved head is often a sign that a person is undergoing chemotherapy, which can cause hair loss, or is making a some kind of political or militant statement, said David Shmagin, stylist and manager of Robert Kree salon in New York, where clients include Drew Barrymore and Sarah Jessica Parker.

"It's a strength thing and to show they don't have to care about (their hair) because they are focused on other things," Shmagin said of women who voluntarily cut their hair.

Remember the nearly bald Sinead O'Connor, tearing up a picture of Pope John Paul II on live television in 1992, exhorting viewers to "Fight the real enemy"?

Most celebrities who go without hair do so when the script calls for it.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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