Wallstein Verlag

Helga Lüdtke

The Bob

Male gaze – female self-determination

304 pages, 14,0 x 22,2 cm
ISBN: 978-3-8353-3954-5 (2021)


German Version

The Coupe à la Garçonne: icon of the modern times and subject of bitter controversy over female self-determination.

It was not only in Berlin that women from all social classes adopted the revolutionary bob-haircut on a massive scale – despite considerable resistance from a patriarchal society. At the centre of the vehement controversy was the »masculinised«, androgynous woman, who called the traditional image of femininity into question. Nevertheless, many women made their own personal, wilful decision. They experienced the bob as a cipher of modernity, a sign of self-determination and emancipation.
Helga Lüdtke examines the imagery and symbolism of the bob and its political, economical, social, religious and ideological contexts of interpretation – from the perspective of hairdressing, the history of consumerism, body politicts, gender history and cultural history. In synthesis, a panopticon of the Weimar years emerges. Its rich illustrations, partly in colour, also follow the methodology of »history as a collage«.
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