Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Hairstyle Discipline

As any who have read this blog in the past will know, I tend to do much of my writing in various houses of public refreshment. Yesterday's temporary office was the historic Spaniards Inn, in London's Hampstead Heath. The 'other half' had gone shopping in Hampstead proper and was then planning to tour Kenwood house, a nearby historic country house, leaving me free to indulge my passion for real ale. The pew-like seating and dark wood panelling are conducive enough to writing, far more so than my usual venue, but somehow I just seemed to lack that drive. I guess in my mind's eye I had had the idea of a pleasant afternoon sat in a sunny pub garden - the reality was somewhat different, my dream scuppered by freezing temperatures and the idiotic choice of a cap-sleeved top and shorts (I should really know better by now what the word summer actually means here in Britain). Having dragged myself back inside a settled myself down to drag him away for a passport renewal form and reading and out of date copy of New Scientist (something or other about the Large Hadron Collider).


Anyway, enough rambling, let's get down to business and some more thoughts that occurred to me (after a good few beers) concerning the wonderful subject of forced haircutting - a subject that I would much rather refer to as hairstyle discipline, from the point of view of its context so far within the pages of volume 1 of INSTITUTIONALISED and the plans I have for its inclusion within the pages of the subsequent volumes. Out of the blue (and the beer glass) it came to me that there are at least three distinct categories of writing on the subject to be seen on sites such as the haircutting story archive et al.

  1. Consensual (not my thing at all)

  2. Punishment haircutting / shaving

  3. Procedural haircutting / styling.
The latter I would include under that heading so beloved by those letter writers once published within the pages of Janus, that of admission procedures. Psychologically of course the point of such admission procedures, as proposed by those more imaginative 1980s correspondents, is to delineate the change in status from free woman to one constrained by institutional rule and regulation - as if to further clarify that retrograde step from woman to 'girl'.


Few initiations can have so great an impact as the imposition of some standardised, regulation hairstyle - and in that requirement to conform, perhaps in colour as well as in actual styling, one has succeeded in disrupting part of the very framework of her personality. Put her in the uniform of your choice, one suitably diminishing of status, and the effect is completed - a thorough demolition job carried out on both her self-esteem and confidence. Such a definition, that of procedural hair styling, I would say could be most aptly applied to the scenes depicted within the pages of INSTITUTIONALISED volume 1 but nevertheless I imagine a more diverse approach evolving as the series progresses, and to punishment generally. And as I have in volume 1, I intend to reach further afield than the mere physical in terms of curbing those hapless wenches unfortunate enough to have found themselves incarcerated within the unit. I also have ideas to extend this approach into the more domestic scene and as in volume 1 not all the action is going to be restricted to institutionalised environment of the research centre. Various sources have informed this approach, not least of which the aforementioned haircutting story sites, but in going beyond the usual head cropping, buzz-cut and head shaving scenario (or not as far, depending on your viewpoint) once again those wonderful spanking magazines of the 1970s and 1980s have had their part to play.


The couple of pictures presented here I found particularly stiring to the imagination, although I'm not sure from which publication I have scanned them from (I'm guessing you can see a pattern appearing here in my disorganised life). I'm sure I have others scattered around somewhere, possibly from scans and hidden away in various files, and as I come across them I will post them up. The point here, as far as I'm concerned, is that there is no actual haircutting depicted but nevertheless the atmosphere of domination is palpable, the discipline implied, obvious. Thereis an outside chance that these particular pics originated from within the pages of Justice magazine (a 1970s spanking magazine, anyone remember it?) But the chances are that in actuality the source was one of the Blushes, Whispers, New supplement et al stable.

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