Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hair apparent

This week "Hair apparent" was the caption under a picture of Conchita Wurst on the BBC - Culture site. The pop artist Wurst is a drag artist contestant representing Austria in the popular Eurovision show. In a daring move that prompts cognitive dissonance for many viewers, Wurst wears the flowing tresses of a woman and sports a full beard. A photo of the bearded Conchita is found at According to Wurst, "The beard is a statement to say that you can achieve anything no matter who you are or how you look." Whether or not the Austrian contestant is chosen in the semi-final round, Wurst has created a sensation. Several countries have formally petitioned the artist's appearance as offending their rigid views of sexual correctness. The caption "hair apparent" is a good one, even though the "urban dictionary" provides an alternate definition of the term:
Hair apparent: son who appears to have inherited his father's male pattern baldness. It is a play on the phrase heir apparent and the irony that the subject's hair is becoming less apparent by the day. James: "you should see my little bro's receding hair line! He's clearly the hair apparent in our family" Anthony: "yeah, he really is a chip off the old block"
Although the meanings of the BBC title and the Urban Dictionary don't exactly line up, both situations are thought-provoking. Hair = Heir. Male pattern baldness is a genetic legacy. The statement Wurst is making, on the other hand, is a socio-cultural legacy, one that hopefully will lead to more open-mindedness and the celebration of that which is good and true. I for one applaud his strength and courage.