Hair and Power in Ovidian Elegy: A Discussion of Feminine Dominance and the Hair Apparent

by Lydia Eisenberg

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Liane Houghtalin

When considering the love elegy of Ovid, there are multiple cases in which love, beauty, or infatuation with a woman is expressed through visual descriptions of her hair. In the Amores and Ars Amatoria, these descriptions of hair support a seemingly subjective view of beauty when compared to current hairstyle trends at the time. As a result, this view of feminine beauty suggests that the woman holds the power within the amorous relationship described. However, the nature of the hair description reduces Ovid’s view of feminine beauty to an objective one, revealing a disingenuous view of feminine power and therefore supporting Ovid’s claim to masculine dominance in the relationship.

Hair and Power in Ovidian Love Elegy