History reflects the social, religious and political importance of human hair. Individuals have used hairstyles to flaunt social conventions about gender, race, sexual identity, and social status. Totalitarian governments have regulated hairstyles as a means of social control and dehumanization. Today, advances in technology now make it possible to discover information about an individual's current or potential health status. Judicial decisions and administrative regulations offer individuals limited protection from state or institutional intrusion into the information revealed by genetic hair analysis. This Article argues that the explosion of technologies that use hair to reveal intimate details of an individual's biological identity challenges society to reconsider the meaning of hair. Ultimately, courts must focus not only on the cultural and social significance of the biological material being analyzed, but also on the potential impact of the genetic information that may be revealed.
It's Not Just Hair: Historical and Cultural Considerations for an Emerging Technology,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol75/iss1/4