Shaving Your Legs Is Not Feminist (But You Can Still Be A Feminist And Shave)

14 May

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I posted this picture (by Natalya Lobanova) on my Facebook page yesterday and received a bunch of varying responses to it. Some people loved it. A bunch of people shared it. But some also found it insulting and judgmental, and took it as a criticism of women who shave their body hair. A few took exception to the word “mutilating,” which, though modified by “slightly,” they thought was going too far. As with anything that sparks a discussion, I was interested in how people were reacting and why. The truth is that I really liked this image, and was surprised that people took offence to it. I think that talking about the fucked up things we do in order to be beautiful is super important, even if it’s sometimes uncomfortable.

Full disclosure, you guys: I shave my legs. I also shave my underarms, my bikini line, and this weird trail of dark had that goes from my belly button all the way down to my pubic hair. I had my ears pierced when I was eight years old because I was dying to wear for-real earrings. I wear makeup pretty much whenever I leave the house. And you know what? I like doing all of these things, because they make me feel pretty and more comfortable in my skin. But I also acknowledge that I grew up in a culture that taught me from day one to associate all of these arbitrary little changes that I make to myself with the concept of prettiness.

I’ve heard a few people say that the point of feminism is choice, and that the whole idea is that women should be able to make choices about their lives. For the record, I totally agree with that sentiment. But I also think it’s important to talk about the fact that choices don’t happen in a vacuum, and also that some choices aren’t feminist. Shaving your legs, for example, is not a particularly feminist choice. And I’m not saying that you can’t shave your legs and still be a feminist, but I do think we need to talk about stuff like this without immediately jumping to, “well, feminism is about choice and I made my choice and that’s that.”

For one thing, I’m not sure that a lot of women do actually feel like they have a choice about removing body hair. I mean, yes, technically, they do get to choose what happens to their body, but it’s pretty hard to feel like you’re actually making a fair, unbiased “choice” when your options are a) removing your body hair and enjoying the approval of our society or b) not removing your body hair and being on the receiving end of stupid jokes, insults and even harassment because of this. It’s pretty hard to frame it as a “choice” when society overwhelmingly approves of one option and punishes the other. So let’s not pretend that we’re not playing with loaded dice here.

The truth is that I play into patriarchal beauty standards every day. I wear cute dresses and I smear goop on my face to highlight my “features” and make my skin tone look more “even.” I wear shoes with heels on them because they make me taller and make my legs look longer. I push thin metal rods through holes that have been punched in my earlobes because I think that decorating my ears looks good. I carefully remove any body hair that might be visible when I’m wearing a bra and panties. And all of that is fine and none of it makes me not a feminist, but also those are all objectively anti-feminist choices. Because those choices don’t happen in a vacuum. They don’t happen because I woke up one day and thought, “hmmm, I’d really like to take a razor and remove the hair from some of the most sensitive skin on my body and endure painful, itchy razor burn for the next few days because that sounds like fun.” They don’t happen because just happened to be experimenting with painting interesting colours on my lips and decided that red and pink were my favourites. They happen because I grew up in a toxic culture that taught me that in order to be beautiful I had to alter my body, and every time I play into those ideas of beauty, I am reinforcing and validating that toxic culture. Every time I wear a cute skirt and heels, I am making it harder for women who want to break out of this fucked up ideal we’re forced into. And as much as I don’t want to, I need to own that fact.

It is fucked up that women are expected to change their natural appearance in order to be considered beautiful, or even just acceptable. We have body hair – growing it is a thing that naturally happens during puberty. Literally everyone has it. So why is it considered to be disgusting? Why are mannequins in underwear or bathing suits just fine, but these American Apparel models are thought to be hilariously obscene?

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Like, that is literally what I look like when I don’t shave. Possibly I am even hairier than that. This is what my body looks like. Why is that so gross to so many people?

We all make choices about our appearance, and none of those choices are going to make the feminist police come take our feminist cards away. But sometimes those choices reinforce the status quo and therefore contribute to the difficulty other women experience when their appearance varies from the strict norms that society dictates. And that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t ever wear dresses or makeup or jewellery, but rather that we need to talk about why we do these things. And we need to stop pretending that such-and-such is a feminist choice because feminism is about choice and if I’m a feminist then everything I do is automatically feminist. No. That’s not how it works.

Wear dresses if you want to. Wear cute shoes and earrings and bright red lipstick. Shave off every hair on your body if that’s what feels right. But please recognize that you don’t do any of those things because you just happen to like doing them. Please acknowledge that you made a choice that was heavily informed by the fucked up misogynistic culture we live in. Accept that sometimes your choices are anti-feminist, not because you’re a bad feminist but because that’s the world we live in right now. And once you’ve done all that, let’s try to figure out a way to change things so that girls no longer have to feel like their bodies aren’t good enough just the way they are.

 

 

138 Responses to “Shaving Your Legs Is Not Feminist (But You Can Still Be A Feminist And Shave)”

  1. brandishwar May 15, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    Shaving isn’t patriarchal either.

    One thing you are overlooking is that *everyone* — not just women, but men as well — must also alter their appearance to either be deemed acceptable to society or attractive to a prospective sex partner. Men typically need to have a full head of hair — or very nearly so — and not a lot of facial hair, if any. How it is groomed also determines how it is perceived. And with weight, a bigger guy better be carrying muscle mass and not fat mass.

    Is this part of some matriarchal standard for men? No. It’s all part of trying to find a prospective sex partner — i.e. it’s driven by more basal instincts and not part of some push to conform to some unspoken societal standard, as if there was some council dictating these things from behind closed doors.

    Actually it’s all bottom-up and follows about the same kind of spread that you see with other innovations: someone tries something new, word spreads, and it becomes in demand. If we’re talking about a particular grooming habit — like, shaving… certain areas of the body — then competition by women between women for the attention of men will direct what women will do, and what lengths they’re willing to go to get that attention and from whom they’ll get it.

    But again, the same also applies to men, as we do what we can to compete for attention from women. It’s not patriarchal or feminist. It’s just us playing to our basal instincts.

    • AmazingSusan May 15, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

      Yep, with you on this.

    • chromanoid May 15, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

      Nevertheless in our patriarch society women are so much more subject to ideals of beauty and purity.

      Obeying societal norms is never just for one specific reason. It’s always a mix of many influences. Removing body hair surly plays into ideals of female beauty that are also coined by patriarchy. To me it symbolizes softness, purity, youth and virginity. Its symbolism is not bad, the lack of diversity and the policing is the problem here. Girls are policed in the light of being “feminine unconsumed fertile wife material” while boys should “man up, earn money and power”.

      As long as people produce ads like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxCHLXQffsg I cannot believe in female body hair removal without a supporting link to patriarchy. The ideal of a hairless juvenile body might be as old as humankind, but it is nevertheless heavily motivated by male gaze.

      • Kenneth May 15, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

        Nevertheless in our patriarch society women are so much more subject to ideals of beauty and purity.

        That’s only because women force it upon themselves. Not all, mind you. My wife doesn’t conform herself to a particular standard. What she does is purely for comfort and nothing more.

        And it’s all about getting attention from men and being the desirable woman.

        Removing body hair surly plays into ideals of female beauty that are also coined by patriarchy.

        And what do you call it when my wife demands that I shave the hair from my face rather than maintain a beard, with her saying that it not only looks better but also feels better to her, and that if I only maintained a shaved face she’d be more willing to have sex more often?

        Shaving is tedious, risking injury and infection to remove hair, to get that “baby’s butt smooth” shave, and I’m talking for men. The shaving industry for men is significantly larger than that for women and has been around significantly longer as well, with tons more options in creams, shaving preparation, and blade options from 5 blade razors all the way to the old style single-blade double-edge safety razor and “cutthroat”, each with their own risks of injury, irritation and infection associated with them. The shaving industry for men, I would wager, is orders of magnitude larger than that for women, with tons more emphasis placed on the idea of men shaving than women shaving.

        Indeed, recently introduced are numerous products for removing body hair from all kinds of places on a man’s body. Should I start screaming “matriarchy”? Because surely these products came into vogue because of guys trying to use traditional shaving products on the rest of their body with varying degrees of success, all to present a more attractive bare body to women with less hair… everywhere.

        So how is the idea of removing body hair playing into “ideals of female beauty coined by patriarchy” when it has typically been men expected to shave and remain so? Again, what do you call it when my wife demands that I keep a shaved, smooth face and not grow out a beard? What do you call the fact that men have been expected to maintain a shaved face or styled beard for easily centuries longer than women were expected to actually remove any body hair?

        The idea of women shaving away body hair has been in vogue among western women for not even a century. The idea didn’t really catch on until the 1940s for legs. Underarms were shaved earlier, about the late 1910s and 1920s, in response to new styles of dancing where women were lifting their arms above their head. The only cultures where there is a clear history of women removing body hair for longer is actually in Muslim cultures, but many Muslim men do the same. Is that patriarchy, or just a long standing cultural custom?

        Plus, the kind of grooming habits you wish to adopt will determine how you are perceived. That’s not patriarchy, or even matriarchy. That’s just reality.

        And body hair is part of your appearance, and how you maintain it — whether shaving or trimming — is part of grooming. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. Again, that’s just reality.

      • eugeniavb May 16, 2014 at 12:13 am #

        One of the reasons why there is a patriarchy but not a matriarchy is because there has been a long-standing, historical control of women by men. To suggest otherwise (or to equate millennia of oppression by men to current standards of shaving that *some* women impose (or try to impose) upon men) is disingenuous at best.

        The ways that you & your wife attempt to control each other by withholding of offering various forms of pleasure says more about your relationship than it says about patriarchy or larger power dynamics.

        There are many parts of the world (and many parts of the US) where it is entirely acceptable for a man to have a beard and any attempt by a woman to change that would be met with scorn.

        As for your comments on men being expected to shave or have styled beards for centuries…care to link to where you read that? I’ve been a lover of clothing history for all of my life, & the established reason why men wore certain hairstyles/shaved usually has to do with style trends established BY men and/or showing off wealth (or sometimes to show certain spiritual/religious affiliation, like you mentioned. But once again, those rules were dictated BY MEN.). If you could afford the time & products and staff to maintain your hair (or remove it entirely), then you were conspicuously showing off your wealth…to OTHER MEN.

        While the expectations of women shaving have certainly expanded over time (for a lot of the reasons that you mention), once again, the reason that they expanded in the first place was to please men. Hence, patriarchy controlling choices. There are a lot of women who are choosing to shave (or not shave) for reasons other than the patriarchy and I do agree with the idea that shaving isn’t necessarily a non-feminist act, but men’s shaving has historically had nothing to do with women or the desires of women and entirely to do with patriarchy controlling men.

      • Kenneth May 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

        While the expectations of women shaving have certainly expanded over time (for a lot of the reasons that you mention), once again, the reason that they expanded in the first place was to please men. Hence, patriarchy controlling choices.

        Wait, so women decide to start shaving, men like it, so more women shave because men like it, and it’s patriarchy dictating that women shave? You’re joking, right? Sounds more like playing into a biological inclination to get some, and discovering a pretty good way to go about it.

      • florencegrindall May 16, 2014 at 7:15 am #

        It is true there are plenty of adverts for male facial shaving, it is NOT true that there is not the same amount for women. Just as many advances in technology are celebrated in women’s shaving than men’s- it’s all about in built soap strips for us though.
        The more important point is that it is usually culturally optional for a man to shave his face, it is almost always culturally necessary for a women to remove all traces of body hair especially legs, bikini area, underarm. A woman walking down the street with a mustache will probably suffer comments and harassment from strangers, a man without a mustache will not.

      • AmazingSusan May 16, 2014 at 2:48 am #

        Excellent points Kenneth.

      • Please Return to Owner May 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

        I think you’re seriously underestimating what a man will do to himself in order to get laid. And really, do you think guys care what another guy’s hair or beard or sack hair looks like? Because we don’t, at all. It’s for girls. Unless it is a gay male. Which brings up another flaw in the connection in between feminism and body hair removal, that being lesbians. Even the butchest of lesbians is not a part of any male patriarchy plot to hold back women, in fact they dislike (in general) men more than most feminists.

        I’m not saying that the species is not dominated by males. It is just like it is for every other primate on the planet. We’re getting better but I think some of these debates detract from real concerns like healthcare for example and how much money is spent researching boner pills (though to be fair women can benefit from that as well) compared to, I don’t know uterus cancer or something.

        Now, some hard core feminists can not shave all they want, not wear deodorant, even if women managed to make sure not a single hot woman ever showed up on a commercial or television show, it will never change ever change what men are biologically pre-disposed to be attracted to and the second a woman shaves, puts on some deodorant and wears something sexy she’s going to get all of the attention.

        Why fight it when it really doesn’t matter? If anything sexy for women is more power not less.

      • chromanoid May 16, 2014 at 7:25 am #

        @Kenneth: eugeniavb explained it.

        At its core patriarchy separates reproduction from wielding power. Most traditional ideals of beauty boil down to a component that either represents female reproductiveness (sexual and asexual) or male power. This dichotomy is what we have to break.

      • Please Return to Owner May 16, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

        Why does it have to be broken?

      • chromanoid May 16, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

        @Please Return to Owner:
        >>Why does it have to be broken?

        Because this is what causes the sorrows. It leads to a lack of choices, it narrows down the spectrum of gender and it leads to gender-based discrimination. A simple example: The perpetuation of this dichotomy makes a father at home who cares for the kids while the mother works as a plumber feel unmanly. The perpetuation of this dichotomy leads to numbers like 80% of primary school teachers being female while only 14% are engineers or architects (in USA, see http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2012.pdf).

        As long as magazines blame stars for having a little hair under their arm pits, and young girls feel peer pressure to shave their legs while the boys in their age still just desire their first razor as some kind of initiation to manhood, I don’t think female body hair removal can happen without perpetuating a problematic tendency to police female appearance. There are even guys who think women don’t have hair there…

        I like the shaved legs of my wife and I often follow problematic norms, even with relish, although I know better. At least exposing these traits as guilty pleasures is something everybody can do.

      • Daniel Murray June 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

        boys have their foreskins cut off in many first world countries and women openly talk about how they find cut and uncut.

        You may have ideals of beauty thrust upon you. Would you prefer to be put forward and inherently bad, flawed, a rapist in waiting.

        I am glad you brought up “man up”. But you have it a bit wrong, “man up” is always in relation to female standards and how you are in relation to women. It always starts from a negative presumption that men need to be told not to rape or beat women. That is disgusting.

        There are direct campaigns doing this, but you NEVER see the equivalent telling women to “woman up” and sot abusing or killing their children, husbands… or to stop having sex with under age boys.

        People need to open their eyes. The idea of patriarchy, as defined by feminists is ridiculous. All men in the world, all society, is a male construct designed to oppress and control women for men’s benefit. When did this start and how? It is completely absurd.

        Men and women fell into certain roles based on a necessary division of labour and responsibilities. If you look at the most dangerous living conditions, say people leaving in harsh frozen landscapes. You get the most “patriarchal” societies.

        The men do the dangerous fishing, hunting etc. and provide for the women who take care of the home, the children, making clothing, food, maintaining the “home front”. According to feminists this is oppressing women, when the men take the roles of “leading” in these dangerous tasks.

    • Razorsharpslooth May 16, 2014 at 10:07 am #

      All true to an extent, but the standards for women are much higher than for men. It is just not true than men are defined to the same extent by their appearance – look at how women are treated in the media opposed to how men are treated: women are constantly bombarded with editorial and social media comment about their appearance. You should watch this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0436qlw/blurred-lines-the-new-battle-of-the-sexes

      • Daniel Murray June 5, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

        men are constantly demonized …. would you prefer that. Also the pressure on men to be “real men” as defined by how they are regarding women, is something you never see with the genders reversed.

        Yes, the appearance area, is one where women get and pay the more attention over men. But achievement, wealth, power etc are the areas where men have the pressure.

        So where women have the pressure to get their hair done, the terrible chore of buying nice clothes, shaving their legs ….. men have to earn money, also look well, be able to provide and protect… why? in order to be worthy of these beautiful women.

        You should look up what percentage of men women think are above average in looks, then the reverse. Women are extremely harsh you will find, where as men put a higher amount of women as above average than women.

        Feminism is full of untrue and distorted presumptions. Feminists start from these presumptions and only see what confirms them. They are totally blind to anything that contradicts or balances out a perceived unfairness towards women. The irony is, feminism does not care about women’s wellbeing in the slightest. As is shown by the direct parallel in falling happiness levels in women directly paralleling second wave feminism on.

        Feminism tell women what they have to be and do. Not men, not “the patriarchy”.

    • Anuvab Chatterjee May 16, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

      absolutely correct

  2. Euan Donaldaon May 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

    Die

    • Kat May 16, 2014 at 9:12 am #

      Kenneth has clearly never gotten a bikini wax.

      • AmazingSusan May 16, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

        There are plenty of men in the Middle East who have… Personally I prefer men who have had the male version of a Brazilian…

    • Please Return to Owner May 16, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

      Why does it have to be broken?

  3. florencegrindall May 16, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    Excellent points- the same thing I am always trying to tell people! I have always been suspicious of the feminism-is-about-choice argument when women’s choices seem to be getting more and more limited and people use it to celebrate women getting boob jobs etc I have always though feminism was about understanding structural elements in society that restrict choice.

  4. Alex May 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    Thank you for this thought-out and well-balaced article. I totally agree with you that none of the coices we make happen outside of a social context and the norms it implies. Still trying to force yourself or others into NOT following the norm, doing the opposite (like let your hair grow or never wear dresses again) wouldn’t be a free (or a feminist) choice either. I guess that’s the big contradiction we’re all facing everyday. But making that visible, discussing and reflecting it, is a huge step forward! :)

  5. scoobsz21 May 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Reblogged this on Progressive Paradox.

  6. L May 16, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

    Certainly, the unrealistic beauty expectations that throttle women need to be combated from as many fronts as possible. It is fucked up that women are expected to alter their bodies to be ‘normal’ or even ‘not gross.’ Anyone that tries to tell a woman to shave deserves enduring a bikini wax or something equally alienating and painful.

    But hyperbole like “slightly mutilating … your body” in reference to depilation is uncalled-for. Are haircuts anti-feminist? Is clipping my toenails? How about when a transwoman modifies her body to allay dysmorphia — is that anti-feminist? Admittedly, women’s body hair has always been loaded with uniquely political content. Nonetheless, one treads murky water here. Reducing an anti-patriarchal ideology to abstinence from/participation in a regime of bodily hygiene and comportment follows the false logic that it would be possible to sidestep gender performance all together, or that gender performativity has finite and identifiable loci.

    It is a misguided venture to identify what the ‘one true feminist’ would look like and how she would, through a series of refusals, stay true to her “natural state” in order to cease collaboration with a patriarchal society. English-speaking women, for example, are often socialized to talk more softly and end their sentences with an upward pitch, like questions. Should we address these speech-markers of femininity? Certainly. Should we feel ashamed of ourselves, or like we are making a betrayal, for enacting them and failing to free ourselves of oppressive socialization? I see absolutely no value in the ethos of castigating ourselves and each other for decisions about how we present our own bodies .

    Spreading information about the warped ways we have been taught to perform gender is a feminist project. Policing how women perform their genders, or identifying certain ‘capitulations’/deviations from a ‘natural state’ as definitively anti-feminist is, in this woman’s opinion, absolutely unacceptable.

    • welliswan May 17, 2014 at 5:29 am #

      I think that the difference between shaving and haircuts or toenail clipping may be more pronounced for some women than for others. My skin is very sensitive, and hair removal is *always* at least mildly painful, and results in ingrown hairs (a few or a lot, depending on what method I use). Sometimes those ingrown hairs get infected and leave scars. Haircuts and nail trimming have never been similarly painful or scarring for me.

      Your comments are interesting. I seem to have read the piece in exactly the opposite way (which is not to say the “right” way), for while I agree with you that it is unproductive to shame women for participation in culture that is, after all, pervasive, I did not sense that the author was speaking to shame anyone. My sense was that in discussing her own habits and exploring some of the structures that influence what we consider “pretty” and our urge to conform to it, she was aiming to engage with awareness rather than shame.

      I don’t know the author, so I can’t say whether I have that right, but I do know that it can be valuable to discuss problematic structures and our participation in them, and that doing so need not inherently shame or exclude women who do participate in them more or less fully. Likewise, it’s vital to remember that we cannot disengage entirely from the culture that we are seeking to dismantle or amend, that we are all coerced, that we must all make choices. Dialogue about what that coercion looks like and what choices we make definitely *is* feminist. So thank you for your post!

  7. sammykur May 17, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    Alright ill say it thats gross- would be worse if it were a guy( the pube hair)
    there are plenty of valid reasons to shave yourself other thaqn attracting a partner
    1. cooler
    2. easier maintence long as your not a fanatic about it
    3. fear of getting big wad of hair in zipper
    4. you enjoy the sensation of not having hair there during sex.
    5. more comfortable than having a wad of hair bunched up in your lap
    6. when your swimming in a lake less chance of chigggers getting in it.
    7. if you light a fart you dont have to worry about catching your pubes on fire
    8. potato chip crumbs come out easier if you sneak into the kitchen for a midnight snack while naked
    9. cooler(ya i know)
    10 dont leave pubes on toilet seat
    11. crotch dries quicker after getting pants wet.
    12 hot wax comes off easier (or so i am told)
    13 no place for ticks to hide
    14 reduce BO in general
    15.long pubic hair gets caught on itself and pulls as you move
    16 sometime you just like lie to look at your junk without hair for your own viewing pleasure-lets face it both sexes “junk” is more visually appealing even to them
    17 hygene has to be better all around
    18 if your a woman it might get wrapped up in your toy
    19 if your a guy you look bigger(self confidence booster not just to do with women)
    20 easier cleanup after masterbation/sex(come on admit it)
    21 dont leave nasty pubes in the bed
    22. wont get caught between your legs and a bicycle seat
    23. no worries when some asks “is your dog shedding?” and you dont have a dog.
    24 pubes dont get caught in belt- gotta happen with the low rise jeans women wear
    25 reduce number of yeast infections (women)
    26 wont get as much sand in the car seat on way home from nude beach

    seriously thoug we all alter out naturual body state to fit into sociey, no one wants everybody to be unbathed hair never cut (any of it). No one is required to do any of it after you are taking care of yourself. You just have to decide how far outside societys norm you want to go where you can still be happy.

    • chromanoid May 17, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

      >> seriously thoug we all alter out naturual body state to fit into sociey,
      >> no one wants everybody to be unbathed hair never cut (any of it).
      There is a severe difference between “unbathed, hair never cut” and a woman being shamed for/ashamed of a hairy forearm.

      >> No one is required to do any of it after you are taking care of
      >> yourself.
      And this is were you are even more wrong. To me stuff like this http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/celebrities-hairy-armpits-julia-roberts-3269001 resembles practically a requirement to shave.

      • sammykur May 18, 2014 at 1:26 am #

        There is a severe difference between “unbathed, hair never cut” and a woman being shamed for/ashamed of a hairy forearm.

        True

        However we all do other alterations to our body to fit into society that are considered normal.

        There are no laws imprisoning you for not shaving your pits. No one has been executed fined or any other legal penalty imposed for failure to.

        The majority of people accept pit shaving is the norm for women and becoming more widespread for men and probably be the norm.

        Social shaming doesnt isnt preventing anyone from doing anything but stepping outside of societies norms will get you noticed and ultimately the people decide if they want to accept the step you took outside the norm boundary.

        Article doesnt mean shit .Julia roberts has enough money she could wander wander the streets with her armpit hair dragging behind her for the rest of her life and be able to live confortably.
        she can do whatever she wants within the law normal or not.

        Show me a woman trying to support her family that got fired for hairy armpits and ill show some sympathy and condemn the employer for it. unless she sells her looks then its a whole differnt ballgame.

        Notice a woman wrote the article, maybe feminist should worry more about other women and less about men!! After reading this blog it shows the feminist are at war with other women who continue to do petty things and enjoy one uping another.

      • chromanoid May 18, 2014 at 8:33 am #

        >> However we all do other alterations to our body to fit into society
        >> that are considered normal.
        Female appearance is much more policed in practically any society.

        >> Article doesnt mean shit .Julia roberts has enough money she
        >> could wander wander the streets with her armpit hair dragging
        >> behind her for the rest of her life and be able to live confortably.
        >> she can do whatever she wants within the law normal or not.
        This might be true for Julia Roberts but these slurs are meant for all women.

        “From Britney Spears and Beyonce (shock horror), to Julia Roberts and Halle Berry, someone needs to remind these celebs there’s cameras everywhere”

        “Seemingly unaware of the hairy situation, she waved to horrified fans at the opening of Cadillac Records.”

        “Looking absolutely stunning in a glittery cream dress, all eyes were swept up to under her arm as soon as she lifted it to laugh.

        All eyes.”

        “And joining her on the red carpet of embarrassment was Pixie Lott at the European premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.”

        “And Halle Berry might be admired in pretty much every way possible, but she has the odd wardrobe – or body – malfunction too.”

        It goes on and on and on. And this is just one shitty tabloid article. Are you really entitled to say that women are free to choose? You claim yourself that we do things to “fit into society”. It shouldn’t be that way. This is also true for men who are generally peer pressured to “man up”. Mood disorders in men are much more of a taboo than it is for women. Big men don’t cry… Especially in our modern times all these pressures are more inappropriate than ever.

        >> Notice a woman wrote the article, maybe feminist should worry
        >> more about other women and less about men!! After reading this
        >> blog it shows the feminist are at war with other women who
        >> continue to do petty things and enjoy one uping another.
        You really don’t get it. Feminism fights a societal wrong. This wrong is perpetuated by practically all its members. Feminism is about empowering women not about fighting men. It’s about freedom. It’s about providing acceptance and security for everyone no matter how much they “stand out”.

        >> Show me a woman trying to support her family that got fired for
        >> hairy armpits and ill show some sympathy and condemn the
        >> employer for it. unless she sells her looks then its a whole differnt
        >> ballgame.
        Such blatant discrimination is illegal nevertheless it is happening behind our faces all the time. You should watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkbzQpmNrlk
        Lately there are some really disgusting examples of young women who were denied participating in their school’s prom because they either were dressed too manly or too sexy:

        http://feministing.com/2014/04/23/student-kicked-out-of-her-prom-for-wearing-pants/

        http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/16/living/prom-dress-shopping-too-sexy-skimpy-parents/

        Google for more…

  8. sammykur May 17, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    27 show off your new tattoo

  9. sammykur May 18, 2014 at 2:00 am #

    truth of the matter is you are fighting against something engrained deep in our dna. we are attracted to members of the opposite sex who are young and viral . in men this is muscle tone lack of excessive body hair(as the older you get without removal it becomes more prevelant. overall healthy appearance among others the hair thing applies to women as well, it is just women trying to appear younger and more attractive.thats in reality why all beauty products sell, thats why women are attracted to muscular guys with no body hair.
    men try to enlarge their penises ( a futile pursuit ) and do dumb things like stuffing socks in their pants to appear more viral and better “breeding stck” to women, thats why men are attracted to women with large breasts

    At least the hair attraction is doable without surgical alteration or nearly impossible as the penis enlargement would be.

    I am suprised i havent read any complaining about women having to cover their breast in public (unless breatdsfeeding),that one never made sense to me. I guess it could have been men who didnt want women to have saggy breast, that would kind of make sense.
    on the otherhand I cant see men denying themselves the instant gratification of seeing womens breasts.

    I also gotta wonder why you dont go after the whole princess thing, I mean how many young girls grow up dreaming the unrealistic dream of being a princess?
    Think it is healthy to promote envisioning oneself in a future that is not possible only to have reality crush your dreams and having to settle for as close as you could get to it?

    complaing about such things (excluding the breast&princess thing) is to complain about the very makup of what makes us us as a species. To deny such realities is to fight science and mothernature themselves(or whatever you want to believe in)

    • chromanoid May 18, 2014 at 8:44 am #

      So you always have to tackle all wrongs at the same time? Just look at this blog and read through it and you will probably find all the things you are surprised not find in this article.

      There is a severe difference between some norms of attractiveness and policing appearance. When looking at other cultures at present and in history it also becomes prevalent that ideals of beauty are constructs of society rather than verdicts of nature.

      The concept of nature is a human one. There is no “original” natural order of things. Such mother nature arguments are just another way to police human behavior. Human beings are very flexible and they already showed how different societies can be. Claiming science would show how all these pressures and wrongs in our society could not be fought is plain wrong. Science shows how we can improve things everyday.

      • sammykur May 19, 2014 at 1:35 am #

        sorrr ybut being attracted to the young and child bearing /fertile is science.there is a ver natural order to things- its just instinc instincts to ensure the survival of the species.-it is how we are hard wired thats why bald and big are attractive to the other gender

      • chromanoid May 19, 2014 at 7:48 am #

        You ignore the human variance. There might be a small subset of physical cues, that are globally attractive, but most aspects of modern beauty ideals are far far away from being hard wired.

      • sammykur May 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

        The physical cue of young is universally attractive and is the only on I am reffering to and its hardwired within us.I dont think anyone has ever looked at an elderly person and said “bot i wish my skin had wrinkles, wish my hair was falling out or wish i had liverspots

        There is a need for examination of the treament/depiction of the elderly and age discrimination but thats a whole different discussion.

        I never stated that out instincts could not be overcome as, it is intelligence that seperates us from other spiecies,however unwillingness to define the root cause of a behaivor will certainly ensure that it continues.

      • chromanoid May 19, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

        Sexual maturity is also universally attractive, so shaving is certainly not a universal instinct driven ideal of beauty. A simple example might also be thick dark unibrows that are considered very unfeminine in our Western cultures while they are an ideal of beauty in other regions of this world. Even some signs of illness, impairment and malnutrition are ideals of beauty. Evolution and behavior are inseparably connected. It is impossible to separate. This makes it futile to discuss if something is “natural”, as long as something hinders happiness it should be subject to change.

      • sammykur June 2, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

        “Sexual maturity is also universally attractive”
        No it is not- youth is!

      • sammykur June 2, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

        “”Evolution and behavior are inseparably connected. It is impossible to separate””

        This is a undeniable provable fact, its science, you might be unwilling to accept it but it is the provable truth.

  10. sammykur May 19, 2014 at 5:31 am #

    I couldnt even wear a baseball cap in school and neither could a girl who lost all her hair in chemotherapy so getting to wear a dress though to be too revealing really doesnt seem to important to me.

    • chromanoid May 19, 2014 at 7:53 am #

      You seem to be unable to challenge status quo. You don’t have to stand up, but at least in your mind you should be able to see how wrong it is to deny your classmate headdress.

      • sammykur May 19, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

        thought it was wrong then still think it was wrong,At the time i was just a kid still in the process of developing a system of beliefs,Please reread my post although it is implied thats was wrong, it is clearly obvious.

        Though i let little things i dont agree with slide and remain silent,I do speak out for what i believe to be severe. I really do not see this subject matter however interesting to be a severe misjustice, if there actually is an injustice at all. even you must be able to see societies norm of women shaving pales in comparison to things like the fact america as a whole is eating themselves to an early grave while other countries starve to death.

        If you scream and holler about every little insignifact aspect of society and villianize people you become Don Quiote

      • chromanoid May 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

        >> I really do not see this subject matter however interesting to be a
        >> severe misjustice, if there actually is an injustice at all.
        It is irrelevant if you see a problem here. As long somebody else does, you should be supportive not dismissive. Nobody gets hurt if female body hair removal is not the default anymore.

  11. sammykur May 19, 2014 at 6:43 am #

    As far as the whole kid with the red pants , I cant make an informed comment,the article just doesnt supply enough info. Things like what were the other kids wearing? I also dont know anything about canadian style but in mt area in the us the kids wear tuxes and gowns. I dont know if its a code or they just do it to cause of tradition. I dont think a girl would get kicked out for wearing a pantssuit but might if she showed up in jeans(pure speculation) To me the attire didnt look”formal” The girl whos dress was too short was against the rules they had and is there for good reason,dont think a boy could show up in an outfit that might reveal his testicles or penis or outline of. the utube thing was too long to watch and boring right from the start-I hate watching stuff like that i can read much faster and find videos to be time theives- if you want i will read that info if you have something but no videos please.

    “There is a severe difference between some norms of attractiveness and policing appearance. When looking at other cultures at present and in history it also becomes prevalent that ideals of beauty are constructs of society rather than verdicts of nature.”

    Guess i would need to know your definitions for 1.”norms of attractiveness” 2. policing appearance 3. what do you believe to be differnt between ideals of beauty as constructs of society rather as opposed to verdicts of nature. what difference do you see between the two?

    • chromanoid May 19, 2014 at 8:02 am #

      I am afraid I am not able to help you to understand my points. You already proved a total lack of willingness to think critical about the human condition and also show a lack of empathy. Please think more about how things should be!

      • sammykur May 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

        Too bad, I would think as upset as you seem to be about whatever it is you want to be angry about you would want to illustrait to others just what it is you are upset about and how you want things to change.

        Your anger and hatred are proving counter produtive to whatever it is you are trying to accomplish , as being unable to express your point of view and support it is not going to get you anywhere.

        All I asked was for you to give a clear definition of your veiws and your statement if the women rights movemnet cannot give clear statements as to what it believes , it is forever doomed.

        .”” You already proved a total lack of willingness to think critical about the human condition and also show a lack of empathy. Please think more about how things should be!”””

        That statement is just totally incorrect, just because i dont share your point of view does not mean I cant think critically, it just means my expierences have shaped my perspective differently than those that have shaped yours.

        “Think about how things should be”
        No two people are going to have the same vision of this.I know how things are and what I would have them be,but there is no universal right “way things should be.”

        At this point of my frustration i usually might be tempted to just verbally attack you and showcase your shortcomings,instead I will put myself above such childish ignorant behavior and wish you well whith whatever it is that is bothering you.

        Good luck and good health to you.

  12. sleepydumpling May 19, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    I think I agree with you except for one tiny thing. I don’t think “beauty” rituals (shaving, wearing makeup etc) are ANTI-feminist so much as pro-patriarchal. I don’t think doing any of those things is a direct scorning of feminism so much as a hat tip (bow? genuflect?) to patriarchy. It probably sounds like semantics, but when I shave my legs (and I do both shave and leave them, depending on my mood and boredom level – it was 9 months between my last leg shaving) I’m not turning away from feminism so much as turning towards patriarchy, because yes, it’s easier. Because it’s deeply coded that it’s “feminine” and I feel like “being” more feminine (even though my actual level of womanliness doesn’t change with leg hair or without) at that particular time.

    I hope that makes sense!

  13. Jessica May 21, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    The only thing in this world that makes me feel less equal to my male counterpart is feminists fear mongering and writing stupid blogs like this. In the western world I am equal. There’s no question about it. And if you’re so self concious and too self obsessed to feel equal among your peers (male and female) then you’re the one with the problem. What do feminists want exactly… To become the superior sex? Is that when you’ll stop? When exactly do us women become the superior sex? I’m so confused about your movement in this day and age. I am an anti feminist girl and I can go months without shaving my legs. I’ll tell you what that makes me: A HAIRY PERSON! Not a hairy woman or a hairy man.. Just a person. Equal to the person standing next to me. You should be putting your time and energy into helping women in less fortunate countries where there really is an issue. Don’t get me wrong, there definitely is a feminist fight to be had in 2014, it’s just not in this country.

  14. monochromejunkie May 21, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    I’m 44- smoking hot (ask my man, he’ll tell you!) and haven’t shaved my legs in 20 years. Did I mention my man thinks I’m smoking hot? :) (And he’s not into “hirsuit”. I think that’s how you spell it- I’m too creeped out to Google it.)

    It’s funny, I posted on my blog one day that I don’t shave my legs and I don’t care. Several women surprisingly said they don’t either. Then we all found out that we’re INTJ’s and Type A’s- ha. No surprise.

    I’ll never let a man (or woman, for that matter) tell me what I need to do with my body parts. Can you imagine? Living in a world where you just “do what everyone thinks you should do?” By societal standards, that makes me a deviant. (I claim it- proudly, in this case.) Nice write-up. :0)

  15. nospeciesrare May 23, 2014 at 2:15 am #

    I love this post. In general, I enjoy how opinionated you are but seem to find a balance from being judgmental. Here in particular, I think you illustrate the problem quite well about how choice is not always free-to-make choice without trying to make women feel guilty. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and love most of the stuff you write. In one of my older posts, I discussed this motivation and push by society to shave, specifically pubic hair. I feel sort of weird advertising my own work, but I’d love for you to read it and get your thoughts if you have time. If you follow the link with my name, the post is called “Dr. Straighrazor: how I learned to stop worrying and love my bush”.

  16. foureyes010 May 31, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    I have nothing to add except “you go, girl!”

  17. Daniel Murray June 5, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    “The truth is that I play into patriarchal beauty standards every day. I wear cute dresses and I smear goop on my face to highlight my “features” and make my skin tone look more “even.” I wear shoes with heels on them because they make me taller and make my legs look longer. I push thin metal rods through holes that have been punched in my earlobes because I think that decorating my ears looks good. I carefully remove any body hair that might be visible when I’m wearing a bra and panties.” my god, this woman blames patriarchy for her choice to do these things!

    No one forces women to do any of these things, this is how women compete with each other to increase there “mate” value…. and of course just to enjoy how it makes them feel and look.

    If women all stopped doing this do you think men would suddenly not be attracted to them or demand they start doing it again???? Grow up

    • Daniel Murray June 5, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

      p.s. you know men do the same? just with less cosmetics etc. to be attractive. But we own it, we don’t blame others for our actions…. society directly tell men their value is related to how women rate them, or what women say a “real man” is and does/doesn’t do.

      You complain about beauty standards and the extreme “perfection” of the images of women put forth. Maybe you would like to swap and be portrayed as lazy, sex crazed, violent idiots who by virtue of gender are just bad! ? over 90% of the negative characters on TV are male.

      • Melody Gruber August 12, 2014 at 12:01 am #

        Feminism is not about men vs women in any topic area. It is about equality and choice for both genders/sexes.
        The society we live in has pressures for both. The fight is not against each other, guys. It is for the freedom of all to choose.
        Feminism is against what “a real man” should be also.
        Please research more. I really want people to become educated on topics like this because they are really important and if we don’t learn about them we are going to end up fighting over small areas of the bigger problem and not really getting anything done.
        This blog is written from a woman’s perspective, that’s more than likely why mens’ issues are not mentioned. It wouldn’t be fair for someone to assume mens’ problems anyway.

        We need to work together to open society’s mind about what EVERYONE can be. That no one is a stereotype and that no one should be harassed on the basis of their gender/sex.

    • contrary kiwi June 21, 2014 at 3:00 am #

      I’ve had men threaten to tie me to a chair in order to remove my body hair, claiming that no man would ever want to have sex with a woman with pubic hair (not that i had invited them to have sex with me anyway). I get harassed for having armpit hair, told that no one will ever find me attractive. I watched a YouTube video about a woman who was physically assaulted for having armpit hair. I have heard many stories of men who demand their partners remove their hair before they will touch them. I live in New Zealand and these stories are from the USA. So yes, I do believe that some men (not all, because some are aware of the unfairness of the patriarchy and others are just decent people) would throw a hissy fit if women stopped removing hair – and I believe some would be violent about it. We live in a world where many women have been harassed or even assaulted just for not returning a man’s interest.

  18. missmyvitamins August 17, 2014 at 6:07 am #

    So why cant feminism also be defined as being feminine? It’s weird how there are so many feminists who dont find it okay to be a feminine woman. That makes no sense to me.

    • chromanoid August 17, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

      Nobody has defined it that way. Maybe you want to watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc

      • chromanoid August 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

        I may misphrased my reply. Feminism is about freeing femininity not about restricting it. Femininity is great and no feminist is against it unless it’s used against women to police their behavior.

  19. larsytron August 22, 2014 at 5:37 am #

    I am a female server at a casual restaurant in the south, where it gets extremely hot. Today my employer told me that if i wanted to wear shorts I would have to shave my legs. I haven’t shaved my legs in over five years because I do not find it necessary, and rather, find it time consuming and painful. My leg hair is practically invisible, and in all the other places I have worked in shorts it has never been an issue.

    My male co-workers are allowed to wear shorts as well, but, even though their legs are visibly dark with hair (a naturally occurring phenomenon in mammals, I’ve heard) they are not asked to shave them. They are also allowed to wear beards. I do not see how this is anything but a discriminatory practice. Period.

    now I am left feeling sick and uncomfortable because I have to make the choice to either shave and feel gross for sacrificing my beliefs for a minimum wage gig, or risk losing my job in order to retain my rights to personhood. Shaving is personal. No employer should demand an employee shave ANYTHING unless they would ask that they shave EVERYTHING, including scalp hair.

    It becomes a really fucked up thing when shaving is enforced upon the legs of one gender over the other. we aren’t talking about hygiene or safety or appropriateness; it is simply discrimination based upon gender-normative demands in appearance.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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