Friday, 20 August 2010

Liberated hair

Surprising and instructive article by Julie Bindel writing on women's hair, facial especially but also including, underarm and leg hair.

My first reaction was to feel quite queasy about it, especially thinking about facial hair. I have to say though, I forget at times that I do not shave my legs nor bother much beyond ripping out some tufts from my underarm.

I also was forced to consider my visceral reaction in view of the whole fat debacle. I realise that this is how some people might feel about contemplating the acceptance of fat. Like puking up. And it makes you wonder, where does this come from?

I've seen a lot of black women with facial other hair and there doesn't seem to be the same feeling as there is amongst certainly white women. Shaving legs is not as much of a habit, in fact it seems to be a recent thing to know of black women who shave at all, although I know that's probably my recollection.

I remember once seeing a woman absolutely gorgeous fully made up etc., who had her blouse open to reveal hair as dense as the densest you would find on any head. Even I have never seen such on any man.

She seemed fully at ease with herself and no one else remarked on it, except later on me-shame-so I know others noticed too including a black guy who was working the same shift as I. He shrugged his shoulders and said so what, she's OK with it?

Double shame!

So yeah, I'm all for hairy women's lib. I remember the documentary when a woman with a full beard appeared throughout, after a while, I just got used to it and I'm sure that affected the way I see facial hair on women.

So the fact that I keep reverting to erghh is interesting. It means there is some underlying idea that I have, possibly as mentioned in the comments that women shouldn't have hair, or maybe it's non-black women?

Maybe it's because they seem to depilitate more overall that the eye somehow gets used to that and it that affects how you view other women, not erasing, but reminding of hairlessness? It maybe goes back to a theme that I wonder about from time to time, is the energy put into appearing separate and distinct between white men and women, somehow greater than that of some other races? Or not at all? If so, does it have some kind of underlying ideology. I'm talking more about cultural ideology?

I actually tend to forget because my hair is relatively fine on my legs, I have never shaved them though and my pits, well, their out of sight, though I've never felt self conscious about them either, I had fat for that.

And speaking of fat, the parallels are obvious, letting your hair grow is mentioned in a feminist context, by a self declared 'proud lesbian feminist' who also says that she plucks her facial hair and carries tweezers about for the purpose.

In spite of all this, there is still the defensiveness when matters of beauty are discussed preceded by feminist. It seems merely suggesting thinking about something translates in some people's heads as orders.

There's a lot of that in FA, if you speak about dieting and why you or others have done it that is often counted as telling people what to do.

It's funny how all the usual things that get brought up in the context of fatness get brought up here, what wo/men find attractive, what does and doesn't turn me on-why anyone thinks others care, I wish I knew, femininity and what counts as femininity, whether feminists can be (allowed to be) feminine by the sister's, what about the menz and competition about who 'suffers' more.

It's well worth reading on it's own merits and to compare the arguments in a fresher less fraught atmosphere, without the usual hate and yet reflecting different feelings.

Reading about it here it is clear that feminism has a lot of baggage for some even when merely considering how we live.


  1. I gave up long ago on caring about what people thought about me not shaving my legs or my armpits. I do get rid of excess facial hair simply because I don't like how it looks/feels. But then, I've never adhered to many of the cultural standards of beauty for women - I've never been what I call a "girly" girl, I've always been a tomboy, more comfortable in jeans/t-shirts and doing things with the guys (working on cars, building things, etc).
    I say to each their own. I do what pleases me with my body, so should everyone else with theirs.

  2. It is funny though that for just about everyone, regardless of how unfemme, the deal breaker is facial hair.

    I can't help wondering why.