As someone who spends $25 on threading her eyebrows, among other things, every month, Matthew Immergut’s Manscaping: The Tangle of Nature, Culture, and Male Body Hair struck a chord with me. Body hair removal is connected to capitalism – I could have told you that a long time ago, while shelling out money for shaving cream, razors, and those monthly threading sessions. I could have also told you that hair, and lack thereof, for women is policed by nearly everyone, from boys on the playground making fun of your “unibrow” or “moustache”, aunties telling you that you should wax your legs every six weeks instead of using a harsh razor, by friends telling you that the extra hour spent straightening your hair every morning is “totally worth it! You look SO much better!” Even today, there are countless memes all over social media about how vital it is to get a perfect eyebrow arch and brows that look perfect, but not too perfect. However, reading Immergut’s Manscaping helped me continue the process of fitting together all those fragments into one larger picture that reflects not only my experiences, but the way that Western society treats body hair on brown women as a whole.
Posts Tagged ‘body hair’
Posted in beauty standards, body image, body modification, body ownership, body politics, consumerism, culture, gender norms, tagged beauty standards, body hair, No Shave Life, No Shave November, shaving on November 25, 2015| 4 Comments »
I have never particularly enjoyed shaving. Growing up, its importance was never stressed. In fact, my mom would tell me she was happy it was winter because it meant she didn’t have to shave — the impression I got was that she didn’t really like to do it, herself. When I was a preteen, she bought me razors and shaving gel, but didn’t pressure me to use them, and shaving didn’t seem to be a rite of passage among my peers, the way buying a bra was. I was in no rush to do it myself. (more…)
Posted in beauty standards, body, body image, hair, societal norms, tagged arm pits, beauty standards, bodies, body hair, chest hair, shaving, societal norms, to shave or not to shave, waxing on September 22, 2015| 2 Comments »
Body hair, almost everyone has it. Some more than others and in more places too. But when did body hair become a symbol for unhygienic, dirty, and gross? There used to be a time when body hair on both men and women was completely normal. Men had hairy chests and women left their pubic hair in its natural state. But today both of those are big no – no’s in society. (more…)
So this year, I partook in my first ever No Shave November. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a month long event in which participants forgo shaving their body hair. I am not sure of the event’s origins, but have heard of several different reasons behind it, one of them being to raise cancer awareness. However, I think it has come to be understood as more of a personal challenge for people to undertake.
It is much more commonplace for men to partake in No Shave November, but the event is not exclusive to men. Still, it has generally come to be viewed as an exclusively male event as men are largely the only participants to document their experience on social media. This could be due to the fact that for men, No Shave November usually means growing out facial hair, and it is much less shocking for a man to share a photo or story of growing out his facial hair than it is for a woman to share a photo or story of growing out her armpit or leg hair. I think the stigma surrounding female body hair has helped perpetuate the idea of No Shave November as an exclusively male event.
I had never thought of partaking before this year. In fact, my participation this year sort of happened by accident. (more…)
I have a confession to make. I do not shave my arm pits. Hell, I only shave my legs if I’m feeling saucy and have clean sheets because nothing is better than smooth legs in clean sheets. (That’s a lie, a lot of things are better than that.)
While I like to think of myself as a badass feminist who says fuck you to anyone and everyone who tries to tell me what to do with my body – especially in regards to body hair—I am not. That’s my second confession. I wish it was that simple.
I don’t think it’s ever that simple.