My little sister told me that a male friend of hers, who is 14, gets teased by girls for having armpit hair. Although I do not at all condone this body-shaming and bullying, my mind jumps to the thought of: men, this is the backlash caused by your patriarchal beauty standards. When women are dictated to be hairless, it’s only a matter of time before these stupid standards start seeping in to your life. When women and girls are harassed and bullied on a daily basis for not having flawless, bald, smooth armpits, it’s no wonder that these 14-year-olds are internalizing the message that body hair is gross, and projecting the view onto their male peers.
Redditors Get A Lesson In Tolerance of the Day: Redditor european_douchebag recently posted this pic of a Sikh woman with the caption: “i’m not sure what to conclude from this.”
Redditors promptly piled on to criticize her facial hair, which she is bound by her religion not to cut or alter in any way.
Then the woman caught wind of the post and responded:Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. … I’m not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it’s who I am.
Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women.
However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn’t reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. …
My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it?
When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. …
I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I’ve gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this.”
Then, miracle of miracles, european_douchebag apologized:I know that this post ISN’T a funny post but I felt the need to apologize to the Sikhs, Balpreet, and anyone else I offended when I posted that picture. Put simply it was stupid. Making fun of people is funny to some but incredibly degrading to the people you’re making fun of. It was an incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant thing to post. …
I’ve read more about the Sikh faith and it was actually really interesting. It makes a whole lot of sense to work on having a legacy and not worrying about what you look like. I made that post for stupid internet points and I was ignorant.
So reddit I’m sorry for being an a**hole and for giving you negative publicity. Balpreet, I’m sorry for being a closed minded individual. You are a much better person than I am Sikhs, I’m sorry for insulting your culture and way of life. Balpreet’s faith in what she believes is astounding.
For more on DFAB’s with facial hair, see this wonderful documentary Juggling Gender, which points to what Balpreet is implicitly calling to: gender goes far beyond our minimal, binary biological deterministic perspectives of what “one should look like”. Enjoy!
New Rule: any man who is a dick about women* who don’t shave their armpits/legs are required to shave their own armpits/legs every day for the rest of their lives.
Take a good hard look. Do you know what this is?
IT’S LEG HAIR.
And I am here to inform you that LEG HAIR is NO DIFFERENT than the hair on your head or arms. The only reason that any of you BOYS think that leg and underarm hair on women is SO disgusting is because in 1915 sleeveless dresses became popular, and a razor company decided that they wanted to expand their market, so they came out with an ad campaign that made sure that women knew they had to shave their underarms to be beautiful (which is a concept that didn’t exist before that company decided it was so. It was a scheme to make MONEY.) In the 1920’s, the legs followed suit as dresses got shorter. Once again, the razor company made sure to tell women that they weren’t beautiful unless they used their product and shaved their legs (even though nobody ever thought twice about leg hair or underarm hair before that.) Today, your disgust over leg and underarm hair is a result of years of TRAINING by companies that WANT YOUR MONEY. And that is it. It’s greedy western culture.
Any man (notice I said man, NOT boy) with a brain larger than his big toe would not be disgusted by any body hair because men know that there is nothing wrong with it, and that there is more to a woman than her outside appearance.
Yes, these are my hairy legs. I estimate that I haven’t shaved them in about 2 months because it’s cold out and I don’t give a damn. But you know what? Neither does my boyfriend of almost 5 years. In fact, he makes it a point to rub my legs just to bother me, although it no longer bothers me. He’s not disgusted because he knows it doesn’t matter. IT’S JUST SOME DAMN HAIR, AND I AM NOT THE LEAST BIT EMBARRASSED BECAUSE IT’S NATURAL JUST LIKE MY TEETH, BONES, NAILS, AND THE HAIR ON MY HEAD. When it gets warm enough to start wearing shorts again, or a bikini, then I will shave my legs to fit in with society once again. But when I am lounging around in sweats, or wearing jeans all the time, I don’t see the damn point. It’s not a hygiene issue, it’s a personal preference.
So every single one of you obnoxious and immature boys who complain about how disgusting girls are that don’t shave or wax their legs regularly need to keep your stupid little mouths shut and your opinions to yourself because your words are just as shallow as your intelligence level.
YOU ARE GOOD.
”A Beauty salon is offering waxing for girls under fifteen under the guise of freedom and independence.”
WHAT THE EVERLOVING FUCK
At least the comments on this pic are ripping it to shreds. The company’s ‘justification’ post made it even worse.
What this showcases (in a way that was probably not intentional) is that femininity isn’t a thing you are; it’s not defined as ‘like a woman’. Femininity is a thing you do. It’s a set of performed actions and behaviors that a person can take or not take as they choose, following a script written by their society.
Take this quote from the lovely Twisty Faster*:
Femininity, in fact, can’t even be practiced without stuff (which is one way of debunking the argument that it is an inherited sex trait). It is simply not possible for a woman without makeup and deodorant and lingerie and kitten heels and diet pills and clothes without pockets and anti-wrinkle cream that promises “glowing skin” and self-help books explaining the best ways to suck up to men and jewelry and razors and tweezers and lemon-scented cleaning products and boxes of Lean Cuisine in the freezer — all stuff that must be bought — to be fully feminine.
Check out this article about the importance of both performing femininity correctly and making sure that no one knows that you’re making an effort at doing so.
See, a woman who doesn’t shave DESTROYS ALL SOCIETY because she is a reminder that other women -do-. That hairlessness is not the default state for women.
*Worth noting at this time that I do not concur with Twisty’s stance that doing femninity, ever, is antifeminist. That’s some hardcore internalized femmephobia she’s got going on, there. I quote her here because she illustrates very well in the above quote that femininity is a set of actions, behaviors, sartorial choices, etc, not because I think she’s an unflawed person.
A grown human being isn’t ‘meant’ to have any particular anatomy or features. That would imply the intent of some outside force. You have a body, and it’s yours, and you should be able modify it as you damn well choose without having to take shit for it from anyone.
So I just went into the kitchen, and my 19-yr-old sister Olivia and my mum are in there. Olivia makes a comment about how hairy her legs are, and so I chime in, “Me too! I’ve stopped shaving for a few weeks now!” (coz I’m trying to be all confident about it). And I pull up the leg of my fatpants and show her. She bursts out laughing, and starts exclaiming that she’s never seen legs so hairy, and that they could be men’s legs. So mum, who had just before been “I don’t want to see your hairy legs!” asks for a look, and then she starts laughing and marvelling that “they’re just so LONG! Honestly, I have never seen leg hairs grow so long, and I’ve had friends with very dark, hairy legs. It’s like they’ll just keep growing and growing!”
So of course I’m not laughing, I just patiently wait for them to stop. I make a few points about how it shouldn’t matter. Olivia says oh yes, it’s fine to have hairy legs in the winter, and I say, “Why not in summer?” And my mum’s all “I completely understand, I was all feminist, don’t-shave-my-legs from the ages of about 19 to 25, and looking back I just think, what the hell was I thinking?!” And she mentions the patriarchy, and how it shouldn’t matter, all in a very blah-blah-blah voice, and it was all in a way like “oh yes, back when I was a teenager like you, I was all idealistic, but looking back, it was just really silly” and it just felt SO CONDESCENDING.
They didn’t even notice that I wasn’t laughing with them, and that I was actually trying not to cry.
- me: Wait, why am I supposed to shave my shins?
- society: Because natural body hair is just gross and ugly and unhygienic. Try to look decent.
- me: But all those dudes grow much more body hair than women, and they're not even supposed to shave their armpits?
- society: No, no, no, you got it wrong. Body hair is only gross on women.
- me: ... okay then, let me go shave my forearms, too.
- society: Shave your forearms?! What lol that's just the dumbest thing ever! You don't want stubbly arms, do ya? Hair on your arm is just normal and natural and like so okay. Stop being silly now.