Monday, February 04, 2008

Give Me Hair

I can remember my first experiences as a young adolescent dealing with hair. I was in eighth grade, and as I was running laps in gym class, wearing shorts and a tank top (doesn't everyone look gorgeous in gym class?), when I heard the boys laughing at me.

"Hey! You need a weed whacker for your pits!" they yelled amid hysterical giggles. I can't describe adequately my desire to sink into the floor. I kept running, but every time I circled near the boys, they'd point at me, and start hollering "Monkey girl! Gorilla!" I couldn't wait to return to the locker room and hide my suddenly disgustingly hairy body under my regular clothes.

It took a great amount of pleading to convince my mother to let me start shaving. She wasn't thrilled about handing me a razor, and instead, suggested a cream hair remover. My legs erupted in a red burning rash, but they were bare. A razor was procured to take care of my horrific armpits.

Today, I don't care overly much about hair removal. I use an electric depilatory that has rows of tweezers that pull out the hair at the root, because I hate the stubble left behind by razors. But mostly, if my hair grows out, it grows out. I will wear shorts and not be ashamed of my legs. It's an amazing feat of self-esteem to not care what other people might say about my body hair.

The ideal of the hairless woman bothers me. No one cares if men have hair, but for women, the only hair that is appreciated is the hair on one's head. Women who don't shave/wax/etc. are treated with scorn and derision as holdouts of the hippie era or lesbians. Because of course, only heterosexual male standards apply.

This is all prompted by a discussion on Body Impolitic on Nair's launching a campaign aimed at 10 year olds or "first time hair removers." I find this a truly disgusting idea. By removing women's body hair, men are trying to make women into children, which is patronizing, and certainly offensive enough. But to market this sexualized ritual to actual children is disturbing.

[Link found via Beauty and the Breast]

2 responses:

mice said...

Girls are being encouraged to grow up WAY too soon in this manner and so many others.

Kids are cruel to each other though. They find ways to deride each other whether the kids are removing their hair or not. Please also consider how boys are treated at that age who are not growing hair or enough hair.

No one is safe from the pain and anguish of growing up.

mice said...

BTW if you are tired of having me comment on this blog please tell me.

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