mysticalchild_isis: (hedwig & the angry inch)
[personal profile] mysticalchild_isis
I've always had a difficult relationship with shaving. I'm quite fair-skinned, but I have very dark hair, and so my body hair tends to stand out rather starkly (especially as my ancestors include a number of rather hairy Scottish dudes). And let me tell you, the programming American women experience about shaving their body hair (particularly leg hair) is one of the things that has sunk its hooks deep inside my psyche. Despite the fact that I find shaving annoying and time-consuming, that it tends to irritate my skin, that the hair grows back extremely quickly, and that I don't wear skirts or dresses, I still feel compelled to shave my legs. When I look at my legs and they are hairy, there is a part of me that is disgusted.

But this winter, I decided that I was going to stop shaving my legs, and for the first time ever, I have managed to go for months without doing so. I can't say that I've fully made peace with my hairy legs, as when I look at them, I still don't find them aesthetically pleasing. But I have at least gotten to a place where I don't think about shaving them every time I get in the shower, and I am slowly becoming far less sensitive about other people witnessing my hairy legs.

It's interesting to see the responses to my lack of leg-shaving. One of my older female coworkers thinks that it is awesome, and wishes that she could also stop, but she doesn't think her husband would accept it. Another coworker couldn't even look at my legs when I was asked to show them off. And some people really don't care one way or another.

One of the things I have struggled with through my life is finding a balance between feminism, internalized misogyny, and the way in which all things feminine are disparaged and degraded. Beauty and fashion issues always seem to be particularly fraught battle grounds. One person will describe their use of makeup as empowering, while another will see it as part of the beauty industrial complex that exploits women, and I can see where they are both coming from. I grew up a tomboy surrounded by boys, and while in some ways, that was a really good thing for me (I've never had a problem speaking up in a group of men, or talking over them), in other ways, it meant that I internalized a hell of a lot of misogyny that still sneaks up on me in all sorts of ways years later. Before I went to college, I think I owned a total of maybe 3 CDs of female musicians, despite the fact I've been identifying as a feminist since I knew what the word meant.

So the leg-shaving issue has become something of a battleground for me, as I try to balance out resisting patriarchal programming while simultaneously trying not to degrade femininity.

Date: 2013-02-25 02:36 pm (UTC)
hickumu: (By your side)
From: [personal profile] hickumu
Oh! XD I get what you're saying now! College and women's studies classes are awesome like that, aren't they? My gender studies classes did a lot to kick me out of my "ew, feminine stuff is icky" phase, too. Yay for hours upon hours of music! That is always a good state to be in.

Date: 2013-02-26 02:51 am (UTC)
hickumu: (Terrier)
From: [personal profile] hickumu
Are online classes and such not a possibility, where you are? I'm consoling myself over the fast approaching graduation deadline with part time and online classes and such.

Date: 2013-02-26 02:07 pm (UTC)
hickumu: (School)
From: [personal profile] hickumu
I hope it goes well! I will be keeping my fingers crossed and everything. Seminar classes are definitely the best way to go about it, but online classes are better than nothing, I guess.


mysticalchild_isis: (Default)

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