Question for men – #6: If I put it this way, will you understand?

September 26, 2013

I really hope so.
Although, this is for women too – of course. I’m sure there are many who will disagree with me.

I apologise for my absence of late – it seems the strains of life as a full-time working mum have pockets when they take their toll. I’m sure many working mums can give me an exhausted ‘amen’ there.

This bit’s for the guys. (You can listen in, though, gals)

Last week, I escaped with Hubby and the girls to a National Park for three days, with zero phone reception and no Net. It was sublime and enormously relaxing – which was just the ticket, as I think I was heading toward a ‘system overload’ situation.
Having access to the world would have rendered the whole mini-break pointless, as the crappy things that are going on profoundly affect me.

So, my first ‘me’ activity on the first day, was to pluck the hairs off my legs.

Mmmmmm – I hear ya – exciting stuff.

Now I know that I said in my last post on this issue – A hairy moment – that my only manner of removing leg hair was through shaving, BUT I had purchased a new ‘machine’ and after recently slicing the top off a toe knuckle with a razor (infuriating and bloody painful), as I attempted to balance in the shower to shave, I thought I’d give the ‘hair yank’  another shot.
Exfoliation and cream galore will be needed to stop the usual ingrown hairs.

So as my legs started to welt – Exhibit A:

IMG_6298

– my daughters entered the room, looking quite perplexed, and asked why I was doing that. Like I was a crazy person.

At that moment, guys, what am I to say?

The truth? – that less than a hundred years ago, this became the ‘fashion’ and sealed our doomed fate to constantly undo what nature has given us?

Or our truth? – that they simply have to and will spend a truck load of money in the process?

I sat there – blinking (with the sounds of crickets) – and just looked at them.

Blank.

Question # 184: Do you see the conundrum we’re in as women?

At every turn – it’s JUST about our looks.
And that attitude permeates everything to do with women.

I want to instil in my girls – in ALL girls (and dare I dream it; boys and men) – that beauty absolutely comes in all shapes, colours…and (heaven forbid) hairiness.

But how can I teach that when I’m sitting there – intentionally – ripping the hair off my legs, leaving them in welts?

I felt a bit like a fraud.

So, I’m still a feminist who will not let my leg and armpit hair grow, because it’s entrenched in my views of beauty  – BUT can you understand the frustration?

Before some of you guys say you have an equal problem because you have to shave your faces – I’ll respond with. ‘But by beauty standards you don’t have to.’ Exhibit B:

kinopoisk.ruHugh Jackman sports a scruffy beard while greeting fans outside the 'Late Show with David Letterman' in NYC7402119_f520

We have to…and it’s a bummer.

OK gals, this part is for you AS WELL. (Don’t go anywhere yet, fellas)

No, hair removal is not the number one issue that women face – by a long shot – women have much graver and more horrifying problems to face and deal with, on a global scale.

I wrote about this because I needed to explain the simple frustration of women (with the means – like myself) choosing to shave their legs, at the expense of all our wallets – men’s and women’s – AND the environment.

Imagine the plastic (as an example) we’d have saved from being produced, if this weren’t the fashion for women?
And the resources to MAKE that plastic? It’s mind-boggling when hair removal is a billion dollar industry.

All for what? Hair?

Sadly, the logic doesn’t translate to the already converted – like me – but:

Question #185: Should we really be doing this to ourselves and imparting it onto our kids?

It’s like men can be as hairy as they want to be and are steered away from their feminine aspects (which balances them out) – being ridiculed for being a ‘girl/woman’ in any way.

Whilst women have to rid themselves (preferably) of all body hair – except for the hair on the head, of course, which has to be long and cascading locks. (Another extreme beauty expense, BTW)
Women are being steered away from their wonderful, rugged strength (which balances them out) because those masculine traits – whether they be physical (looks) or in attitude – deem them ‘unladylike’.

We’re missing out on the best of ourselves.

We’re a bunch of idiots.

Deep Breath.

x

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7 Responses to “Question for men – #6: If I put it this way, will you understand?”

  1. Harls said

    But I DO have to shave my face! I can’t stand the feeling of having facial hair. (And my wife hates it on me.) So we (and almost everyone else) are no different in that respect. Admittedly, you probably don’t mind the feel of your leg hair – it’s the look you don’t like – but whatevs. It’s human to conform to fashions. It’s not just Western either – not a first world problem – it’s literally global. Forgive yourself and move on!

    • questionsforwomen said

      Obviously the way I wrote this post – didn’t make you understand.
      Your choice to shave your face is still a personal choice that comes without stigma. Completely different with women and hairy legs. So – no – it’s not the same in that respect.
      I do find your ‘move on!’ a tad condescending and patronising.

    • Tricia said

      Do you get laughed at in the street if you don’t shave your face? Did you grow up thinking it’s abnormal for men to grow beards? Did you ever spend an entire day or night fretting about what someone might think of the slight visible stubble? If you are honest at all, the answer to all these questions is a big no. Concede that you don’t understand what it’s like for women in this world and listen better. Maybe you still have a chance of expanding your horizons and not being so dismissive and patronizing.

  2. tiffany267 said

    I agree with Tricia in the comments here. It’s the question of stigma. I personally love shaving my legs, even though my skin is so sensitive that my thighs looks worse than the photo in this blog, every single time. But imagine if I didn’t? Maybe if there weren’t such stigma and judgment around my body hair then I wouldn’t feel so compelled to do that to myself.

    I liked that you mention that women are as rugged as men. We have this stupid idea in our culture that women aren’t (or aren’t supposed to be) physically strong, and it really drives me up the wall.

    Case in point.

  3. Harls said

    I say that a lot. I probably should have put a smiley face after it.

  4. Sometimes I choose not to shave my legs. I wear pants to cover it up. Most of the time. I actually wear pants most of the time anyway. I’m fortunate in that my legs aren’t particularly hairy. There are times when I haven’t shaved and I go ahead and wear shorts and go out. Oh well. It doesn’t bother me that much.

    But I get what you mean.

    I think women need to pay attention to what makes *them* feel beautiful or attractive in their own eyes. Yes, society has dictated that this means women are hairless. But, would I *not* shave just because I want to buck that presumption? Or just go ahead and do it anyway because that’s the way *I* like for it to look (and feel). Women have every license to do what makes themselves feel beautiful in their own eyes.

    Men can do the same thing. Men are supposed to be muscular because that’s manly. But not all men have big muscles. Is the fact that they don’t make them less attractive? Perhaps. But it’s not terrible if they don’t and if they are a confident individual. I think personality has a lot to do with it.

    I think that your perceptions of societal mores are a wee bit more rigid than they really are. 🙂

    • questionsforwomen said

      I think with every argument, there is an element that applies to men. There must be – it’s part of attaining equilibrium.
      Men and – more and more – young men/teens, have a pressure to look a particular way BUT they are still much, much lower on the ‘stigma-peg’ than women. This is most obvious with the representation of men in the media/movies/shows, like Beauty and the Geek. A complete role-reversal of that show i.e. ALL geek girls and dumb, hot guys – we will never, ever see. There’s much more representation and acceptance of men of all shapes, colour and hair. Even being bald can be seen as hot!
      I think if a guy isn’t muscly – he wouldn’t get the same beauty stigma thrown at him, as a woman with hairy legs.
      Hairy legs on women are a big no-no.

      I do still feel the societal mores (love that, BTW) are rigid because female hair removal is a billion-dollar industry and despite the logic against it, I shave my legs and don’t know what to say to my daughters.
      Do I teach them to buck the system? And then cross all my fingers and toes that they don’t get teased? (which they will be – we’re Latin American and my eldest daughter, 10, already has quite a bit of leg hair)
      Conundrum. That’s why I wrote the post.
      Most likely I’ll be teaching her to shave in a few years and there’s a teeny part of me that hates the ‘have to’ part of it.
      Thanks heaps for your comment! Much appreciate the ‘chat’. 🙂 x

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