In the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great encouraged his men to shave so enemies couldn't grab their beards during melees.
Boo to the people who are immediately dismissing this article as unworthy of inclusion in The Times. Or the folks who say it's "icky" and to just shave and not think about it, or that it's too private to write about (??).
I'm glad to see something that's a big huge elephant in the room is being talked about somewhat in the mainstream. Having a dialogue about the cultural history of body hair removal (or whatever people want to call it) is important. This is an adolescent angst issue as important for girls as getting their first bra or period. I'm all for bringing this stuff out into the open. Many women have memories as pre-teens trying to figure out what to do, and the familial silence that frequently surrounds this issue, as if it's shameful. My mom just handed me a razor and I had to learn myself, not realizing about the direction of the blades, and slicing my fingertips to ribbons. The teenage girls in my gym class used to run their hands over their legs and complain loudly that their leg hair was so long, "it was almost long enough to braid" (it was not).
The whole anthropological/sociological hang ups and beliefs that we have about women and body hair, and even men and body hair, are tremendously important to tease out and try to analyse. Why do women repeatedly get so almost uniformly teased and harassed and yes, even shamed about their body image, sexuality, etc., because they won't shave/wax/laser off one of the things that makes them a mammal--body hair? Something no one has brought up so far is the increasing obsession with more and more hair being removed. It's not "enough" to shave your legs, now it's Brazilian bikini waxes, women are getting rid of their arm (not underarm) hair, it's like they're completely denuding themselves. Many speculate the drive for the infantilization of female sexuality in our culture: young girls who are too young to really be aware of sexuality being sexualized, and everyone else over 21 trying to look younger. There are other anthropologists who connect much of this with the rise of Internet pornography, which features women with breast implants, no body hair, and Photoshopped to boot.
Please, people, don't dismiss this as an item not worthy of discussion. It is. Dig deeper and think about WHY you don't want to think about it. And, ... if you SAY you're cool with women who don't shave their legs/armpits/whatever, and you see a woman being harassed in public for it, stick up for them. Don't let the bigots have their day. If they don't like it, they don't have to look.
I went for many years to a liberal arts college where few if any women shaved, and a big city where I was rarely if ever hassled. Later, moving to the East and getting more jobs with "corporate" potential, it became an issue and now that I'm not regularly employed but living in suburbia, I sporadically shave whenever I need to, for swimming and in the summer, but I hate doing it, I have tried just about everything and it's painful and drives me nuts.
And now my 8 yo daughter, very smart and alert about gender issues, is asking why I shave my legs and Daddy doesn't. And why, if I complain about it, I do it anyway. If I'm telling her to follow her spirit and have her own fashion sense and not worry about being teased for having her hair short or her funky dresses and shoes and earrings, then why am I, in front of my daughter, kowtowing to these stupid sensibilities? What kind of example does that set for her?
But yeah, can you imagine an article pondering whether men who don't shave are wannabe lumberjacks or just dirty?
mai: So I don't shave.
I think sometimes people find it odd. Not people who I am close to. People at work, especially students.
No man has ever cared. I submit that most beauty stuff women do has nothing to do with winning the affection of men, and everything to do with winning the approval and/or envy of other women.
There are certain psychological problems, primarily personality disorders, in which women are characteristically abusive, violent or just angry toward men. Borderline personality disorder is a diagnosis that is found almost exclusively with women. Approximately 1-2% of women have a type of borderline personality disorder.
Make some subtle comments about some of her close girl friends who live similar lifestyles. Say things like, “oh, she’s starting to put on weight,” or “she isn’t looking to healthy/good/attractive since she put on those extra pounds.” Try not to be rude about it and try to sound genuinely concerned. You don’t want to anger your girlfriend, especially if you are commenting on a friend that she looks up to.
Superfluous hair on a woman's face is a hideous deformity. Candidly, there is no excuse for a woman's submitting to such a disgusting blemish.
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