31 December 2011

my butch feminist transformation is complete

for those of you who are squeamish about feminist issues or body hair on women, don't read. But know that you're being silly and misogynist. XD


EDIT -- just a note to say that I tried the armpit hair thing, dealt with it okay... ultimately didn't like it. off it goes next time I'm in the shower. I honestly never noticed a B.O. difference; it's just itchy.

Those of you who know me fairly well may know that I stopped shaving my legs just before my senior year of high school. I was in my grandparents' house for the summer, shaving in the shower, when I realised that I HATED shaving. I was sitting there with the shaving cream and razor and just going, "I hate this so much." Then WHY was I DOING it?

I hated how much time it took. I hated the inescapable razor burn, due to my extremely sensitive skin. I hated the ingrown hairs. I hated having spiky stubble the very next morning. And I hated being self-conscious if I went without shaving for more than two days and a fine brown pelt could be seen growing there, a testament to my "laziness."

So I stopped. And I haven't shaved my legs since. My parents gave me a lot of flak for it, along with other friends and family trying to talk me out of it. Yes, my legs are just as hairy "as a man's". My dad is half Neanderthal and half gorilla--it's in my genes. That's actually part of what made shaving so terrible. The hair was thick and if I shaved in the morning, I could get a five o'clock shadow of stubble. The hair on my legs is now long, curly, and soft. It's not spiky and itchy and bumpy like it would be if I regularly shaved it.

My parents said I would never have a boyfriend if I didn't shave. I've had two since, one who thought it was awesome that I didn't shave, and one that didn't really care or think about it too much. My parents said I would have a hard time making new friends in college if I didn't conform to certain beauty standards--that I wouldn't make a "good impression" with folks. Well, I met one of my best friends ever at a pre-college summer camp where I was wearing shorts every day (SARAH I LOVE YOU BY THE WAY). I would wear long pants or skirts to church or formal occasions, and one of my cousins requested that I wear long pants when visiting her so I complied. But for the most part my legs were just my legs, and I wore shorts in the heat or to gym (badminton!) class, and that was that.

I have experienced some nastiness from strangers when they see my unshaven legs. Mostly just looks of disgust. But those who are truly my friends don't really care. And those who do care? Aren't my friends. It's that simple.

I do find it interesting, tho', that at times when I would "confess" that I don't shave my legs, people would experience visible relief when I said that I do shave my pits, however. A lot of people frame pit-shaving in terms of sanitation. I tho't the same, to be honest--it was more sanitary, less B.O., etc. But if that were the case, why don't MEN shave their pits? Since they supposedly sweat more, wouldn't it be more necessary for sanitation for men?

I actually haven't seen what my armpit hair looks like, fully grown, since I've shaved them every two days since I was about 11 or so. As an experiment, I'm letting it grow now. So far it feels uncomfortable, a bit itchy, strange because I'm not used to it. I haven't noticed a massive increase in B.O. In fact, the hair can capture my deodorant and hold it close to the skin for longer. I've actually started using a weaker deodorant from LUSH, made from baking soda, herbs, and essential oils--chemical and aluminium salt free--and as long as I apply it daily, I'm fine. The baking soda gets trapped in the hairs and can soak up sweat for longer than if my pit was clean.

I'm waiting until the hairs are at their longest, and I'll give it a week or so to see what I think. So far I'm not the biggest fan of how it feels, and may go back to shaving them. But I want to make a fully informed choice, a personal choice, not a choice foisted upon me by the media and by ad campaigns for ladies' razors.

I mean, I'm cool if people like the feel of smooth legs or whatever. But it's NOT disgusting or unsanitary to let your body remain in its natural state. ESPECIALLY not when there is a male/female double standard, where what is perfectly sanitary for men suddenly becomes the pit of disease and infection for women.

and don't even get me STARTED on women feeling pressure to shave all their pubic hair due to the influence of pornography.

So, yeah, I've done that, and now I've gotten tired of the hair on my head so I have buzzed it short, like Sinead O'Connor or Natalie Portman. If I started wearing my flannel and combat boots again, I would be perceived as quite butch. But, to be honest, I love my body, my female-ness. I just don't conform to a lot of traditional expectations of femininity. I think true femininity is much deeper and more basic than shite like long hair, dresses (altho' I love me some flowing, ankle-length skirts), make-up, jewellery, the colour pink...

And I don't give a flyin' flip what strangers think of me, or how people who don't know me yet perceive me. Besides, my face is actually rather feminine, and one of my favourite things about this haircut is it allows me to showcase all my awesome earrings (I love me some dangly, shiny earrings). So I'm not really worried about being seen as male or whatever. but even if I was, WHO CARES?

Thanks, Daddy, for teaching me not to give a crap what other people think, but only what I think is good, and right. Even when that means I don't care what YOU think, haha. Thank you for being concerned over my health and strength rather than my body conforming to irrational model-standards.

Thanks, Mama, for never making me feel like I had to wear daily make-up to be beautiful, even tho' I know you used to think that about yourself (which was silly of you :P). Thank you for affirming my personal decisions, and always coming to my support and encouragement when I am confused or hurt.

Also, thanks everyone who has complimented me on my new haircut! It just goes to show that some things in society are changing.

I really am feminist at heart. I know there is a backlash against feminists nowadays for some reason, with people railing on and on about "feminazis" and whatever. But feminism is still needed in today's society. Misogyny hasn't disappeared, people, just like racism or classism hasn't disappeared.


if you're shuddering now but make a lot of dick jokes, then shame on you XD



  1. I love how you ended this post. I laughed heartily. :]

  2. Well, you DO come by the hair honestly. Of course, your Mom doesn't like my beard and moustache because it is so prickly even when long -- is she keeping me down (misandry)?! (joke, haha)

    Love ya, Dad


    (Incidentally, is there supposed to be a comma there? I got into a heated discussion with friends in college about this.)

  4. I also consider myself a feminist and to me feminism is all about choice, about the freedom to do whatever you want with your life and not what is expected of you.
    I like to think that I chose to wax, but most likely I was induced to believing that's what I wanted. Still, I can't stay too long without waxing. My boyfriend doesn't care and has never told me to wax or anything. That0s when you know it0s true love!:) I know friends whose boyfriends TELL them to wax..How crazy is that?
    If you ever decide to go hairless, try to wax instead of shaving. I used to go to a salon but now I just use Veet wax strips for sensitive skin. It's easy, cheap and it's pain free. Just giving you some options.
    And you do look good with short hair! ;)