I don’t care if you shave or wax your legs or armpits or you don’t – but please, don’t tell me I’m less of a feminist because I do.
Maybe it’s because it’s summer, but my fellow Kveller editors seem to be waxing eloquent (ha!) as to the status of their hairy parts. Carla got waxed for the first time and hated it. Mayim disclosed that she not only has never waxed, but she also has never shaved her legs or armpits. I’m not sure why I needed to know either of these things, but hey, now I do! I found the discussion benignly entertaining.
Until, oh, Mayim, you had to go here:
And I have had plenty of women tell me that their feminism is about choosing: whether or not to wear spike heels and push-up bras and bikinis, and whether or not to shave or not shave. Well, as a second-wave feminist (think Hilary Rodham Clinton rather than Gwen Stefani feminism), I respectfully disagree. Feminism, to me, is about leveling the field, creating realistic and respectful expectations for all genders, and allowing the natural abilities and properties of all people to be accepted, appreciated, and treasured.
Mayim, you know I adore you, but it’s not really “respectfully disagreeing” when you say that feminism isn’t about choosing, and when you imply that creating respectful expectations for all genders somehow necessarily entails choosing to keep leg and armpit hair unshaven.
Let me reiterate: I really don’t care what you, or anyone for that matter, do or does with your hair, “down there” or anywhere else. It’s up to you, because it is YOUR HAIR.
Mayim made the argument that we should keep our own body hair so as to convey acceptance of it. I think that’s not necessary. As a general rule, I’d much rather tell my kids, if they comment with regard to anything, “Why is so-and-so doing X, Y or Z?”, simply that “Different people make different choices, and that’s fine.” I’m not going to dictate what my kids find attractive or not, because I can’t. They will come to their own conclusions, and that’s fine, because attractiveness is really pretty personal. In other words, let’s model acceptance of different standards of appearance and beauty – not judge people based on the state of their body hair.
Mayim doesn’t want other people to judge her because of hair on her legs or armpits. Well, similarly, I don’t want people to judge me. I don’t want people to make assumptions about my ideology/card-carrying feminism – and certainly not based on whether or not my legs or armpits are shaved or waxed.
People are far more complex than the state of their body hair, whether by their vaginas (listen, if we can’t say vaginas on Kveller, I quit) or their ankles. I don’t like judging people based on what shoes they wear, so I’m going to try not to judge them on whether or not they use a razor.
Tell you what: I won’t judge you on your hair – don’t judge me on (my lack of) mine.