Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beauty and the Beast. Or just the Beast.

I had a bizarre moment today. I was hanging around with my Dad, brother and two friends before the 5k this morning. (Oh yes, I ran the 5k! I did! I did. But it was momentous enough that I don't want to put it into words yet. Tomorrow.)

So there I was in my capri pant thingies that left my calves bare. I hadn't shaved for awhile. See My Red Wool. I normally don't care much what other people are thinking about my leg hair. That is their deal. But somehow it became the topic of conversation and my Dad made some offhand comment about it repelling men. I don't remember exactly what he said, but the point was that men aren't usually attracted to hairy legs. I immediately said that I didn't care anymore while pretending to brandish my legs around as repelling weapons. Who needs mace when you have hairy legs? (oh dear..)

Well, tonight I've been thinking and processing through a lot of emotions around that conversation. And since this is my blog, I am going to write them out. Bwaaahaahaa!

My hairy legs. I can't stand them and I can't stand that I can't stand them. (Read that sentence 3 times really fast.) I mean they are a part of me. I'm human. I have hair. For some reason even though beautiful women are supposed to have smooth legs, my hair keeps on growing. I sometimes get up the courage to shave, but it hurts. And the results are lovely for about half a day. Then they are prickly(and once again my legs are a weapon.) So to keep them smooth, I would have to shave everyday. My skin would fall off from irritation. I barely get away with shaving once a week. So we have irritated skin, prickly legs, or hairy legs. Which option would you choose? The irritated skin is probably the most socially acceptable, but it also probably hurts the worst. Waxing? Gah. Even worse than shaving. More irritation, that lasts longer. Ingrown hairs galore. And they still aren't smooth! Apparently I have a layer of hair that doesn't get ripped out with waxing. Nice. Nair/etc.? My lungs and head hurt along with the skin. Is that stuff safe?

So if your hand doth offend you, cut it off right? Electrolysis. Here comes the crux of the matter. I am thoroughly pissed this is even an issue at all! Why shouldn't I love my hair? Why shouldn't society love women's hair? Why are women smooth and men hairy? Women grow hair! Smooth women? Women are smooth up until puberty. Then they grow hair. That is a mark of their maturing into womanhood. So we are idealizing prepubescence-ness? (Yeah, I don't know if that is really a word, but you get the point.)

I'm not saying that noone should ever shave. If you want to shave, great. I'm just wondering if there isn't room for seeing the beauty in women's hair. Wait, it isn't beautiful? An integral part of me being a woman isn't beautiful? I have actually had people comment to my face how disgusting they found my leg hair. Where is our tolerance? Or not even tolerance, but openness to beauty in a viewpoint that is not your own.

So is it not possible that there is a man that can love my hair? Tolerate it? At least not be repelled by it? I feel like the beast that you have to get past the initial hairy horror to love.






(I just noticed my last four posts have been of the more cranky nature. It has been a long week...but that felt good to write out.)

10 comments:

imemary said...

I think that one of the reasons leg-shaving is so mainstream is because hairless legs are just one more thing to differentiate women from men, like hairless faces or hips.

However. On "Dances with Wolves," Lt. Dunbar still falls in love with Stands With A Fist (the white girl gone native) even though she had NEVER shaved her legs or armpits. Don't think that just because you don't shave your legs you will repel all men. Just most of the wrongs ones...

Sahara said...

Maybe if I had a name like Stands With A Fist. Lt. Dunbar you give me hope. :)

But hairless faces or hips are our natural state of being a woman. It makes sense that differentiates us from men. Smooth legs isn't. We have to work to get them smooth. Though I see your point, and I see that a lot of people think that way. It just bothers me.

michellekoerber said...

it's just social conditioning. people can choose how they feel. enjoy your hair. tell people to screw off if they mention it. take your rock and hard place and embrace them. :S

Lia said...

When I first got married my husband was a bit deterred by my leg hair. I hardly ever shaved. My skin, like yours, really hates it. Well, I thought about trying to do something about it, but really, my heart wasn't in it (for the same reasons you mention). A few months ago, he told me that he doesn't mind my hairy legs (or underarms) anymore. That they are just part of me. And it's fine and I'm lovely, to him. It was a refreshing moment.

So, can someone come to love your golden fleece? I say, YES! It just might take a little time for the social conditioning to wear off.

By the way, I personally love your golden fleece. I think it's amazing, powerful, beautiful. And even rather magical. Heh.

(Paco says: You need to find a man whose first physical attraction to you is not your body, but your face. And he should be attracted to you beyond your body. Then the tolerance and eventual attraction to the leg hair comes. It has taken me a long time, but I have actually come to find it cute.)

Sahara said...

My golden fleece. That sounds like the stuff fairy tales are made of. :) Well patience I suppose to let some of the social conditioning wear off. (Lia and Paco you guys always inspire me with how your relationship works).

I'm off to embrace my hard place and my rock...or at least my fleece....

Lia said...

After reading your comment of: "My golden fleece. That sounds like the stuff fairy tales are made of. :)" I just had to look it up . . .

In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece (Greek: Χρυσόμαλλον Δέρας) is the fleece of the winged ram Chrysomallos (Χρυσόμαλλος). It figures in the tale of Jason and his band of Argonauts, who set out on a quest for the Fleece in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus in Thessaly.

So, actually, yes, the golden hair on your legs is the stuff that tales are spun from (you're mythic!).

Sahara said...

Haha! Lia, of course you had to look it up. That is one of the reasons why I like you so much.
The winged ram, eh? I'll have you know that I am an Aries, a ram. Heh heh. Well if Jason only knew how easily he could get some of my golden fleece... Maybe people will flock to me to see my fleece. Wouldn't it be funny if the man I end up falling in love with is named Jason. Oh this whole thing has given me so much more to smile about when I think of my leg hairs.

And I liked being called mythic! :)

Lia said...

That would/will be so funny . . . a Jason come to find your golden fleece.

Mark said...

Hmm - golden fleece - sounds like a hairy tale.


(sorry I just had too :D )

Sahara said...

bwahaahee. That was pretty funny Mark...