Thursday, August 03, 2006

Fuzzy logic

Something came up today on a forum I hang around on, and I thought I’d share. Consider it a gift.

The theory was posited (as an extreme - I don't think the person who posted really thought it - it was more as a conversation piece. I hope) that men who like women to shave their foo-foos are latent kiddy-fiddlers. The discussion then spiralled off into a place where society’s requirement that women keep their legs and underarms fuzz-free was denounced as a patriarchal contribution to the repression of women blah blah blah.

It’s kind of an interesting one though.

I’d like to start with the shaven-women-as-faux-ten-year-olds theory. I don’t buy it. I just don’t think that such a huge swathe of the male population (and I might be way, way off-beam here. Do loads of boys really like that? Really?) are pandering to their suppressed desires by grooming their unsuspecting partners. Not even if they’re doing it subconsciously. It just doesn’t ring true. And, if this really was the case, would the women involved not get wind of the subtext and maybe question it? Just a bit? And what about single women who dare to go bare? Are they somehow subconsciously enabling men they don’t even know who may or may not have suppressed paedophilic tendencies which are just waiting for someone to draw them out? I really don’t think so.

As for body hair in general, then. My goodness. It’s a minefield.

If you prefer to shave/wax/thread/depilate/pluck errant hairs with an organic tweezer made from a hazel twig then you are open to accusations of sisterly betrayal. Which is sort of fair enough, in a way. I mean, who says that if I want to grow my leg hair so it pokes through my tights in winter (Mrs Evans, from the Art Room, I’m talking to YOU), it's wrong and unfeminine? Or grow my lady garden down to my knees? And what of armpits? I’m sort of easy-going when it comes to armpits*. Some of my best friends have armpit hair. I had it myself for a while, but that might have been to do with general fat-girl-trapped-in-a-bad-marriage self-loathing than anything else. I also had a wrestler’s neck and lots of elasticated waistbands** in my wardrobe, so I’m not sure my opinion counts. Anyway. Body hair. If you just let it all grow, of course, then you’re up for a great deal of jokes about people who knit their own lentils. Oh, and other women will look at you with a mixture of horror and admiration (come on girls, which of us hasn’t wished that we could just give it all up and go native? No more waxing, no panicky stubble-razing, no sliced shins that just won’t stop bleeding…).

So it’s a lose/lose situation. I personally prefer to keep everything under control, but does that mean I am being dictated to by the male ideal of female beauty? Does the fact that I think my legs and underarms look better without a five-o’clock shadow (or a full Rasputin) mean that I am in some way betraying the sisterhood?

It’s a tricky one. Discuss.

* I’m not, not really. Bare is better. But after the bollocking I got from the feminists over the pole-dancing post I’m too scared to say so. Nobody ever reads the footnotes so I should get away with it.

** Seriously. Poor self-image doesn’t really cover it. I am way better now, honestly. Other Half, tell them. Please? Otherwise everyone will now picture me as a hairy fat girl (not that there’s anything wrong with that [see above]) and after the weekend I’ve just had I need all the self-esteem I can hold onto. I’ll blog about the fat-girl years another time, if I run out of things to talk about (not that there’s anything wrong with being fat. Or hairy. No. It’s all about choice. I know that).


Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

Would happily chose to wander about in full fur except that it makes small children cry.
if one is going to wear scanty apparel which pretends to cover the coochal regions, then the exposed acreage left bare MUST BE CLEAN. noone wants to see nappy snatch hanging out!

04 August, 2006 03:45  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

not to be redundant, or repeat myself either (exposed...bare; geeze.)

04 August, 2006 03:46  
Blogger rockmother chimed in with...

I'll agree with that. But I'd rather DIY than having a cheerful stranger in a white coat called Chanelle gleefully rip it all off my legs, groin area et al - I'll rip it all off myself thanks!

04 August, 2006 08:25  
Blogger Spinsterella chimed in with...


While I'm not altogether convinced by the brazilian=paedo line, I do think that any woman who inflicts regular labial waxing on herself is mad and stupid (and I do wonder what the fuck must the regrowth be like(ingrown hairs there?))

But, I shave my legs regularly.

And although I think that some girls with armpit hair are really quite sexy, I've never done it myself...

(I don't *think* I'm particularly repressed...)

04 August, 2006 08:26  
Blogger Perry Neeham chimed in with...

Isn't it just a question of personal preference, like a hairstyle, rather than being a 'right on' issue?

I don't think guys agonize over the choice of being cleanshaven or having a full beard, goatee, moustache or sideburns (or even shave their balls).

04 August, 2006 09:48  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse chimed in with...

A bit of trimming, keeping things tidy, fine & dandy. But waxing completely bare? Uggg, ick (and Spinsterella is right, think of the regrowth!).

04 August, 2006 10:08  
Blogger Huw chimed in with...

It's a bollocks theory. There will be a proportion of these blokes who like a shaved snatch who also, I'll wager, have a soft spot for massive jugs too. Your theorist will then try and dress this up as some sort of "ideal woman who is both a six year old girl below the waist and a mother figure above".

It's spawned from a man-hating brand of feminism which contradicts its whole philosophy by ignoring the fact that such things can come about as a result of women's preferences as much as they can from men's.

04 August, 2006 11:24  
Blogger Annie Rhiannon chimed in with...

Personally, I like to keep shaved because it feels nice when I'm masturbating. So that is nothing to do with men at all at all.

04 August, 2006 12:06  
Blogger The Boy chimed in with...

So, the reverse of this argument is that women are paedofiles for prefering men to be clean shaven. I know my wife quite rightly thinks that my shaven cheeks are preferable for close cuddles and kisses. Clearly I have a not dissimilar opinion about the brazilian scenario...

04 August, 2006 12:45  
Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

"lady garden"??


i've never waxed (gotta draw the line somewhere, right?) but had thought about it recently UNTIL my sister said having her bikini line done was worse than childbirth (and she gave birth twice WITHOUT pain relief)

so, forget it already

04 August, 2006 13:31  
Blogger Billy chimed in with...

I'd like to see more unshaved armpits.

Completely hairless foo-foos creep me out a bit though.

04 August, 2006 14:34  
Blogger claire chimed in with...

"Lady garden" is the BEST term i have ever heard for that. Love it, hope you don't mind me borrowing it.

I'm no expert, and haven't actually done any research on this, but i think body hair is WAY more taboo in the US than UK. I've read a few english men who think underarm hair is 'sexy'. When i first read that, i thought it was individual taste, but now i wonder if it is cultural? I'm pretty sure a woman walking around with hairy pits here would be an instant target for ridicule and cringing.

Unless they are famous, in which case they are "unique" or an "individual". Ech..

04 August, 2006 15:17  
Blogger frangelita chimed in with...

This very subject started a big conversation at a party of mine last year. Which ended up with someone I sort of know getting her muff out. It was quite a shock to us all, I can tell you.

04 August, 2006 15:24  
Blogger Levi chimed in with...

A woman without pubic hair is like a night without stars... or something.

I need my ladies plucked, preened, painted and perfumed before I can find them attractive. I think that might make me a bad person. I'm a feminist- I really am.

I supposed I've just been socialised into a certain set of aesthetic values.

That's right Levi... blame society... I'm sure I'm a bad person.

04 August, 2006 15:26  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

My lovely SG is neither of the things she suggests...neither fat nor hairy, she's just keen to understand where this predeliction for the removal of body hair comes from and the relationship it has to the state of one's mind.

Blimey, that was rather articulate for a Friday afternoon...I must be bored at work !

04 August, 2006 16:01  
Blogger the plate invigilator chimed in with...

I read somewhere that Manhattan-type socialites are obliged (by law, for all I know) to wax their forearms and the insides of their nostrils, in order to ensure that they are considered fully acceptable, hygienic members of society. I pity beauty therapists - I have seriously considered having a Brazilian, but could not possibly expect anyone (other than a gynaecologist) to get that up close & personal.

Anyway, right now I resemble Squirrel Nutkin rather than Barbie, which shows how close I have got to the salon...

04 August, 2006 16:02  
Blogger LC chimed in with...

Hair is an evolutionary relic - everybody should shave off all of their unnecessary monkey fur.

04 August, 2006 16:35  
Blogger suburban wonder chimed in with...

I was reading in that forum too, and thought that view was a bit extreme (as are some members of that forum!). I think hygiene plays the largest part in keeping the "lady garden" appropriately pruned and manicured. I love that term, by the way.

I teach French, and one of the questions I get most from my students is the "Is it true that French women don't shave their pits?" with an accompanying cringe and "ewwww!" from the other students. I'd say that body hair is much more taboo in the US than elsewhere.

04 August, 2006 16:55  
Blogger GreatSheElephant chimed in with...

Interesting point from the boy.

Isn't it meant to be the case that the modern male preference for waxed bits comes from viewing too much porn where they have to be defuzzed for the sake of being able to view the action.

lc, I thought you like monkeys?

04 August, 2006 17:23  
Blogger Léonie chimed in with...

I recently got an absolute bollocking from a beauty therapist when I told her that I didn't pluck my eyebrows. They're pale, they don't need plucking. She said that wasn't the point, I should do it anyway. Then she tried tell me I should wax my forearms and toes, which are practically hairless anyway. I just couldn't understand it. As for the rest of it, I don't shave my legs because there is hardly any hair there and what is there is blonde. I'm not sure I would be bothered to shave it all the time if it wasn't, though. Underarms is kind of instinctive, now, as is keeping everything else neat and tidy. I do it even when I'm single, though.

It's a personal choice, and as Huw says, to assume that it is the male influence robs us of the possibility that we might prefer to be hairless, or tidy. Why is it a choice when it is grown out, but a symbol of opression when it's shaved off?

It is a tricky one, though.

04 August, 2006 17:28  
Blogger othur-me chimed in with...

All I know is that I want to PARTY with Frangelita's friends!

04 August, 2006 18:38  
Blogger DavetheF chimed in with...

As I understand it, the clean-shaven look was pioneered by the hardcore industry, which requires that the acts are seen in lovingly rendered anatomical detail. Why anyone else would do it is an interesting question. There is the bikini trim, of course, you wouldn't like to see one of those sprouting whiskers.

04 August, 2006 19:16  
Blogger Kyahgirl chimed in with...

Hi SG :-) So glad I dropped by today for another riveting discussion at D-flat chime bar.

YOu remember how much the rabid feminists pissed me off at the pole dancing discussion? I'll try to be more circumspect...
It all boils down to what amopodex said. Personal choice. Remember my Brazilian experience? My husband didn't even know what one was when I told him I was going to get it. He had no interest whatsoever in repressing me over body hair issues. It was my choice to try something different with MY body. Why does every bloody pseudo feminist think they have the right to tell us how we should manage our own bodies?

oh,oh, here I go again....

And for the ladies who wonder, waxed hair does not grow back prickly the way shaved hair does so you don't need to fret about that.

04 August, 2006 21:53  
Blogger Arabella chimed in with...

I find the leg-shaving stuff extremely tedious but do it anyway, more so here in the U.S where there seems to be female hair phobia (curly hair freaks people out here - is that because it reminds people of pubes?).
As for 'gardening' - I like a bit of veiled mystery, meself. It feels more feminine to me.
I had a bikini wax once. I wondered why afterwards because I always go for the Jane Russell style swimsuit anyway, which covers everything.
I've been thinking about this most of the day...thanks Surly!

05 August, 2006 05:54  
Blogger Jools chimed in with...

Its all a matter of personal choice for the ladieeee surely (I mean if you're ripping hairs out by any means cause some bloke wants you to, maybe he should do the same with his nether regions) for me well If I didn't shave I'd resemble a female yeti (not nice for anyone and I don't really fancy being chased down the high street by photogs)

05 August, 2006 08:02  
Anonymous Stu Savory chimed in with...

As a mere male, may I say I am a fan of Garfield and his ilk

... , you know, bushy, pushy, pussies ;-)

05 August, 2006 10:58  
Blogger Betty chimed in with...

Shaving, depilatory creams, bleaching, tweezing out your facial bristles (re: the last one - I'm over 40 and I'm half East European) - all well and good. There's nothing wrong with a bit of pruning, trimming and deadheading of your garden, especially with it being summer, but I draw the line at getting me chuff out to be smeared in hot wax and the hairs pulled out from the roots at Cheryl Marie's Unisex Hair And Beauty Salon in Barnehurst. Oww! And you hear horror stories about women who swell up like donuts. Unless you work in the "glamour" industry, it's not wurfitt!

*drags morbidly obese, hairy, man-hating feminist body off to knit another gallon of yoghurt).

05 August, 2006 14:58  
Blogger 30-Something chimed in with...

Oi, I come to your blog for a bit of light entertainment, not to be all thought provoked. Stop thought provoking me..

I reckon at some stage it was dictated by the male ideal of female beauty but kinda stuck. Like; "Oh yeah I'll shave my legs and trim my fur burger to please you darlin.." but after time we all got used to it and actually preferred it that way.

Personaly, I like a clean shaven woman (especially if she has a beard) but do realise that you have to feel comfortable so it's not so much about pleasing your partner (male or female) or subscribing to their idea of what is feminine but more about your own idea of what's comfy and what's itchy...

05 August, 2006 18:13  
Blogger funny thing chimed in with...

A bit of hair, please. It lets me know I've reached the naughty bits, gets my pulse going.

(blimey, it's warm in here...)

BTW. I'm (a mere) 33 and have recently noticed that the hair on my fingers is starting to get a bit spiky. Is it just me???????

07 August, 2006 13:37  
Blogger FUNKYBROWNCHICK chimed in with...

legs = clean shaven

armpits = clean shaven

netherregions = au naturel with light landscape gardening. ;)

07 August, 2006 15:42  
Blogger JonnyB chimed in with...

Well frankly I've never in my life asked my partner to shave her 'foo foo'. The very idea.

Then again, she's only twelve.

07 August, 2006 17:20  
Blogger tom909 chimed in with...

Shaved, waxed or hairy - once I'm horny I don't give a toss!

07 August, 2006 19:28  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

johnnyb = you rock.

tom - um. thanks for your honesty. i think...!

07 August, 2006 20:55  

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