Posted by: hellonhairylegs | December 9, 2008

Us and Them

I hate that there is a bunch of white, middle-class, able bodied women that buy into beauty who can afford not to. I hate that they shave, wax and put on makeup in search of an impossible goal. That these actions change them, remove some of their individuality and turn them into symbols. I hate that the consumption of the products used will put money into the pockets of the advertisers who made women feel the need to do those stupid things in the first place. I hate that these actions add up to one big mindfuck for girls. If I’m honest with myself, I don’t hate it just for the pain it causes or the economic disadvantage it puts women at, I hate it because in my mind, these women are somehow traitors.

I hate that the first experience I had with online feminism was a FAQ that opened with an explanation of how hairy-legged feminists were just a myth. I hate that so-called feminists disavow me because they’re worried I might taint their image. Newsflash people: we are in a freaking patriarchy. Just by asserting a woman’s equality your image is already tainted.

I hate the shaming and the infighting. I hate that all of those hates acts as an obscuring mist between me and those who really deserve my hatred. I hate how women’s actions, her clothes, everything is always questioned when it is the dudes who need to change.

At some level I hate myself, I hate other women. It isn’t so surprising given that I’ve grown up in a culture where femaleness itself is a deformity.

I hate how very good I am at hating.



  1. I hate that there is a bunch of white, middle-class, able bodied women that buy into beauty who can afford not to.

    Can you really say who can afford not to buy into these beauty standards, or not, though? For so many women, it may be a matter of keeping their job, or simply getting through the day at work without being harrassed, or avoiding harrassment from male partners (which isn’t recognised as abuse). Or, it may just be that they’ve internalised patriarchal voices so well that they don’t need abusive partners or colleagues– it’s just so deeply ingrained that they don’t even see it.

    Mind you, I am not saying that we shouldn’t try to raise awareness of these things. I’ve taken my share of flack for suggesting that things like body-hair removal are things done primarily for patriarchal culture, rather than “for ourselves” (that old myth suggesting that all women’s actions take place in a vacuum). I’m not saying we should say “but it’s a CHOICE” and leave it at that– but I would suggest that it’s not productive to judge other women based on the extent to which they engage in beauty rituals. I’ve found it’s far more productive to simply examine the underlying assumptions behind those rituals.

    And Hellon, regardless of what I personally do with my body hair (sometimes I get rid of it, and sometimes I don’t), I promise I will NEVER disavow you as a feminist. You can only make other feminists proud.

  2. I both love and hate that, now that I’m older, it doesn’t matter any more. I don’t colour my hair, I don’t wear make-up, I don’t depilate. But it’s no longer a statement about my rejection of conventional femininity. I have become pretty much invisible, to many men and also to many young women. And I hate that. I hate that my life and my experiences have stopped counting for anything. I love the reduction in the pressure on me to buy into commercial beauty standards, but it has happened for the wrong reasons. The mindfuck continues, but I am no longer considered fuckable. I hate that the battle continues, but I love that it does so fought by women like you.

  3. I guess my point of view is that my body is mine, and not up for grabs by anyone, alll genders included.

    I like wearing make-up. I also like men. I also like getting my own way in whatever I decide to do with my life, body and mind.

    I’m sad that this always seems to have to include my being slut-shamed by other women because I don’t fit in to their views of what a feminist should act like or look like, whether it’s being too girly on one side or too intense on the other.

    It just seems so damn pointless!

    Interesting post 🙂

  4. Thanks Moominmama. It is an honor to fight next to you.

    Froufrou, I hear what you’re saying, especially about being too intense, I get that a lot. Also the slut-shaming is just. not. ok.

    Beppie, good point. I guess I just get so frustrated when powerful women buy in beauty, because it means less powerul women have to as well. Then you wonder how those women became powerful in the first place and it all goes into pretzels. Gah. Thanks Beppie, you brightened up my day.

  5. I hate it that you’re right.


  6. Well, you know, we all do some of these things and not others. Twisty wrote a post with a good analogy a while ago – buying into the patriarchy, e.g. with heels, makeup and skirts galore, is like environmental damage – you can recycle and ride your bike and never buy anything with plastic packaging, but you probably still work in a building that uses old-style light globes, has a really inefficient aircon system, and buy coffee that was grown using pesticides. It’s impossible to get your environmental, or patriarchal footprint down to zero.

    The best you can do is examine everything and encourage other people to examine it too. You might look at someone like me and, although I’m not a stunner, think I easily fit your description. I do shave (just don’t like my dark hair). Sometimes I wear heels and makeup and skirts. I’m straight and I like to look pretty. I can’t help being thin.

    BUT I *rarely* wear heels or makeup or skirts to work, or around the house. I don’t dye my hair (I haven’t ever). Being thin means I don’t have requisite patriarchy-approved big boobs and I feel the pressure of that, even though I don’t want them. I don’t even dye my faint little moustache! I usually call people on their use of ‘bitch’ or ‘lady’ (yes, lady, it’s been bugging me since I was 15). I get grumpy with the tv and the radio and movies in particular about the way women are portrayed. I want everyone, female and male and intersex, fat and thin and straight and gay and every other bit of the spectrum, young and old, Aboriginal, Indian, Anglo, able or disabled, to work together. This is what a feminist looks like.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: