My Gain, Your Loss: Hair Removal, Feminism, and Interdependence

Ideologues who lacks compassion for half of humanity will not secure freedom for anyone.

I spent a little too long on the internet today.  I was on a mission to find out the thoughts women and men had on hair removal, specifically women removing hair from places that men don’t usually remove it from (i.e. underarms, legs).  What I thought would be a history lesson along with some useful statistics turned into hours of achy-backed, red-eyed, horror-stricken internet browsing as I saw just how verbally violent commentators on all sides of not only this issue, but feminism-related discourse in general, were willing to get.

First there were the celebrity gossip pages.  While I was pretty surprised at Julia Roberts going au naturale, I wasn’t really very shocked at the words “blunder”, “style sin”, and “wooly mammoth” being used to describe celebrities with armpit hair.  My favourite articles were one that listed celebrities who “forgot” to shave their armpits and another which ended by saying “But, don’t worry, it’s okay.  Everyone runs out of razors once in a while. Even celebrities!”  As if anyone would ever do that on purpose.  This didn’t shock me because celebrities uphold the status quo.  The status quo is part of our current culture and that culture has certain beauty standards.  Those standards include hair removal.  To avoid hair removal is to deviate from the current norm.  Regardless of how it should, could, or would be, that is the truth.

The part that did shock me, however, was that the very people at the head of the fight against such standards, the powerhouse behind female liberation, the feminists, came off just as aggressive.  One article author, whom I’ll keep anonymous, proudly mentioned her lack of hair removal rituals before saying how “annoying” it was when men replied to women’s discussions of hair removal with claims of how “it’s hard for them too.”  She said she didn’t want to even waste any breath responding to such “nonsense.”  Despite the reality that there are, in fact, media pressures on men to remove hair regularly from not only their faces, but now their chests, backs, and private parts, this woman didn’t believe men’s feelings deserved discussion.

And she isn’t the only one.  Dozens, hundreds, thousands of comments from feminist publications make scoffing, derisive, and dismissive comments towards men who post replies. While I’m sure, once in a while, there are men who say aggressive things, these men’s comments are not anywhere in sight. The comments that are left up are usually full of validation and then sharing, something that says “That’s really hard to deal with, I agree.  Here’s what it’s like from a guy’s perspective … ”  These comments are left up and then bashed by dozens of women.

I realize I’m launching myself straight into the jaws of the big, bad controversy and siding with the likes of Suzanne Venker (“War on Men”) and Naomi Wolf (“Vagina”) who have been bashed by feminists all over the world for their claims about female-male relationships.  I’d still like to try and be a feminist, i.e. an advocate for women, as well as an advocate for men without being labelled a loony, old bag.

Stephen Covey, in 7 Habits of Effective People, describes three levels of relationship maturity:

  1. Dependent: The paradigm of “you.”  Dependent people need others to get their needs met and blame others when those needs are not met.
  2. Independent: The paradigm of “I.” Independent people use their own efforts and resources to get what they want and take responsibility for their actions and choices.
  3. Interdependent: The paradigm of “we.” Interdependent people work together, combine their strengths, and supplement each others’ weaknesses to create great things and reach new heights.

There is no shortage of current literature encouraging independence, but we live in an interdependent society where we have to work together to get things done in our personal and work relationships.  Covey says that we move through these three stages in order, needing to be independent before we reach interdependence, and that interdependence is the highest level.  It allows us to achieve more than we ever could alone.

The way I see it, feminism is responding to the changing maturity of female-male relationships. We’ve surpassed the point where we need men to marry us and earn money so that we can survive. We’ve surpassed that point where blamed all our failures as women to thrive in society on patriarchal pressures. Now, we’re in the era of independence.  The independent woman reigns.  The independent woman can make her own money, raise her kids alone, drive her own car, and pay her own bills.  The independent woman is equipped with her trusty vibrator, group of friends, and cell phone for no-strings-attached hookups.  This is progress from where we were 40 years ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best we can do.

A lot of the time, whenever someone speaks out for the possibility that men could be harmed by the rather casually unintentional aggressiveness of feminism, the retort is something like “And what do you suggest, we start cooking and cleaning for them again?  We lie down and give up our rights to voting, abortion, and equal pay? You must be joking.” I agree.  That would be a joke.  Reverting to the dependence stage after independence would be ridiculous.  But what about interdependence?  What about working together?

Unless men and women are going to stop engaging in any sort of interactions and that includes sex, civil union, and child-raising, there will come points when we need to work together.  At those points, we can remain “I” and “I” or work to become a “we.”  The difference, of course, is that “I” can only fight for “me” and likely against “you.”  “We” can fight for “us.”   It reminds me of a Swedish proverb I absolutely love: “Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

 

This was previously published on Authentunity.

Read more on Body Image on The Good Life.

Image credit: istolethetv/Flickr

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Comments


  1. A lot of the time, whenever someone speaks out for the possibility that men could be harmed by the rather casually unintentional aggressiveness of feminism, the retort is something like “And what do you suggest, we start cooking and cleaning for them again? We lie down and give up our rights to voting, abortion, and equal pay? You must be joking.” I agree. That would be a joke. Reverting to the dependence stage after independence would be ridiculous. But what about interdependence? What about working together?

    Here’s the thing though. That reaction is at best an over the top reaction verging on hyperbole of a valid question or at worst an appeal to emotion in hopes of evading the question by just saying, “women have it worse so fuck men!”.

    There’s more than enough feminists out there that think that their movement is absolutely perfect and no harm has ever been done to men in it’s name.


    A lot of the time, whenever someone speaks out for the possibility that men could be harmed by the rather casually unintentional aggressiveness of feminism, the retort is something like “And what do you suggest, we start cooking and cleaning for them again? We lie down and give up our rights to voting, abortion, and equal pay? You must be joking.” I agree. That would be a joke. Reverting to the dependence stage after independence would be ridiculous. But what about interdependence? What about working together?

    Here’s the thing though. That reaction is at best an over the top reaction verging on hyperbole of a valid question or at worst an appeal to emotion in hopes of evading the question by just saying, “women have it worse so fuck men!”.

    There’s more than enough feminists out there that think that their movement is absolutely perfect and no harm has ever been done to men in it’s name.

    But anyway. There is something that bothers me about the feminists that you talk about in this post.

    One article author, whom I’ll keep anonymous, proudly mentioned her lack of hair removal rituals before saying how “annoying” it was when men replied to women’s discussions of hair removal with claims of how “it’s hard for them too.” She said she didn’t want to even waste any breath responding to such “nonsense.”
    I wonder. Before said men replied about how hard hair removal was for men was there any sort of statement about how it wasn’t hard for men or that men had it easy when it came to hair removal? The reason I ask is because there seems to be something missing. A glaring, and often times intentional, omission.

    A lot of feminists love to go on about how men rush into women’s spaces with such “nonsense”, “derailing”, and of course “mansplaining”. What they like to leave out is the fact that they made some statement or declaration and those guys that rush in aren’t trying to put women down or silence women but are actually challenging some nonsense that was said in the first place.

    But anyway. There is something that bothers me about the types of feminists that you talk about in this post.

    One article author, whom I’ll keep anonymous, proudly mentioned her lack of hair removal rituals before saying how “annoying” it was when men replied to women’s discussions of hair removal with claims of how “it’s hard for them too.” She said she didn’t want to even waste any breath responding to such “nonsense.”

    I wonder. Before said men replied about how hard hair removal was for men was there any sort of statement about how it wasn’t hard for men or that men had it easy when it came to hair removal? The reason I ask is because there seems to be something missing. A glaring, and often times intentional, omission.

    A lot of feminists love to go on about how men rush into women’s spaces with such “nonsense”, “derailing”, and of course “mansplaining”. Well yes that does happen sometimes but what they like to leave out is the fact that they made some statement or declaration and those guys that rush in aren’t trying to put women down or silence women but are actually challenging some nonsense that was said in the first place. (For example declaring that there is no such thing as female privilege but then after getting shown its existence they go on to complaining about how they were “attacked”.)

    • Hit submit too soon.


      At those points, we can remain “I” and “I” or work to become a “we.” The difference, of course, is that “I” can only fight for “me” and likely against “you.” “We” can fight for “us.” It reminds me of a Swedish proverb I absolutely love: “Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

      I think the reason it’s so hard to become “we” is because the “me”s and “I”s are arguing over whose fault it is that they have not formed the “we” yet. As in “It’s YOUR fault that we aren’t making progress.”, “It’s YOUR fault that there are forces that harm us.” “YOU are the one that is keeping us from forming a ‘we’.”

      I like the proverb you mention. To relate what I just said to it it seems we are at a point where it’s more important to blame someone for the sorrow than to work on resolving the sorrow.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      “A lot of feminists love to go on about how men rush into women’s spaces with such “nonsense”, “derailing”, and of course “mansplaining”. What they like to leave out is the fact that they made some statement or declaration and those guys that rush in aren’t trying to put women down or silence women but are actually challenging some nonsense that was said in the first place.”

      Yes I agree, I dare to say all the intervention from men on women site is to correct the often nonsense typed in those places (and viceversa women in mens spaces). Who if not a man has the first hand knowledge on how it is to be a man and all the relative consequences? Instead doing some real inquiry and try to see it from both sides, somebody push for some academic nonsense crapola of a explanation. That in the end leave more confusion than clarification. The lack of willingness to understand both sides is also a testimony of the lack of interest in fixing the problems that society suffers.

      • Mr Supertypo says:

        I forgot to add, but this is not unique to feminism. Is actually a general behavior from all political and religious groups and orgs. It is easier to antagonize somebody and organize to fight a abstract enemy (patriarchy, capitalism, satan, sin ect) rather than look inside first and then the world around and finding some real solutions.

        This also leads me to somewhere else. The meme that women prefer to talk about a problem, while men prefer to fix a problem. I dont know how much truth is in this stereotype. But if real that may explain to a certan extent all the misunderstandings that happens in women spaces? I dont know, just thinking.

  2. AnonymousDog says:

    I’m in my 50s and it still amazes me how much political significance people attach to hair and hair length, whether on one’s head or anywhere else. I thought this was all moot forty years ago.

  3. “This is progress from where we were 40 years ago”

    Happiness studies show women are significantly LESS happy now than 40 years ago.

    “casually unintentional aggressiveness of feminism”

    Feminists have intentionally tried to make women as angry at men as possible and haven`t even tried to hide it.

  4. I just looked at your website and saw your interest in authenticity and autehntic interaction. You might find these interesting:

    http://www.authenticmanprogram.com/

    http://www.authenticwomanexperience.com/

  5. “A lot of the time, whenever someone speaks out for the possibility that men could be harmed by the rather casually unintentional aggressiveness of feminism, the retort is something like “And what do you suggest, we start cooking and cleaning for them again? We lie down and give up our rights to voting, abortion, and equal pay? You must be joking.””

    There are a lot of things wrong with “feminism”, this one in particular is annoying. Feminists seem to believe that criticizing feminism, or even a particular feminist, means you must disagree with absolutely everything about feminism. The same way religious fundamentalist wackjobs love to shout that if you don’t believe in God then you must also think murder and theft is okay — cause the bible says don’t steal or kill, and you don’t believe in the bible!

    I think I’ve had a similar experience to a lot of men, who got interested in gender issues and wanted a place to talk about them – both to listen and to share my perspective. What I found was that the only people talking about gender issues were feminists, and me sharing my perspective was “talking over them” and if I offered any explanations other than “men are stupid and evil”, I was “mansplaining”.

    Which is why I’m thankful for GMP. It’s nice to have a place to discuss gender issues without a feminist lens putting men in the worst possible light.

  6. Independence involves differentiating oneself from others, so that you are no longer materially or emotionally dependent upon or reactive to them. It involves recognizing that ‘I’ am distinct from ‘you’ and that neither represents an all-controlling perspective on the world. It involves owning one’s own agency and taking responsibility for oneself, one’s emotions, one’s reactions, one’s behaviours, and one’s destiny. It involves distinguishing oneself from and practicing receptivity to a realm that is other to oneself and to the voices that speak from such a realm. It involves recognizing that it isn’t all about you.

    I would question whether much of the feminism that I encounter online has truly attained to the level of the ‘I’ and of independence. So much of the feminism that I encounter has some or all of the following characteristics:

    1. Emotional reactivity. It is very hard to raise respectful disagreement in many feminist contexts without meeting with anger and emotional meltdowns. However, heaven help the person who would point this out – they will be accused of gas-lighting and cynical use of the (ridiculous) stereotype of women as emotional creatures, incapable of rational discourse. Emotional reactivity and the inability to handle challenging perspectives is far too characteristic of the ‘ladyblogs’ out there. As one woman I read over the summer lamented, a genuine exchange of fundamental viewpoints has ‘curdled into BFF-ship’ where a stifling intimacy leads to the demonization of any contrary voices and a kneejerk hostility to anything that might unsettle the cosiness of the established dogma of the echo chamber.

    2. Narcissistic views of the world. The possibility that not everything is about women and their oppression, but that many of the things examined in such terms have far more logical and compelling explanations from other perspectives, is never really entertained. The feminist perspective becomes all-controlling for many, in a way that blinds them to the way that we live in a world shaped by innumerable forces, many of which are utterly indifferent to our discourses on equality and favour certain parties over others in particular contexts.

    3. An inability to recognize the importance and place of different points of view. The emotional reactivity and narcissism contribute to a dismissal of other perspectives from outside of a totalizing feminism. The idea that men and many women might have perspectives for which feminism doesn’t account is not entertained, and little space is created where feminist discourse admits its need to listen to others.

    4. An overdependence upon conspiracy theories and victim narratives. ‘Patriarchy’ all too often functions as a conspiracy theory and victim narrative, which places the blame so firmly and consistently at the door of men or of other parties that women are discouraged from taking the sort of true responsibility and ownership of their agency that is characteristic of independence. Being trained to go through life blaming everything that goes against you upon a stacked system or oppression (even where such things exist) tends to produce passivity and resentment, rather than firm and responsible agency.

    5. Bitterness and resentment towards men. While this is understandable in many cases, to the extent that such emotions dominate someone, they are incapable of being independent, but are determined by the party that they resent and are bitter towards.

    6. Entitlement. The expectation that women should get special treatment, a privileged place and unchallenged voice in every conversation, and protections and attention that few men ever receive. Inequalities that disadvantage women must be responded to with outrage, and addressed with overwhelming moral force, in a way that typically involves the stigmatization of males, and does not admit the possibility that such an inequality will naturally arise on a fair playing field. Inequalities that disadvantage men, when they are responded to, are all too frequently responded to in an inconsistent and hypocritical manner that blames or ridicules men, suggests women’s superiority, trivializes or denies the issues, or excuses the matter by claiming that the playing field is fair (which it often is – the hypocrisy and inconsistency is the real issue here).

    7. Dependency tactics. Rather too much of feminism is characterized by demanding things of historically patriarchal agencies. Whether this is the extension of government and welfare to provide for and protect the interests of women, the accumulation of equality policies and legislation that change the playing field to make things easier for women, unilateral expectations of businesses, institutions, and men in general to do things for women – things that were never done for men – women’s activism has tended to become far more associated with vocal and demanding dependence upon and lobbying of higher agencies, rather than women going out and pioneering their own businesses, institutions, structures, and agencies. There seems to be a dearth of genuine independence, entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, agentic and pioneering willpower, responsible and self-confident agency, and inventive genius.

    I do not mean to suggest that all of feminism fits my description above. It really doesn’t. However, far too much does and, to the extent that it does, it isn’t independent at all. It is more akin to the angry and resentful teenager, who rails against her parents, rebelling and insisting on her independence, while emotionally fixated upon them. The teenager wants – indeed, demands – the perks of dependency without its limitations and the benefits of independence without its responsibilities. The teenager acts and thinks as if the entire world revolved around her and lacks the capacity to see herself as others see her or truly to attend to their points of view.

    It would be great to hear more from truly independent women within the context of feminism. There are plenty of them around, but one suspects that they have better things to do. In my experience, even where firm differences of perspectives remain, independent people are open to the sort of genuine discourse that can lead to a healthy interdependence. They aren’t so invested in blaming you and are concerned to form a responsible discourse and agency. They recognize the distinctness of your point of view, are not emotionally threatened by its existence, and have the self-confidence to engage in honest and challenging dialogue (and such perspectives as the one I gave above need counterbalancing perspectives: it is only one side of a larger picture), rather than just closing you down. They seek to stand on their own two feet and won’t seek to blame you for all of their failures or demand that you ensure their success.

    Unlike a child, who tends first to idolize and then risks demonizing their parents during a rebellious adolescence, such independent and emotionally mature women can recognize men’s strengths and weaknesses, their flaws and their particular capacities. They don’t resent, hate, or fear men, but nor are they emotionally dependent or reliant upon them.

    Unfortunately, such discourses all too often attract immature and resentful people on all sides, leading to situations where little progress will ever be made.

    • Alastair, you have just enumerated every issue that I, an independent, forward-thinking woman, have with modern day feminism. We have all been victims of circumstance at some point in life — both men and women.

      I have little tolerance for any ideology that encourages women to stay that way by choice.

  7. AdelaideRozaMarie says:

    The feminist movement is very diverse and there will be many who try to pass off hate speech as feminist literature. There are always going to be extreme hateful fundamentalist that attach themselves to a movement to justify the persecution of a group of people. While women suffer of gender-based violence (1 in 3 women are victim to gender-based violence) men also suffer from gender-based issues. e.g. stereotypes and a growing pressure to submit to fashion (which has historically been a feminine issue). there are always going to be ignorant people that neglect men e.g saying that rape is a hate crime against women is ignoring the many men who are also victim to the same type of violent crime. I myself, identify as a feminist but that does not mean that I blindly agree with everything anyone does in the name of feminism. There are many feminists who are not just pro-women or anti-man, there are some who are just plainly interested in creating a more harmonious humankind.

    • …men also suffer from gender-based issues. e.g. stereotypes and a growing pressure to submit to fashion (which has historically been a feminine issue)…

      Men, herstory says fashion was historically feminine. That isnt accurate, clothes and fashion were a unisex marker of status, a statement of yr character, and were also a store of wealth.
      Poorer people kept up with fashion but were sometimes behind the fashion, as clothes being a store of wealth were reused, retailored and eventually sent to usedclothing traders (a good number of whom were women)
      Peasants in 14th ce england wore cloth that only slightly less expensive than cloth worn by gentry, according to this book p25 to 28 http://bit.ly/U855Tk

      In the euro middle ages and early modern period there were numerous male sumptuary laws (allowed clothing according to status) that constantly failed. The laws were also inplace to stop men (and women when laws concerned them) from bankrupting themselves tryin to keep up with fashion. Men constantly tried to emulate the wealthier aristocrats.
      http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-clothing-laws-men.htm
      http://bit.ly/RXq3Hv

      Aristocratic lavishness in dress prompted emulation in lower orders of society: this was met both by a rash of sumptuary laws — seven Parliamentary statutes and ten proclamations of the Privy Council were issued between 1463 and 1600 defining what members of each class were permitted to wear (Hayward 2009) — and also by a determined attempt on the part of the aristocracy to preserve proper differentials by becoming ever more gorgeous themselves. Buckingham Justices of the Peace found it necessary to prohibit even husbandmen from wearing ‘Jagged nor Cutte’ garments (Berger 1993: 29). The preacher William Perkins complained that ‘wanton and excessive apparel…maketh a confusion of such degrees and callings as God hath ordained’ (quoted in Barish 1981: 92). As each fashion was imitated in turn, the process spiralled out of control. The development of relatively low-budget gorgeousness, for example by the enterprising weavers of Norwich, who developed fashionable textiles in the later sixteenth century — basically woollen stuffs with a little silk in the weft to give them a higher lustre, spirited imitations of the luxury silks of Italy and Lyons — forced the aristocracy into ever greater extravagance (Priestly 1990).
      http://www.northernrenaissance.org/articles/Texts-and-Textiles-SelfPresentation-among-the-Elite-in-Renaissance-EnglandbrJane-Stevenson/31

      If you look at the history of western clothing before 1920, women mostly wear a long unbifurcated garment, and men wear everything else – that is now magically considered ttttotaly feminine, hmmm.
      Eversince the increasing drabness* from 1850ish onwards, tyranny of fashion has affected men more than women. While women’s clothing is still affected in overt ways. Mens fashion is affected in subtler ways – eg. one strip or two on the dismal lapel . And, in one major way – Woe be tide a man who dares don the clothes of his masculine warrior ancestors http://bit.ly/RXq4eA Charioteer of Motya 480-450 BC

      When hetero crossdressers ask on transvestite forums of the likelyhood of finding a woman partner – they are consoled as they are told the truth. No problem for a bi man like me – men are openminded.
      Last week a young woman approx 30yo stopped me, and was effusive in praise about my wearing a gypsyskirt. We got talking eventually i asked her if she would be happy for her male partner to wear ‘feminine clothing’ . Long pause, glazed eyes, reticence paraphrased ‘if i liked the person id accept it but i wouldnt him wearing court shoes etc’. So i tried an easier question, i had already shown her james bond in groinlength/shortshorts http://bit.ly/Tw4sD6 and talked about how i was the last generation of men (im 37)to be wear them.

      How it was created by men, was masculine, the larger the thighs in the shorts the more masculine a man was. How clothes went baggy in the late80s and thats why we stopped wearing them, while (strangely on reflection) women continued to. How in just 10yrs of men not wearing them, they were seen as inherently feminine.
      What happened – Long pause, glazed eyes, reticence paraphrased ‘if i liked him as a person, id accept them on him’. Well we are men, we know the truth. And you guys should sleep with those elephantleg, tight crotched trousers you seem to love so. Otherwise one day youll just have a loincloth alone left, as manly wear

      *
      And this is one of the reasons:
      As everyone could afford to look good, soberness in dress became a classmarker

      Etiquette: Or, A Guide to the Usages of Society, with a Glance at Bad Habits …
      By Charles William Day, Alfred Guillaume Gabriel Orsay (comte d’) 1843
      He was a major dandy, male beauty(check his face, http://bit.ly/Toqitu
      to see what was considered manly), brave soldier,aristo, artist, man of society thoughts:

      p23 http://bit.ly/YsxbbO
      DRESS It is bad taste to dress in the extreme of fashion and in general those only do so who have no other claim to distinction leave it in these times to shopmen and pickpockets There are certain occasions however when you may dress as gayly as you please observing the maxim of the ancient poet to be great on great occasions Men often think when they wear a fashionably cut coat an embroidered waistcoat with a profusion of chains and other trinkets that they are well dressed entirely overlooking the less obtrusive but more certain marks of a refined taste
      [..]
      This is the age of mosaic gold and other trash and by dint of swindling any one may become flashy at a small expense Recollect that every shop boy can coarsely imitate your outward and visible sign if he choose to save his money for that purpose If you will stand out in high and bold relief endeavor to become eminent for some virtue or talent that people may say There goes the celebrated not the notorious Mr So and so

      • AdelaideRozaMarie says:

        well that escalated fast. I apologize. I was too broad, I did mean in relation to hair removal. I shall be very careful to specify the meaning of every word I write now. I have noticed a change in trend towards hair removal in my generation, I see MANY men waxing legs, chests, underarms and many other hairy places (facial hair is still stayed somewhat in style, as long as it is not overgrown, although moustaches have been a HUGE trend I have yet to see any one with a moustache it is more stickers and tattoos and decorations which is odd, but anyhow). Apologies for a lack of specification. On a side note your fashion knowledge is fabulous.


        • well that escalated fast. I apologize. I was too broad, I did mean in relation to hair removal. I shall be very careful to specify the meaning of every word I write now.

          hey no worries, as youve clarified you were talking just about hair removal (your post makes more sense now i understand which lens you were looking through).
          Dont worry about being ‘very careful’, whether feminist or not most are pretty laidback here. well i think so.

          On a side note your fashion knowledge is fabulous.
          thanks, it was part of my reading over the last 3 or 4 yrs to learn why men today wear ‘animal skins’ as ‘mike’ so memorably remarked

        • this went into the m zone, my last post spent 16hours in there. so hopefully this version gets posted

          –well that escalated fast. I apologize. I was too broad, I did mean in relation to hair removal. I shall be very careful to specify the meaning of every word I write now.–

          hey no worries, as youve clarified you were talking just about hair removal (your post makes more sense now i understand which lens you were looking through).
          Dont worry about being ‘very careful’, whether fe,mi,nnnist(altered to avoid the m zone) or not most are pretty laidback here. well i think so.

          –On a side note your fashion knowledge is fabulous–
          thanks, it was part of my reading over the last 3 or 4 yrs to learn why men today wear ‘animal skins’ as ‘mike’ so memorably remarked

        • this went into the m zone, my last post spent 16hours in there.

          -well that escalated fast. I apologize. I was too broad, I did mean in relation to hair removal. I shall be very careful to specify the meaning of every word I write now.-

          hey no worries, as youve clarified you were talking just about hair removal (your post makes more sense now i understand which lens you were looking through).
          Dont worry about being ‘very careful’, whether f-nist or not most are pretty laidback here. well i think so.

          -On a side note your fashion knowledge is fabulous-
          thanks, it was part of my reading over the last 3 or 4 yrs to learn why men today wear ‘animal skins’ as ‘mike’ so memorably remarked

    • Statements like “The feminist movement is diverse,” “feminism is a big umbrella,” there are different waves and streams of feminism,” etc are cliched and have no value whatsoever.The goals and policies of any organized movement are determined by its prominent leaders and leading organization and not by any lay person who claims to be a member of the movement. If the feminists in academia have included the hate speech in feminist literature then it is feminist literature and represents their own views. Trying to put yourself as an example of virtuous feminist would cut no ice since you do not represent anything except yourself.

      • AdelaideRozaMarie says:

        Like any movement there are many branches of the same tree. For example; Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Both for and apart of the civil rights movement but using VERY different methods and moving in slightly (*understatement*) different directions.
        The connection ALL (true) feminists have is their belief that women have the same worth/ should have the same legal status as their male counterparts. You will have Christian feminists who have very different views then a secular feminist (Pro-life vs. Pro choice. Abstinence vs. Sexual liberation. etc…) but they have at least one overlapping belief. What I was getting at was that not all feminists hate men or are angry bitter people (not all feminists are women)

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      Frankly Adelaide, thats a good quality you have. The ability to use the brain despite the cultural and political conflicting message is a laudable thing. Actually thats the real independence.

      My personal opinion is there is nothing wrong in feminism per se, as a personal philosophy. But the real enemy of feminism is not the patriarchy. But the political and academic arm of feminism. If you pay attention people blame on feminism the various policy that has been done in the course of years that goes to benefit exclusively women or the politicization of womens issues. I know, everybody knows, that women suffer from gender related problems, the problem is that often these problems are uniquely related to women while in reality they are not: ie rape and dv shelters. These are humanitarian issues and not exclusively unique to the female gender.
      It is not possible to distinguish the personal with the political (one of feminist teaching is actually the personal is political) so general is assumed if somebody takes the label feminist they also subscribe to the political arm who in fact has caused lot of damage to both men and women. And no focusing on the good thing (ie right to vote ect) should not be used to delete or ignore the criticism.

      Anyhow dont take this as a personal criticism, just a clarification. Keep up the good work.

    • Adelaide: ” While women suffer of gender-based violence (1 in 3 women are victim to gender-based violence)”

      According to the latest CDC stats, there is a significant percentage of male victims who have been subjected to sexual abuse. Plus the 1 in 3 stats have been disputed.

      Adelaide: “men also suffer from gender-based issues. e.g. stereotypes and a growing pressure to submit to fashion (which has historically been a feminine issue).”

      And this is what frustrates me about certain strands of feminist thought as well. The fact that you believe women suffer from gender based violence while men merely suffer from gender based issues. You forget that men also suffer from gender-based violence and abuse as well, particularly from female perpetrators. There’s also the issue of bullying from girls towards boys that does exist, whether you want to call it an anamoly or not (frankly, I could give a rat’s rear end about semantics). Where girls can hit or insult boys and get away with it thanks to tropes like “Boys don’t hit girls” and policing the response from boys towards their female aggressors.

      Yet, you continue to focus energy on issues like getting men to cry, express their emotions, and the color of easy-bake ovens. In response to the first two, men already are expressing their emotions and crying. But if they don’t express themselves in a feminist-approved way, they’re told to “Check their privledge” or “Quit Mansplaining!”.

      And the color of easy-bake ovens? Seriously? We have boys and men out there who have hardly anywhere to turn to in terms of actual supports for their situations. How exactly is making easy-bake ovens gender neutral going to help those boys or men who are traumatized by violence and sexual abuse from female perpetrators? And how is addressing the pressure to submit to fashion going to help either?

      Even when these issues are addressed, the hive mind of gynocentric feminists springs to action and shouts that focus on them will take away from women’s rights.

      Adelaide: “I myself, identify as a feminist but that does not mean that I blindly agree with everything anyone does in the name of feminism. There are many feminists who are not just pro-women or anti-man, there are some who are just plainly interested in creating a more harmonious humankind.”

      Then why say women suffering from gender based violence and men suffer from gender based issues? If you’re for equality, you’d also believe men suffer from gender-based violence as well.

      • AdelaideRozaMarie says:

        Im sorry for using the wrong word. Of course I recognise sexual and domestic abuse happens to people not belonging to the female gender, it is an ISSUE (violence is an issue, I thought so anyway) ! I didn’t know that equality meant I had to use the exact same wording twice. I was only giving examples. Fashion is an issue, I work as a personal assistant at a kids salon, I have seen many a child traumatized by the experience, mainly boys. They have their beautiful long hair that they love, their mothers bring them in to shave all of their hair off saying it is time for them to look like a “proper boy” to get their hair cut “like daddy’s”. They cry and say that they like their long hair (I have seen kids come in and cry because they are scared of the sound the clippers make and this is NOT the reason these boy are so upset, once the kids realize it isn’t hurting them they are fine but with these boys they cry even more because their lovely locks are going away) it is disgusting. If this was a little girl it would count as abuse or something ( a stretch I know but you get the point, the parents would be labelled “bad” )
        I do apologize for not putting the statistics in for abuse against men, it is one in six, isn’t it ? unless there has been a more recent report.

        • Adelaide: “I didn’t know that equality meant I had to use the exact same wording twice.”

          When you identify as a feminist for equality and yet only give ONE example slanted towards women’s issues, then it’s neccessary. There are feminists out there who claim to be for equality but only advocate women’s issues. Nothing wrong with advocating for women’s issues, but don’t call yourself for equality between both sexes when your brand goes only one way.

          Equality means for both sexes, not just women. Ergo, better you identify yourself as for women’s and men’s issues if you are for equality.

          Adelaide: “Fashion is an issue, I work as a personal assistant at a kids salon, I have seen many a child traumatized by the experience, mainly boys. They have their beautiful long hair that they love, their mothers bring them in to shave all of their hair off saying it is time for them to look like a “proper boy” to get their hair cut “like daddy’s”. They cry and say that they like their long hair”

          At least you recognize mothers as being part of the problem, not just dads. That’s a step in the right direction.

          However, how does this help boys bullied by girls or abused by girls/women?

          • AdelaideRozaMarie says:

            Alright, comment taken on board.
            I do identify as for issues non-specific to the female gender, which was the point i was trying to get across. Just because i am a feminist doesn’t mean i am not as equally supportive/interested/concerned about issues (including sexual, emotional and every other kind of abuse) that face people of ALL genders.
            The reason i made a comment about the salon was not because i thought it the most important issue under the sun, i made the comment as an example of why fashion/expectations of the physical appearance is an issue. Of course there are many other issues of more importance, like abuse, that effects people across the boarders of gender.
            I think i understand your frustration. abuse (of all kinds) against men/boys by girls/women is not, unfortunately, reported (nor is a majority of abuse crimes regardless of gender but there is more social pressure for a male to be “tough” and have “control”) and sometimes, more unfortunately, laughed at because of a “role-reversal” of “aggressor” and “victim” (just to clarify, this is not my belief but more a general statement of expectations/judgements peddled by media/cultural background)

  8. Would somebody bring my comment I made earlier back please? This is getting ridiculous.

  9. Iam a feminist, and I dont shave !! I think my armpits look sexier with a bit of hair in it, Life has show me that I live better when I please myself and non shaving my armpits or my legs or my pussy, really pleases me. If some men get annoy by it, thats on them, Im not here to be liked, Im here to like myself and I definitely like myself. Now MEN need to learn to ACCEPT US JUST THE WAY WE ARE instead of trying to change us for their pleasures, WE WOMEN ARE WHO WE ARE, we have hair in our bodies, we dont like to be grab by our partnerts, we dont want to take responsability for a man happiness and sense of well being, WE CAN ONLY TAKE RESPONSABILITY 4 OUR OWN HAPPINESS N SENSE OF WELL BEING, we like MEN WHO CARE. Its up to men to learn to be caring and responsable and not to blame women for their feelings and if they do, they wont be listen, they need to learn to deal with themselves. I DONT SHAVE AND IF U DONT LIKE, IT THATS ON U.

    • More power to you. One just hopes that you celebrate men with really hairy backs and chests, furry feet and arms, and lengthy beards just as vocally! ;-)

  10. Thank you everyone for your comments. I feel like the discourse here has, ironically enough, steered in the same direction as the bloggers I refer to in the article but with a different target. In order for us to be able to talk openly about the rights and relationships of men and women, we need to be open to what others have to say. Just as the feminists I mention in the article are not listening, those who are dismissing feminists based on their lack of listening or any other behaviours are also not listening.

    Communication is, always, a two-way street. To put anyone down based on what they are saying or doing is to shut down those communication lines.

    Let us accept that this is all happening. Let us accept that some women are very angry at men and refuse to hear their viewpoints. Let us also accept that some men are very angry at women and refuse to hear their viewpoints. Acceptance does not mean that this is the way it COULD be, SHOULD be, and (as I believe) WILL be. Acceptance simply means seeing that it IS, in fact, currently happening. Silence is everywhere. Hatred is everywhere. Blame and shame are everywhere. They are epidemics between us. This is how things currently are.

    If we want any better, we have to see what is currently happening and work TOGETHER, interdependently, to resolve these issues. That requires for there to be acceptance, validation, and compassion on both sides. Compassion for men. Compassion for women. Compassion for feminists.

    Let us all work together, come together for a brighter future for all of us.

  11. Author: “Just as the feminists I mention in the article are not listening, those who are dismissing feminists based on their lack of listening or any other behaviours are also not listening.”

    One who identified as a feminist here mentioned that women suffer from gender based violence and men suffer from gender based issues. That’s the equivilant of saying “There’s not such thing as male victims of violence or abuse. Only women can suffer from it.”

    Why should I listen to someone who dismisses what I went through in the past along with other men of similar circumstances?

    I’m tired of being told that I don’t matter.

    Author: “Communication is, always, a two-way street. To put anyone down based on what they are saying or doing is to shut down those communication lines.”

    So is trauma and negative experiences. To dismiss or minimize them based on semantics is equally reprehensible.

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences, Eagle. I feel for you. It’s really hard to have one’s experiences diminished. I think you’re so brave and authentic for continuing to speak openly about them! I support you in that 100%.

      One of my favourite quotes, that I’ve used in a previous article is:

      Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
      -Friedrich Nietzsche

      Essentially, you’re doing the right thing. You’re speaking about your experiences and, by doing that, are setting a wonderful example for people everywhere. I think there’s such beautiful strength in being an inspiration to other men to talk about their experiences. Such dignity in being honest despite angry backlashes from the general public.

      You ask why you should listen to someone who dismisses what you went through. I would never suggest for you to listen for the purpose of accepting their views and internalizing them. I would just suggest to not knock people down for their beliefs. They have them for a reason and, if those of us who believe something different can come together and spread our message, there’s a good chance that their beliefs will change. Let us seek to spread good in the world and have the bad fall away.

      • Vironika: “You ask why you should listen to someone who dismisses what you went through. I would never suggest for you to listen for the purpose of accepting their views and internalizing them. I would just suggest to not knock people down for their beliefs. They have them for a reason and, if those of us who believe something different can come together and spread our message, there’s a good chance that their beliefs will change. Let us seek to spread good in the world and have the bad fall away.”

        Recently, at work, I overheard a phone conversation between women talking about their husbands. One of them jokingly said “It’s true. Men are like children.”

        I was so enraged at that, my right hand balled into a fist and it took me effort to not insert myself into the conversation as a ticked off contrarian. I simply continued doing my work and left it at that. But felt really saddened afterwards.

        This is what I’m talking about: The kind of stuff that triggers me I have to live with twenty four seven! Because people forget, back in the dark ages of autism support (I’m autistic by the way), women were just as callous and uncaring as men were to us. I should know, because when I was first diagnosed, female caregivers treated me like complete garbage!

        But I have to endure this “Men are bad” crap all the time in the world. It takes gusto to not turn into the monster, as your Nietchz quote states.

        You talk about not knocking people for their belifes?

        There’s a fine line between belifes and descpicable ignorance that justifies erasing my pain in the public discourse! I will have NONE OF THAT! Especially from people who claim to “care”.

  12. This article is missing SO much….I can’t imagine what forums you’re reading where men ARE NOT the ones making the majority of the horribly violent and disgusting comments about women and hair removal….but, I guess since you won’t bother revealing the sources you observed, I guess I won’t bother believing your claims.

    Nonetheless, you didn’t come to any conclusions about hair, for which I am very disappointed, especially considering the misleading title of the piece. Instead, you went on a diatribe about how other feminists are big meanie-pants to men who voice legitimate concerns…and you do this by cherry picking unquoted “comments” from unquoted “sources”….and I somehow got the impression that you think you’re super awesome for “trying to be a feminist” and yet having a tiny bit of empathy for men’s concerns. All this wouldn’t bother me if this were a simple blog and not (supposedly) an article.

    I’d like to make up for what you left out. Since there is a lot, this will require time. I will grant you that men are pressured to remove hair, but it is still not to the degree that women are. I’m sorry, but no argument could even compare. Even men who shave the areas they are “expected” to don’t shave EVERYTHING. Most of them still leave their arms and legs hairy. Pick up any magazine or porn DVD scene to validate my claims.

    So, let’s be fair. Let’s not make it sound like men, because they’re removing some hair in some places, are equal with women in the matter. The truth is that if women have hair anywhere but their heads, they are commanded by society to remove it.

    Also that when a guy doesn’t remove his chest hair, there are also tons of comments from women about, “Oooo…finally, a guy with some chest hair!” You’d be hard pressed to find a man saying, “Ooo…finally, a girl with some armpit hair!” If you do find that anywhere besides some anonymous fetish website, please let me know.

    The disparity of the sexes in the situation should not mean that the men’s pressures get ignored, but there is a reason why they do: social justice triage. This is something most people do without even realizing it. To most people, if women have a problem that is severe, it deserves more attention than men having a mild case of the same problem. That shouldn’t mean the men’s side gets no attention or that it gets mocked right out of the emergency room, but it’s a reason that people think they are justified in dismissing it. It may not be right, but it’s something we all do.

    As for other feminists being big meanie pants, again an unsourced claim, I would guess it’s an unfortunate knee-jerk to reaction to the increasingly volume of threatening grunts from so-called “men’s rights” activists which are little more than extremely hostile misogynists with the luxury of internet anonymity. They can be found on places such as A Voice for Men, Boycott American Woman, and various “Pick Up Artist” pages. They are also not to be confused with people that are engaged in serious social issues for men.

    No, I don’t excuse the dismissal of real issues, assuming it’s being done in a respectful, logical way and when no one has been referred to as a “cunt” or “bitch” or “skank” etc. There are things in society that are not fair for men and are worth dialoguing about….rape against men, domestic violence against men, homophobia, child custody courts favoring women, and, in my opinion worst of all, society’s refusal to allow men to do or be anything associated with femininity (which is actually a subtle form of misogyny)….but sadly, those things are not what get discussed.

    Instead, you have these herpes sores on the ass crack of society saying that women (Western women in particular) are horrible, immoral, inept, sluts with overblown senses of entitlement who spend all their time riding the cock carousel of alpha males, thus ignoring and abusing beta-males and making society unfair and unpleasant for us all. The “evidence” for those statements is that most divorces are female initiated, that other countries where women aren’t allowed to have thoughts or opinions the divorce rates are lower, that women were “happier” when they were more oppressed (one shameful reader above even stated this as “evidence), that the majority of rape claims are lies perpetrated by vengeful bitches, that domestic violence claims are much the same, that beta males are selfless, generous, sacrificing men who are so giving to society, but get no recognition because evolutionary psychology attracts women to alpha males and women are so stupid and immoral they can’t help it, and that the cops, the courts and the media are at the behest of the evil gynocracy, so women always can, do, and will get away with these “crimes.”

    Ironically, the same men turn around and say that they should be allowed to cheat, fuck underage girls, refuse to pay child support or make any commitment to anything but themselves because it’s “in their evolutionary psychology” and they’re just “hard wired” that way…and that’s also why feminists “hate” science.

    Don’t believe me? Check out the sources I listed and read all the comments to this blog. It’s really cute watching these guys talk about the evil of feminists’ generalizations all the while making absurd generalizations about women and feminists. I’ve always wondered what life in the echo chamber was like….

    Anyway, those poor, self-hating, sexless, unfortunate beings are not an excuse for some “feminists'” purported reactions to legit claims about male social inequities, but I’m guessing the people who state such reactions lack empathy and therefore think that they do have an excuse. Similar to the “men’s rights” activists, the wheel that squeaks the loudest gets the oil. So, we turn our attention to a vocal MINORITY of so called “feminists” and so called “men’s rights” activists just because dicketry gains more notice than civility. Were it not true, “reality” TV wouldn’t exist.

    Still, never let it be said that any one of these people represents me; no other feminist, no other men’s rights activist, no other author, no other speaker, no other blogger, no other random jackass on twitter, NO OTHER HUMAN BEING LIVING OR DEAD may lay claim to my thoughts, my words, my actions, my reactions. I can only grant that same permission to ALL of my brothers and sisters. Thus, I will not group together other true feminists or true men’s rights activists with crotchety turds who are just mad they can’t get laid. I think it only fitting that the author of a charged blog entry such as this, do the same.

    All that said, there is no blanket solution. If we’re going to wax philosophic about independence and interdependence, then it’s plain foolish to leave out the nature of control. Surely, we must realize that we have no REAL control over each other, which is the thing that burns “activists” and makes them become angry, hate filled bubbles of grime. What I SHOULD do, how I SHOULD feel, what I SHOULD think is right, what I SHOULD think is fair, is not yours to dictate. At the end of the day, I don’t care how many “scientific” sources you may list; my experiences and my observations will shape my reality and you can’t take that away from me or from anyone else. Trying only breeds misery and then you end up like A Voice for Men.

    • KT, somewhere in your lengthy diatribe and insults is a point. Do you care to make it or are you just spewing sound and fury with no substance?

      I’m not even going to bother taking it apart bit by bit. Because your are a perfect example as to why I don’t support feminism fully. Just the fact that you share the tent with egiltarians makes me want to avoid it like the plague.

    • AdelaideRozaMarie says:

      That was VEEERRY persuasive. I LOOVE listening to an angry person scream at everybody to get across points/feelings that clearly could have been calmly explained. Maybe it is you that needs to get laid, just a thought, a friendly suggestion. Instead of pointing the finger at everybody else saying we are “crotchety turds who are just mad they can’t get laid” maybe look at the tone of your own post and take your own advice. get laid, stay calm, and be nice.

    • I will grant you that men are pressured to remove hair, but it is still not to the degree that women are. I’m sorry, but no argument could even compare. Even men who shave the areas they are “expected” to don’t shave EVERYTHING. Most of them still leave their arms and legs hairy. Pick up any magazine or porn DVD scene to validate my claims.
      I can’t be the only one that finds it funny that so much as mentioning how men have expectations put on them causes people to instantly go into the “It doesn’t matter who has it worse, except when women have it worse.” arguments.

      So, let’s be fair. Let’s not make it sound like men, because they’re removing some hair in some places, are equal with women in the matter. The truth is that if women have hair anywhere but their heads, they are commanded by society to remove it.
      If it’s the spirit of fairness people are worried about then maybe someone in all that worry they could stop trying to speak for men’s experiences (and then getting mad when men speak up to the contrary).

      The disparity of the sexes in the situation should not mean that the men’s pressures get ignored, but there is a reason why they do: social justice triage. This is something most people do without even realizing it. To most people, if women have a problem that is severe, it deserves more attention than men having a mild case of the same problem. That shouldn’t mean the men’s side gets no attention or that it gets mocked right out of the emergency room, but it’s a reason that people think they are justified in dismissing it. It may not be right, but it’s something we all do.
      So let’s get down do why this “social justice triage” happens. When talking about something like body hair the point is clearly made that “women have it worse” and there is a rush to make sure that there is absolutely no possibility of thinking that men have it worse than women or that men have it anywhere near as bad as women do. I see this triage happen in talk of suicide. Mention that men are more likely to kill themselves and folks will chime in to remind us that women are more likely to attempt to kill themselves.

      Point being it seems like this “social justice triage” isn’t just a case of automatically seeing who is on the short end of the stick and somehow inadvertently dismissing the other side. No it seems to be an active choice that one makes to dig the heels in for “their side”.

      As for other feminists being big meanie pants, again an unsourced claim, I would guess it’s an unfortunate knee-jerk to reaction to the increasingly volume of threatening grunts from so-called “men’s rights” activists which are little more than extremely hostile misogynists with the luxury of internet anonymity.
      So in one breath you express doubt that such things happen (which can be seen in places like Shakesville, Feministe, and Feministing, and so on) but in the next you are ready to defend why they do it? Nice.

      There are things in society that are not fair for men and are worth dialoguing about….but sadly, those things are not what get discussed.
      Actually they do. It’s that the places where the “herpes sores” hang out get all of the attention to the point of rather than hearing out spaces where that stuff doesn’t happen such spaces are accused of being hangouts for the “sores”, often based on weak evidence. I guess it’s easy to pretend there is no conversation going on when one actively denies all instances of the conversation that don’t come from an approved source.

      in my opinion worst of all, society’s refusal to allow men to do or be anything associated with femininity (which is actually a subtle form of misogyny)
      Not quite. This seems to be a thing I see regularly when talking about men and things that harm them. The point behind refusing men to be associated with anything other than rugged masculinity is to keep them in their place so that they can continue doing their part in keeping The System running as planned. But time and again all that gets boiled down to “the things that happen to men are nothing but the side effects of trying to harm women”. The harm that is done to men is constantly regarded as a bug while the harm that is done to women is constantly regarded as a feature.

      In the example you give here the misogyny is the weapon, but misandry is the intent/plan/strategy.

      I’m all for trying to get to the bottom of all the things that harm people. It’s going to be hard to do so when the experiences of one side is being constantly viewed through the lens what happens to the other side, examined through the experiences of the other side, diagnosed as collateral damage of what happens to the other side, and put on the back burner in relation to the other side.

  13. Dear KT,

    We have absolutely no control over each other by power of authority, that is true.

    The only control we have is by the power of example. I believe that it is only by setting an example of active listening, compassion, and authenticity that we can hope to get the same thing back. That being said, feel free to disagree with my beliefs. What you believe is what you believe and I respect that.

    At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel like their opinion matters and like they’re doing the right thing. If we want massive, social change … we all have to afford each other that dignity.

    Thank you all for sharing.

  14. Social change? I like who I am, I don’t want to conform to some liberal idea as to what “social change” is. I’ve managed to survive 5 heart attacks, gain and loss of a lot of money and assets. 38 years of a great marraige and two outstanding grandkids … what social change do I need to work on? I accept people for who they are.If she doesn’t want to shave, that;s on her … I think it’s gross but that’s me.My wife shaves and I’m glad she does. I’m as hairy as they come (I know … TMI) and my wife wouldn’t be happy if I was any different.

  15. We’ve surpassed that point where blamed all our failures as women to thrive in society on patriarchal pressures.

    Really? Since when? Someone needs to notify the most prominent and loudest voices of online femnist activism of this change, because they’re all still singing the same old song.

  16. @: AdelaideRozaleMarie:I am always amazed at the faux umbrage of women who seem to forget that feminism has a recent history-like today- of racism, sexism, classism and other inequalities. I get sooo tired of hearing feminists scream at the top of their lungs about inequality while turning a blind eye to their own history.

  17. Starla Strong says:

    Personally, I have always believed that the American preoccupation of hair removal was really an effort to get away from the proposed ancestral ape. It has also occurred to me that it might relate to Asian and American Indian envy – we tend to have very little body hair or facial hair.

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