Friday, March 30, 2007

F*ck Off, I'm Hairy Too

Did ya see it? Did ya see Shazia Mirza being all hairy and pro-active about the female body last night on BBC three? I did. I kind of liked the show, but I kind of didn't at the same time. I got excited when Mirza talked about the shame of her body hair, and looked into how much of it she had removed over the years since her teens. I was thrilled when she said that she was going to grow it all out. I was angry as buggery when an ELEVEN YEAR OLD GIRL had her legs waxed and the "beautician" did it, presumably took her money for it and when questioned said that girls are becoming more "aware" of their hair at a younger age, as if that was something to celebrate! Yes, hairy girl children are to be feared and reviled...

I got pissed off when Mirza discussed body hair with some journalist and she said that not shaving makes men think that women are either feminists or political activists, like either thing is distasteful! Eugh, feminism. Just nasty. I was astonished when Mirza went looking for naked women in art and found that women have always been depicted as hairless and smooth skinned. Why haven't I noticed this? Why have I assumed that this hairless, sanitised woman image is a recent, 20th century onwards cultural convention?

What became apparent was that Mirza really wanted to be hairy and feminine. What she really wanted to get at was why the two things are seemingly incompatible and that really spoiled it all for me. She met with a fashion designer who made "sexy" undies out of body hair. They arranged a fashion show with real (not models) hairy women wearing the undies. That just really bent my mind because I liked it. I liked these normal looking hairy women's bodies strutting up and down and enjoying themselves. And for fuck's sake I KNOW better than that! It's fake empowerment, it panders to the patriarchy. It's fucking frilly knickers for God's sake! But it worked. Just for that two minutes when all those women got up on stage in a great big hairy gang and looked up at the camera, raised a two finger salute and shouted "Fuck Off! I'm a Hairy Woman!" it really fucking worked. My spine tingled.

It was, on reflection, too much to expect that the show be about rejecting femininity and embracing feminism; this was BBC Three, not channel four. It was, in its own way, a programme about confounding the hairless expectations of femininity and defying cultural beauty norms. I suppose you could say it was a start...

10 comments:

Stephen said...

I enjoyed the programme too and found it refreshing. Why so many women spend so much time and money on removing body hair is beyond me.

Let it grow girls and let your animal beauty show through, we are all mammals. The UK is a nation of dog lovers and we do not shave them.

Natural Yogurt

spotted elephant said...

Ahem. It's not about beauty.

Michelle said...

Yes, this programme was "a start" as you mentioned. I'm planning to blog about this programme too, as I had mixed feelings about it, but there was no denying Shazia's empowering enthusiasm for her natural woman hair and like you said, the "Fuck You" salute at the end was beautiful!

witchy-woo said...

From little acorns...and all that.

CoolAunt said...

...Mirza went looking for naked women in art and found that women have always been depicted as hairless and smooth skinned.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of one piece of art in which the men weren't hairless and smooth skinned as well. To be perfectly honest with you, I find the hairless look to be more attractive for both males and females. Perhaps the artists of yore did, too.

As for you and your body hair, you keep it or shave it as you prefer. I defend your right to decide for yourself. Further, I wouldn't be at all embarassed to go out with you on a hot day in shorts. I would, however, embarass the hell out of anyone who dared criticize you. ;)

Paul said...

I thought that was an excellent programme. How pathetic and immature were the views of the blokey fools in the Loaded office. Grow up ffs!

Goes without saying that something like this proves that there is nothing unsexy about a natural, healthy body.

Anonymous said...

Are model not "real women" in your opinion? Why do you not consider them human?

Pippa said...

I meant real HAIRY women, as opposed to those women who were models and were asked to grow their body hair for the project. Most declined, but one model accepted the challenge. I could have made it clearer!

Doogal said...

I don't think blokes are saying that hairy women are bad at all (each to their own) but it's unattractive. I'm sick of retarded feminists assuming that I'm trying to oppress their femininity when I say that hairy women aren't hot, cos they're not for most people.
At the end of the day if you're a woman with hair all over her body, I wouldn't sleep with you, and if that doesn't matter to you, then kickass. I wash my hair and wear aftershave when courting ladies, I'd expect the same respect from a woman.

Anonymous said...

I liked that Mirza explored hariness AND stereyotypical
beauty & sexiness.

RE: "rejecting femininity and embracing feminism": If we can chalenge and change steryotpical & represinve ideas about femininity need the two be mutually exclusive?