Thursday, June 11, 2015

Privilege and Feminism: Body Hair

An article from Elite Daily popped up on my Facebook feed about the trend of women taking photos of themselves showing their armpit hair and posting them online.While this is all well and good, and you know how I love to see men get all uncomfortable and upset, check out the photos in this article and see if you can find the issue with them.

Armpit Hair Is Trending, And It’s A Step Forward For Women Everywhere

Women everywhere? Are you sure?

Because what I see there is a list of a whole lot of white women.

Growing and exposing body hair is definitely an action of resistance. Refusing to abide by pointless beauty standards enforced with vicious body shaming and all that. But it's not an action that is accessible for everyone.

Women of color are policed not only based on their gender, but also based on race. If they dare to have body hair, they have to deal with shit like being called animals. Once progressive-seeming white women will turn around and call them ugly for it. The beauty industry isn't just misogynistic - it's also based in white supremacy.

Having body hair is also a much less accessible option for trans women, who face immense pressure to assimilate to sexist beauty norms. Letting their body hair grow puts them at risk for much more than grossed out looks and insults. Being read as trans puts them at high risk for assault and murder. There's also a good portion of feminists who, if they even support trans women on any level, demand (ironically) that they conform to beauty standards, and if they don't, are accused of not really being trans or not being trans enough, whatever that means.

Until issues of racism and transmisogyny are addressed, showing armpit hair to the world will not be a step forward for women everywhere. It will only be a step forward for white women.

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