The NRA recently developed a mini-graphic novel, featuring some…well, fairly wacky claims. The first thing I noticed was that all the threatened families were white, and all the bad people in the vignettes weren’t. The second thing that struck me, though, was this illustration:
Hairy legs, tattoos, and Birkenstocks=terrorism!
(Also–land lobsters? WTF?)
Personally, I think 99% of of the PETA folks are nutters. Mercifully, American animal rights folks aren’t at the level of digging up grandparents and holding them hostage yet. But…why did hairy legs become such a symbol?
I tried to find out more about the history of body shaving, and mostly just stumbled upon stuff that was conflicting. Or, that made me really glad I was researching this on my home computer, and not at work.
Shaving (leg and other) was common in the ancient middle east and a taste for hairless women was brought home to europe by the Crusaders. Or, it wasn’t.
Underarm hair was sexy and flaunted because it was a hint of the foliage below, out of sight. Underarm hair was shaved off because it looked like pubic hair and that was dirty. Both seem to have applied at different points in time.
One thing I did find that I didn’t expect was serious scholarly research…on leg hair. Generally, there is, actually, a relationship between high self-esteem levels, identification as a feminist, and not shaving your legs (or anything else.) This makes sense–it takes some chutzpah to swim against the cultural norm.
And, there certainly are some issues with the pro-shaving agenda, since it has as an underlying assumption that your body in its natural state is defective and substandard. I’m not too keen on that.
However, I admit, my legs are shaved. As are the pits. This is mainly because the fun of being all naughty and transgressive by letting my body hair run free isn’t really…fun. Especially when the 37 students in the class you’re teaching see you in shorts for the first time and all, simultaneously, go “Ewwwwwww.”
But, I have to ask: what’s with the pogrom on crotch hair?
I’m just old fashioned, I guess, but I find denuded pudenda repulsive. Seriously–when Brittany Spears flashed her snatch, did any of you really find it appealing?
And what’s with the stupid vertical-Hitler-mustache thing? (Amy Poehler compared the style to “a John Waters‘ mustache over a vagina”.) At the very least, make it an arrow pointing downward, and get some use out of the haircut, if you’re going to go to all that trouble.
To conclude, I leave you with a YouTube clip that both amuses and makes my point that your “lady garden” should be left to grow free and unpruned:
The brazilian waxing video (safe for work)