CinnaZimtAnie


Thoughts on Hair
December 17, 2009, 11:59 pm
Filed under: gender | Tags: , , , , ,

This was originally posted on 4/21/2008 at my Queer & A blog.  I edited it from there because there are some ideas I want to develop more in-depth that felt a little lonely and out of context here… and because I compulsively, continually edit.

Part One: Feminist Hair

I’ve never been a big proponent of shaving. I stopped shaving my legs and armpits in high school. I even dyed my leg hair blue a few times. I was proud of presenting my body the way I wanted despite cultural norms. As I saw it, the lie “women aren’t supposed to be hairy; hairy women are disgusting” was just another example of what our culture tells women to keep us ashamed, preoccupied, misinformed, and spending money to “improve” ourselves.

I hated the lie that it was more “hygienic” (for women only, apparently), when in reality hair removal is less hygienic.

I also heard rumors that shaving evolved (in US society) when skirts got shorter and men were surprised to find that women had body hair, even though girls did not. Whether true or not, the link to pedophilia was made in my mind, and I was horrified.

I saw the social pressure to shave as a way women were not just complicit — indeed they were enforcing –their own oppression, but also invisibilizing it by creating a normative, hairless body.

Part Two: Queer Hair.

Doing your hair is an easy way to “do” gender. I know that many queer femmes, trans women, and drag queens enjoy the process of doing femininity, including hair removal. On the other side, many trans men, drag kings, and female bodied genderqueer folks enjoy cultivating facial hair and wish their leg hair were darker.

So I find myself having compassion for a lot of people who like to shave as a way to do gender.   Including straight, cissexual women (who aren’t performing in drag).

Part Three: Hormonal Hair.

I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and a “side effect” is that I have more facial hair than most females.  I have several friends with this same “hormonal imbalance” who also have “surplus” facial hair. In fact, about 10% of women are diagnosed with it. I don’t see a lot of women with beards and mustaches though; I assume most of the women with PCOS remove their facial hair to keep a spirit of invisibility, so they aren’t perceived as transgressing gender.

Or sex.

Or the lines between who is supposed to be a “bearded lady” or “circus freak.”

Part Four: Questionable Hair.

Do you “do” your gender by doing your hair?

Is it effective?  Is it worth it?

Is it complicit or transgressive?

Both/And?  Neither?

Whose hairlessness is beautiful?

Whose hairiness?

Is your hair beautiful?

Your hairiness?

Your hairlessness?

This was originally posted on 4/21/2008 at my Queer & A blog.  I edited it from there because there are some ideas I want to develop more in-depth that felt a little lonely and out of context here… and because I compulsively, continually edit.

https://cinnazimtanie.wordpress.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gifPart One: Feminist Hair

I’ve never been a big proponent of shaving. I stopped shaving my legs and armpits in high school. I even dyed my leg hair blue a few times. I was proud of presenting my body the way I wanted despite cultural norms. As I saw it, the lie “women aren’t supposed to be hairy; hairy women are disgusting” was just another example of how our culture tells women to keep us ashamed, preoccupied, misinformed, and spending money to “improve” ourselves.

I hated the lie that it was more “hygienic” (for women only, apparently), when in reality hair removal is less hygienic.

I also heard rumors that shaving evolved (in US society) when skirts got shorter and men were surprised to find that women had body hair, even though girls did not. Whether true or not, the link to pedophilia was made in my mind, and I was horrified.

I saw the social pressure to shave as a way women were not just complicit — indeed they were enforcing –their own oppression, but also invisibilizing it by creating a normative, hairless body.

https://cinnazimtanie.wordpress.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gifPart Two: Queer Hair.

Doing your hair is an easy way to “do” gender. I know that many queer femmes, trans women, and drag queens enjoy the process of doing femininity, including hair removal. On the other side, many trans men, drag kings, and female bodied genderqueer folks enjoy cultivating facial hair and wish their leg hair were darker.

So I find myself having compassion for a lot of people who like to shave as a way to do gender.   Including straight, cissexual women (who aren’t performing in drag).https://cinnazimtanie.wordpress.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif

Part Three: Hormonal Hair.

I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and a “side effect” is that I have more facial hair than most females.  I have several friends with this same “hormonal imbalance” who also have “surplus” facial hair. In fact, about 10% of women are diagnosed with it. I don’t see a lot of women with beards and mustaches though; I assume most of the women with PCOS remove their facial hair to keep a spirit of invisibility, so they aren’t perceived as transgressing gender.

Or sex.

Or the lines between who is supposed to be a “bearded lady” or “circus freak.”

https://cinnazimtanie.wordpress.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gifPart Four: Questionable Hair.

Do you “do” your gender by doing your hair?

Is it effective?  Is it worth it?

Is it complicit or transgressive?

Both/And?  Neither?

Whose hairlessness is beautiful?

Whose hairiness?

Is your hair beautiful?

Your hairiness?

Your hairlessness?

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

i am a dyke who shaves her head but not her legs. sometimes i shave my armpits. i pluck the wiry bristles that grow on the left side of my chine, but leave the upper lip hair alone.

Comment by scar

i love it.

Comment by cinnazimtanie

🙂 no consistency – just freedom to n0t give a shit

Comment by scar




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