Monday, January 17, 2011

Three cheers for pubic hair!

With this lovely anti-fur ad, PETA's basically inviting me to write a raging blog post in defense of women's body hair.

At first, I thought sa-weet. The idea filled me with glee. It's fun to offend haters who piss me off, especially when I'm doing it for a good cause... like, you know, equality.

But then I started thinking about it, and I'm angry. Not just because of the ad, or the double standard when it comes to women's body hair, but also because why the hell should I even have to explain to the PETA folks how this is offensive? I mean, do I really need to defend myself for choosing to neglect my body hair? It's not like I'm harming anyone. (Let's flash back to seventh grade, when a couple of dudes a year ahead of me noticed my legs and told me that I looked like a "gorilla." I like to think that they were just jealous of the fact that I had more hair on my legs than they had on theirs.)

I can't possibly be the only one who finds this ad blatantly offensive. Because I'm sure as hell not the only one who isn't exactly diligent about keepin' my pubic hair trimmed.

If you know me well, odds are, you've heard my tirade on eyebrows. But in case you haven't, here's how I feel about it: They're fucking eyebrows, man. Not exactly #1 on my list of priorities. So what if they grow to look like furry cats sleeping on top of my eyes? That's not really how I like them to look. But I've let them get to that point many times. I don't have enough patience to pluck them, so the state of my eyebrows generally depends upon the amount of money in my bank account. And given that I'm a twenty-something liberal arts major, well. You know how it is.

Apply that attitude to all of the hair on my body. I deal with it when it's convenient for me to do so, or when it gets too outrageous for me to tolerate any longer. It's my body, after all.

Don't get me wrong: I feel just as awesome as anyone else after I get a new haircut, eyebrow waxing, or what have you. But that's just it; in the end, it comes down to how I feel about it, not whoever the hell's going to be (or "supposed to be") looking at me. (And don't even get me started on what this ad says about who I'm "supposed" to impress.)

Despite my refusal to base my appearance on the approval of others, I've still got many wonderful friends and a pretty healthy sex life. (And this, of course, is how I know that I'm not the only woman who doesn't put trimming my pubic hair at the top of my to-do list!)

If you'd like to hear from another such woman (as you might still need to be convinced that we do, in fact, exist), okay. I'll leave you with an awesome poem by Alix Olson called "Armpit Hair."


  1. You should definitely read "Afternoon of the Sex Children" by Mark Greif. (It is in Best American Essays 2007 and it was in Harper's Nov. 2006 issue under the title "Children of the Revolution."

    I was going to email you a pdf, but I can't find my copy of BAE 2007 and I suspect it is in Kentucky. OSU has terrible library subscriptions. But buy BAE 2007 anyway, it is an awesome book and is probably pretty cheap.

  2. Sorry about the non-closing parenthesis. I'm a bad comment editor.

  3. I actually own a copy of that book but don't think I've read any of the essays therein. I'll get on that. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll let you know what I think of it.

  4. Song: Swooshi, Swooshi by Ember Swift.

  5. I have to wonder who the target audience for this kind of ad would be, you know? Like, obviously not feminists or really even most women... So PETA has decided that in order to gain popularity they should instead support the objectification of women and really of girls. Gross.

  6. It's the same thing with their "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" ads. Who are they trying to appeal to?

  7. You know, the underwear with fur trim is actually a good idea. I think they'd carry it at Spencer's Gifts.

  8. Hear Hear! (or is it Here Here? Never quite been sure of that one)

    AAaaaanyway. Excellent post.

  9. Men like women who like themselves. Boys get nervous and prudish.

  10. PETA has quite the track record for racist and misogynist ads. I support animal rights, but hot damn, when you have an asshole like PETA making the most noise, it's difficult.

  11. I know they do. But it's still good to speak out against it. I'm a huge animal lover, too. But PETA's crazy.

  12. I sent them this message:
    "I am a sixteen year old female against the cruelty of animals and am supportive of Peta's intentions. However, I am outraged by Peta's misogynistic tones in the Fur Trim underwear ads. Now, in all fairness to Peta, I do not know how recent these ads are. Regardless of their date, I feel compelled to complain about them as I am extremely disturbed by their publication.
    The ads are demeaning and offensive to women who are already faced with extreme societal demands and standards. This societal criticism of female pubic hair, something natural that grows on every woman, is ridiculous in itself. The idea that one would even think of connecting the idea of feminine grooming to the cruel skinning animals for their fur is even more absurd to me. The ads only encourage the shaming of women who maintain their body's natural state. Honestly, you, the staff of Peta, are the ones who should be ashamed. "