is it because of all that armpit hair?

In celebration of International Women's Day, Take a minute to watch this short video "Are YOU a Feminist?"

For whatever reason, feminism seems to be equated with armpit hair and lesbianism. That's so odd to me, as I don't know any female feminists that eschew shaving (tho a few male feminists that I know don't shave their armpits) and only a handful of my feminist friends are lesbians. Why is the feminist label so maligned? Is this a legacy of the Equal Rights Amendment era? Or is this indicative of larger social discomfort with assertive women?

An anecdote: I've recently found myself in a social situation where I've observed several undergrads who have behaved belligerently towards an older woman in a position of authority over them. These same students treat a young-ish man with a similar position with much greater respect. Though there are many reasons why this might be happening in this particular situation, I suspect that much of it has to do with gender. Most people seem to be uncomfortable with assertive women, but not so with assertive men. IMO, this is a shame. Though the woman might be more qualified and more capable, the man is preferred. Why?

And, also in celebration of IWD and some truly radical feminist women (no hairy armpits, I promise). Take a few moments to watch and listen:


alisonwonderland said...

really great post, jana! if you don't mind, i'm going to link to it on my blog.

happy IWD!

jana said...

Of course I don't mind Alison! Please spread the word. :)

John White said...

Words like feminist, liberal, or conservative have taken on emotional baggage and connotation. I don't think it's 100% fair to ignore that. On the other hand, I think in the case of the word feminist, the negative connotations have been manufactured by people who oppose the agenda.

I'm a feminist, except I don't support the idea of co-ed bathrooms. I don't know why you feminists want that. That's a joke, by the way.

jana said...

I was actually thinking about bathrooms last night--a train of thought prompted by a theory article I read about the difficulties that people with ambiguous gender identities have when they need to 'use the facilities.' I'll readily admit that I've used many men's restrooms--particularly when there's a long line for the ladies' room. Back when I was a kid I had a very traumatic experience in a women's restroom and I've hesitated to use public restrooms ever since then. If I walk into a bathroom and it gives me the creeps, I'll leave without using the toilet. It has nothing to do with cleanliness and everything to do with that 'hair standing up on the back of my neck' sixth sense feeling that just makes it too hard to relax and pee.

Ok, so back to my original train of thought about men's restrooms...I actually feel safer in men's restrooms than in women's. Which makes no sense at all given that the creepy childhood experience involved a very creepy man. But somehow I feel more vulnerable in a women's space, like it is more liable to 'violated.' Isn't that weird??

FWIW, the unisex bathrooms that we used in France were not the slightest bit yucky. Tho I do have to admit that I didn't much like the coed bathrooms in my college dorms (mostly because the boys next door were just gross).

C. L. Hanson said...

When I was in college, I actually stopped shaving my armpits for several months, for no other reason than I'd heard it was a feminist thing to do. After a while, though, I decided that feminism didn't actually require me to go without shaving.... ;-)

John White said...

jana: The boys next door are -always- gross.

I've always wondered about the armpit hair thing. But something makes me think it's been previously discussed.

jana said...

johnw: yah, it still makes me gag when I think back to the fact that for the first few weeks of dorm-life I left my toiletries in a bathroom cubby. Until I found out that the boys were using my toothbrush whenever they wanted to. Isn't that just disgusting? I mean, _why_ were they using my toothbrush? I just don't get it.

Not to mention the yuckiness of all of the vomit spewed around the bathroom after their parties. guh-ross.

John White said...

Yuck, yuck, yuck.