HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Gender & Orientation » History of Feminism (Group) » Armpits4August is making ...

Thu Jul 18, 2013, 12:42 PM

Armpits4August is making women's body hair a feminist issue

"Bloatedness, mood swings and acne are telltale signs that it's that time of the month," says Cat Gray, "but when my PMS arrives, menstruation and ovulation do not follow." Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the leading cause of female infertility, and with 10% of women estimated to have the disorder, it's the most common hormonal condition to affect women of a child-bearing age.

Gray was diagnosed with PCOS when she was 19 and, now 31, she says it makes her feel "less of a woman" due to the lack of a monthly cycle and the impending barriers to starting a family. "My mother was the most upset, worrying that she wouldn't get grandchildren. For me, it's the visible side effects that hurt the most." Along with higher chances of infertility, heart disease and diabetes, the common symptoms include obesity, acne and hirsutism. High levels of testosterone can cause all kinds of hair, skin and weight issues, and Gray says her teens and 20s were marred with "being fat, spotty and, worst of all, hairy".

Amy De Luca hasn't been swimming or sunbathing since she was 12: "Puberty and PCOS triggered hair growth all over my chest and back and, 10 years on, I don't look or feel any better." For the hirsute woman, dealing with body hair can feel like fighting a losing battle, regardless of the amount of razors and lasers in her arsenal. Hirsutism isn't simply a case of excessive female body hair it can manifest itself as male-like hair growth with coarse, wiry hair on the chest, tummy, chin and upper lip. The hair can regrow rapidly enough to require a daily or twice daily shave, a practice that can be as distressing as it is time consuming. De Luca makes the bittersweet observation that it's the fear of judgement, rather than the condition itself, that drives the routine: "I would love to no longer feel the need for constant de-fuzzing, but I am terrified of what others will think of me so I shave anyway."

This summer, hundreds if not thousands of women will be breaking the cycle for the first time, by foregoing the razor in order to raise funds and awareness for PCOS. Armpits4August is a collective of hirsute, polycystic and body-hair-positive women who are tired of the pressure to pluck and preen to perfection, and are setting the challenge to simply stop one practice on one area, for one month. Like a ladies' version of Movember, but with a decidedly feminist twist, the charitable event presents an obvious but underestimated alternative to hair removal. In the words of a 70s Clapton classic: let it grow.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jul/18/armpits-4-august-body-hair-feminist

7 replies, 3350 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Armpits4August is making women's body hair a feminist issue (Original post)
ismnotwasm Jul 2013 OP
LanternWaste Jul 2013 #1
ismnotwasm Jul 2013 #3
geek tragedy Jul 2013 #2
ismnotwasm Jul 2013 #4
libodem Jul 2013 #5
ismnotwasm Jul 2013 #6
libodem Jul 2013 #7

Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Thu Jul 18, 2013, 03:32 PM

1. The thread in GD re: the woman who refuses to shave was another

The thread in GD re: the woman who refuses to shave was another (in a long line, recently) eye-opener to me how incredibly vapid and superficial many of us are.

Rather than focusing on the Why? aspect of the conversation (the germain and relevant topic-- "women who are tired of the pressure to pluck and preen to perfection", far too many people (read: young males) obsessed on, and then rationalized their "eew" reaction to it.

Two posters that I had always given the benefit of doubt to illustrated a rather nasty side I'd not previously seen.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LanternWaste (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 18, 2013, 07:34 PM

3. Actually that thread was part of why I posted this here

I knew it would turn into a mess, much like "The Politics of Body Hair" thread on DU2

There's nothing wrong with personal grooming choices, but there is something wrong with the social pressure and the hurtful way these women feel and are treated. This pic sums it up for me;



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Thu Jul 18, 2013, 05:28 PM

2. Just read the GD discussion. Holy shit that was depressing. nt

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to geek tragedy (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 18, 2013, 07:37 PM

4. Yeah, I usually opt out of those kind of discussions early

They tend to follow a typical pattern. Depressing yes, but also the same old same old.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Fri Jul 19, 2013, 07:37 PM

5. The polycystic overy syndrome

Sounds worse than I remember. Menopause brings a bit of the hair problems as well. I'm blond, so it is hard to see, and harder to tweeze. It is freaking time consuming. I don't like extra hair on my upper lip or chin.

I want to be paid like a man. Not emulate male pattern hair growth on my face. Hmmm? That doesn't sound supportive of the woman living with this problem. I hope it becomes more acceptable for them to be themselves. I'm just not going to grow a mustache in solidarity. And I'd wait until winter for arm pit and leg, solidarity.

Think of the bearded ladies of the sideshows. They seem comfortable. I hope it becomes acceptable for all women if they choose. It should be a choice tho. Affordable therapy, ought to be available, if they chose that too.


In the 70' s many of us quit shaving our pits and legs. It was '76 or so I was in college. It was some natural phase with little make up and long hair. It was a gender exploration of sorts I think. Been there. Done that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to libodem (Reply #5)

Fri Jul 19, 2013, 10:28 PM

6. What someone does with personal grooming choices is their business

Hair, no hair, whatever. I prefer clean people myself.

A women with hirsutism that is difficult to control, or perhaps can't afford expensive treatments, shouldn't be made to feel uncomfortable about it. There's no reason for it.

What I think is men should be more into a new type of grooming, including attractive jewelry, hair removal besides the face, fashion that equally shows the gendered body as well as make up, and women should do as they please. (We've got all that shit down if they want it, including step by step instructions in 'women's' magazines, let the guys have some fun too)


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #6)

Sat Jul 20, 2013, 12:41 PM

7. Clean for sure

I remember seeing an unusual female, years ago, at a Rainbow Reunion. We were by the river and she had a full beard. She was just nonplussed about it. She had just let it grow and was fine with it. Her attitude if normallacy made it seem fine. Obviously it left an impression 20 years later.

Likely the more we are exposed to something different the more used to it we become. I just need to remember to be polite and not be a looky-lou.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread