Women Learn From An Early Age That We Look

1343 Words6 Pages
Women learn from an early age that we are ‘priced’ by how we look. “Social [and professional] opportunities are affected by their beauty” (Mazur 282). Regardless of substance and intelligence, women are seen at face-value, literally. Because of this, we have discovered countless ways to police and alter our bodies to try and fit ourselves into the proper molds. These methods include (but are not limited to) shaving body hair, dieting, tanning or bleaching skin, dyeing or straightening hair, and a myriad of different plastic surgery procedures. Many of these means for policing the body can be expensive, making the “elite” form of beauty easier to achieve for women of a higher economic standing. The removal of body hair is particularly…show more content…
“To be hairy ... is to risk a range of negative connotations, which serve as sanctions against non-conformity to the hairlessness norm. This norm may, therefore, be understood as a form of social control" (454). Fahs was interested to discover what happened when women who had never second guessed this normalized practice of shaving stopped doing so - essentially allowing themselves to exist in an entirely natural state for the first time in many years. Her findings were varied, but not entirely surprising. First, her bisexual and lesbian students “confronted issues of sexual identity disclosure and direct homophobia and heterosexism, often prompting them to feel outed in public” (458). Because of their hairer limbs, women were seen as definitively more masculine, and therefore many spectators automatically assumed that the women were gay (gay women are incorrectly seen as women who lack femininity). In fact, some of her straight students were asked if they had “turned lesbian” (459). Other students faced criticism from family members - particularly mothers and brothers. Students wrote things like: “[My brother] said that any woman with body hair certainly
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