Saturday, April 28, 2007

beauty - becoming the beholder

You've read these posts a hundred times. But tonight it's my turn to write one.

I watched a documentary the other night called F**k Off, I'm A Hairy Woman, wherein an Asian comedian decides to stop waxing/plucking/shaving/depilating to see how both she and society react to a bit of body hair. (BBC Three is doing a whole series on self esteem...sadly, I missed Me And My Man Breasts, but there are always reruns.) It wasn't particularly good, but I must admit it made me think about standards of beauty.

She did a lot of man/woman-on-the-street interviews, and pretty much everyone she spoke to, male or female, shared the opinion that body hair is bad on women...it is a sign of a lack of grooming, laziness and pride, not just on underarms or legs, but on arms, on the face (except for meticulously kept eyebrows) and CERTAINLY not in the nethers, unless you've got a tidy little Brazilian or perhaps a heart for Valentine's Day.

I expect this from most men, but was a bit surprised by the number of women who felt this way. I suppose I shouldn't be, what since the gender roles are almost cartoonish in England and women of all ages here spend inordinate amounts of time slaving to fashion, but it still seemed odd that they would be so unforgiving of arm hair. I mean, what's the big deal about a bit of peach fuzz on a forearm? But it would seem everyone in Britain has been brainwashed to believe that every inch of a woman should be smooth as a baby's bottom, and those who are not are inadequate, ugly.

I am not particularly hairy...although my hair is quite dark, I have my mother's ginger-complexion, and with that comes light-toned body hair and very little of it....therefore I've never really spent any time thinking about this. But when I did, it seemed silly that so much negativity was being channeled at women for something that is perfectly natural. It's bad enough when the frat boys at Loaded criticise the attractive, fit narrator because she's got stubble on her legs (even though she looks like a goddess in her sexy sundress and has a fantastic rack, two of the highest priorities for a lads mag.) I can only imagine how horrible it must be for the punk rock girl from Brighton who has a peach fuzz beard. No wonder some of the "hairy women" she interviewed looked like kicked puppies, with absolutely no self esteem. It's ridiculous that something so simple as body hair can be the difference between being beautiful and being hideous.

Which forces me to acknowledge my own complex. Life is difficult enough without beating ourselves up about inconsequential things that are a natural part of being human. I may meet the beauty standards for hairiness, but I more than make up for this success with obsessive hatred for my overly-round figure even though, as Lulu says, I'm "clever, bright, funny as hell, and have a great rack." My nose and chin are pointier than the average cover girl's, my makeup always fades or smears and my lips are so tiny they disappear when I smile. I beat myself up for not being beautiful. I hate myself for not being slim. But when you get right down to it, what exactly IS wrong with me? Nothing, really. I'm actually quite foxy, in a completely unique, no-one-is-quite-like-me way. I'm a walking talking Dove commercial, for god's sake. (Except that I mainly use Lush and Aveda products, but you get the idea.) It's pathetic that I let myself listen to voices that demand I change to look like everyone else.

And how sad that I'm 40 years old and have to give myself this pep talk. Now THAT is ridiculous. In fact, whether it's me or any of the millions of other women on the web who've written exactly this post in their own words, it is completely moronic that we can't get comfortable in our skins and just live happy lives.

My new mantra: F**k Off, I'm a Chubby Woman. (Repeat as necessary until I actually believe it.)

This is me. (And CP and Dale.) So be it.

9 comments:

lulu said...

Amen Sister! Look at you, could you be any more radient? Fuck them all, and when you are don fucking them, watch this video. http://bellasboldbrilliantblog.wordpress.com/2007/04/12/29/

Dale said...

Oh sure, pick the photo that makes me look like I'd been awake all night on a plane. Oh wait, I was, but this isn't about me.

Mindy, when you smile? Your lips don't disappear, your face lights up and your eyes twinkle. You're definitely foxy and beautiful all over.

That video's pretty awesome Lulu.

Coaster Punchman said...

All the fawning I should do aside, what is with my gigantic forehead? It's like I'm part Amish or something.

Bubs said...

Y'all look fabulous.

Melinda, don't you change. There is something seriously out of whack with our society right now, the ever increasing fake-ness, the waxing, bleaching, whitening, orthodonture, surgery...it's horrifying the extent to which we're all measuring ourselves against the standard of life-size Barbie dolls.

I'm dealing right now with an absolutely stunningly gorgeous 15 year old daughter, 5'8" and 125 pounds with beautiful green eyes, and a truly amazing figure, who's convinced she's ugly.

What the fuck is wrong with us?

Melinda June said...

Thanks for the kind words. Don't get me wrong...I'm not a sad sack mopey mopey (though you might think it with the last few posts), and I don't live a half life. But I do belive I am happy in spite of my physical shortcomings, which is just stupid, and it is stopping now.

Great video, Lu. I wish I'd made that.

Boys, of COURSE I picked the one where you two look weird. Makes me all the prettier. And CP, you didn't need to tell them about the Amish thing. I thought you wanted to keep that secret.

Dale said...

I'm surprised they let you out wearing all those daring buttons CP.

I wish we had to measure ourselves against Ken dolls. Pretty hard to not to outdo the plastic bump.

Marni said...

I think you are bee-you-ti-ful! As a matter of fact, you and I could be sisters (I'm not vain I swear!) We have the same coloring and almost the same glasses!

Such an awesome threesome!

Melinda June said...

Thanks, Marni! That's funny that we look alike.

Aren't my bitches stunning?

Writeprocrastinator said...

After successfully eluding both the minions of Cardinal Richelieu and Tony Blair; Athos, Porthos, and Melinda June enjoy flagons of ale and a fine roasted bird.