Saturday, February 6, 2010


It's just my luck to find myself involved in an argument about armpits. Itka doesn't shave hers (see above image), while our friend Maya had her own armpit hairs perpetually removed. Who's more of a woman?

As the argument erupted today, Itka quoted Naomi Wolf, author of "The Beauty Myth". Wolf claims that the requierments of feminine beautification are a form of opression inflicted on women. Maya doesn't feel opressed. She feels beautiful. Itka does too. However, as Maya points out, Itka has a boyfriend who doesn't mind her hairy armpits, whereas Maya is single and can't afford to lose a good guy simply because he's somewhat fond of the common concepts of beauty.

"Do you really want to date a guy who's not a Feminist?" Itka asked.

"Well, now we'll have to define what's a Feminist."

"A Feminist is someone who believes that men and women should be seen as equal and be treated by eqaul measures."

I interfered by saying that I think Feminism is like Judaism. that it's about what you do, more so than what you believe. Men and women are not treated as equals. if you find something to do about this and do it, then you're a Feminist.

Fine, but what do I do to better women's situation? I accept my girlfriend with her hairy armpits, but That's too easy, since I find them sexy. I once wrote a single op-ed dealing with trafficing in women and the police's failure in dealing with the problem. That's not much.

If the little I can do at the moment is discuss bodily hair, so be it. In a Book written in the 70s, Israeli author and notorious Casanova Dan Ben-Amotz bemoans the fashion of shaven feminine armpits. He attacks deodorants on the same breath, seeing in them an assault against the body's natural odors, which for millenia were a tool in sending erotic signals among humans.

It seems that whenever a woman's bodily part is permitted to catch some sun, there instantly follows an assault on the down covering it. Once the miniskirt was introduced, so were feminine razors. Tanktops were invented soon thereafter, and the blades went after that charming, barely visible bit of hair gracing the underarm. Such hair grows quickly, so keeping a bald axilla is an extra demanding requierment burdoning the well groomed lady; extra demanding, and completely unneccesary.

The same proccess continues with the pubic hairs. True, those are not yet commonly exposed to daylight, yet the masterminds at Gillette have somehow found their way down there too. After being married for seven years and then divorcing, I returned to courting pretty women, only to discover that they have changed. On my first round as a bacholer, I never even encountered a shaved groin. Now I found myself startled again and again to find that something was missing, a little bit of furry womanly warmth.

Then it hit me, I've read them! All the articles I read over the years, praising the "Brasilian" as the new way for a girl to be, they all led to something. I could see how consumerist media promoted this further stripping of a woman natural appearence, and simply had to agree with Wolf. it's a conspirecy.

Being a guy, I won't preach to women not to shave. I completely respect Maya's decisions as I do those of any of my readers. But as a symbolic act of protest, and a call for the return of all hairs, including the faint, not at all uncommon feminine moustache (which actually becomes some girls, I dated one and loved catching a glimpse of it just before we kissed), I sacrificed my own oxter to a sharp piece of metal. If that looks ridiculous, imagine half of humanity being requiered to do so.


Guy said...

Welcome back! I'm glad to see everywhere is active again. I hope growing it back won't be too annoying... Or maybe you'll decide to keep the new look?

EllaDan said...

Brilliant. Please don't forget about Cleopatra, though. Didn't the ancient Egyptians shave everything?

Anonymous said...

Hey! Women and men are not the same. They have different physical and emotional structures. I like Hummus and Chinese food, they are both great but in no way should be treated (or eaten) equally…

Anonymous said...

Way to go gever :)

Batucada said...

Well, in Lithuania most of the guys shave their armpits too! Maybe not so precisely as women but still it is something weird to see 18-30 years old guy with unshaved armpits(at least among people I know). So you can imagine how surprised I was when I saw guys in Israel with all hair, even in the commercials. And for most of people here it is just aesthetic point, no thoughts about masculinity or feminism.

Daiva said...

Batucada: I haven't noticed, most of the men I know don't bother...

I think it's very difficult to get it out of your head when you are socialized into this seemingly obvious connection between shaving and culture/aesthetics/hygiene. However feminist I may be, I'm "corrupted" to such an extent that intuitively I would prefer men to shave. While living in Japan, I found the naturally almost hairless bodies of the locals a delight to the eye. Hairless body looks clean and 'cultured' (so ancient Japanese would call Europeans 'hairy barbarians').

This is very much in line with the modern axiom that, in order to be beautiful, you must keep removing 'trash' from your body: excess fat, skin (i.e. wrinkles), body hair, greasiness of the skin, nails and their cuticles, some eyebrow hairs, dead skin (e.g. on your heals), etc. etc. The fundamental idea is that if you don't discipline your body, it is prone to returning to the chaos of the material world.

Oded said...

Well as the first Anonymous said - men and women are different. As many reaserches show. As a post-feminist I think that equating men and women is as wrong as dicriminating. The post feminist aim is to equate the OPPS. Giving both equal start line. Correcting societies that have huge discriminations. Finishing the work of the feminists in less discriminating socieities.
And about beauty . .well there are two things: 1. It is in the eyes of the beholder 2. It is society related. And both men AND women are enslaved to it.
Aren't we men shave? every day! don't we go to the gym just to have flat stomach? put aftershave? etc. ... In modern western society - chosing how to be "pretty" is really a choice.
Still - I applause your gesture.
And I must say - I love them HAIRY too ...