Casual Polemic

by Rosemary Brusnahan

Assgnmnt: Csual Airloose Mildlyuninformed Polemic
Subtitle: Public Health
Domtitle: Psychoviolence and feasible alternatives
Game: pornographic verbiage
Executioner: Rosemary Blushednbanned

Dear Women,

Please stop shaving.  You shape your legs into penises, but you deserve your own form.  Argument follows:

1) The idea that shaved legs surpass unshaved legs in beauty cannot be fixed as an objective truth. (! Eureka—pause as yall gather bits of blown mind—I know I know)
           a. Historic contextualization:  as hemlines rose, the need for smooth legs arose as a consumerist construct—hairiness, not being a problem of the natural world, is a problem invented for some reason—what reason?
                       i.  if a woman is ashamed of her natural existence, she will endeavor to contort herself into the confines of the norm.
                       ii.  in order to gain entry into the norm, and thereby have her shame assuaged, she must pay money:  $ for razors, shaving cream, laser treatment, hair-loss creams—who receives her shame-money?  Corporations.  Who benefits from females feeling inadequate in their natural state?  The patriarchy.
                       iii.  projecting an ideal of womanly perfection suppresses expression of self-love and self-acceptance in women; belief in an ideal, manufactured perfection defers self-actualization.
2) What are some reasons that shaved legs are more desirable?
           a. Illusion of youth
                       i.  wrong—girls have hairy legs until, around middle school, they begin shaving their legs.  Therefore, shaved legs cannot be indicative of youth.
           b. Men find it sexier
                       i.  wrong—have never been refused love or sex on the grounds of my leg and armpit and pubic hair.
                       ii.  some men and women who cannot see past the beauty constructs foisted upon us may be turned off—that is purely nurture, not nature.  They have been conditioned to see the body as imperfect, needing adulteration to achieve “perfection.”
3) So…what is the allure of shaved legs?
           i.  smooth
           ii.  combination of soft skin and firm muscle/tissue
What does this remind us of?  There is no hairless, smooth, and firm appendage occurring naturally on the female body.  However…on the male body…there is.  It is the penis.
4) What are the implications of walking on replicated penises?
           i.  phallocentrism
                       a.  if a woman’s legs are symbolic penises, she is not in control of them.  For men, however, a penis-leg is easily appropriated—after all, it is of their ilk.  A penis is not a challenge to males—however, a woman’s body is problematic to the patriarchy.
                       b.  a man caressing a woman’s shaved leg is engaging in symbolically masturbatory activity.  He is seeing himself in the woman, the world is his, penises are everywhere and he loves to touch them.
                       c.  historically, a woman’s energies have been mobilized by two men in her life:  her father and, later, her husband.  Shaved legs are a coded insinuation that women are focused and directed by, and in relation to, men.

Homework:  check out the CEOs of the companies that sell hair-removal products
How much is that market worth?
Find facts about the development of the market.  When were razors first advertised to women, etc, what are the justifications and methods used to sell the idea that hairy legs are undesirable?

Responses due in time.


Rosehairy Plumpnottan

Rosemary Brusnahan is an attempted escapee of all the rules that make us miserable. She is, inevitably, sometimes miserable and copes with words (which we all know is her make-believing she has babies). She likes cello and critical theory and other things at which she used to be better.