where next columbus?

God, I don’t want to sound like an endless fountain of nay-sayery. But I am beginning to think it’s my lot in life.

Anyway, so there’s this post by a young (21) woman describing how she has been dismissed and talked down to because of her age. Which, OK…I am not in favor of talking down to anyone due to their life circumstances. And I don’t think that being older necessarily makes you any more qualified to talk with authority on The Issues(TM). I’ve met plenty of absolute dunces who had quite a few years on me and plenty of people younger than me who really had it together. HOWEVER: there are certain things that young activist-y types do a lot that consistently just irritate the fuck out of me, so I understand why some people may be a little reluctant to give their full attention to said types. (Many of these things are things I once did myself, for the record.)

And, what do you know, the author provides an example of this in a subsequent post. One of the aforementioned irritating activities I see young activists (once again, I include my younger self in this category) engaging in is assuming that an issue that is new to them is new to everyone else, even if the issue is one that has been discussed into the ground for decades. Like this: ARMPIT HAIR! OMG! REALLY, BRO-DUDES WHO THINK ARMPIT HAIR IS GROSS ARE ALSO THE ONES WHO THINK WOMEN ARE SEXUALLY AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES? EXPECTING ALL WOMEN TO HAVE NO BODY HAIR AT ALL IS AN UNREALISTIC STANDARD? HOLY FUCKING SHIT I HAVE TOTALLY NEVER HEARD ANY OF THIS BEFORE! ALSO I AM COMPLETELY FASCINATED BY THE PUBE-TRIMMING HABITS OF THE FEMINISTE COMMENT SECTION.

I am probably being unnecessarily snide here, but seriously, YOU ARE NOT THE FIRST PERSON TO NOTICE THIS THING PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT FEMALE BODY HAIR. Which is not to say that an old topic can never be revisited in interesting ways, but at least include some acknowledgment that this topic isn’t exactly a radical new frontier.

I also recognize that part of my irritation may have to do with the topic itself, and how I don’t really care about other people’s habits with their body hair. Or, I kind of do, but I wish people complicated it a little bit more – what is it like for people whose body hair is more visible than most? On whom is it seen as a harmless bohemian affectation rather than a marker of slovenliness?

Or, I dunno, maybe it was the mention of Alix Olson that got me. (disclaimer: I met her once. She seemed like a nice enough lady. HOWEVER: I cannot get into that kind of poetry, at all.)


~ by Smellen on August 14, 2010.

3 Responses to “where next columbus?”

  1. careful, helen! it is EXACTLY these types of opinions on EXACTLY these types of topics that inspired at least one youthful zinester to inform me of my decrepit & elderly irrelevance. alix olson was even implicated in our differences!

  2. Thank you! I wish people would complicate the issue a bit more – I find that a lot of women who talk about growing out their body hair almost always add that it’s “not that visible anyway” and then tell us about how liberating it is to wear shorts with hairy legs.

    • yes. You know who has hairy legs? Me. You know who gives a crap? No one, because my leg hair is really light. I’ve gotten the side eye a few times, but whatever. But I have no doubt I’d get harassed a lot more if my hairs were more visible.

      Hair removal discussions just bore and irritate me so much. I mean, everyone makes decisions about their appearance in part due to social and cultural pressures. EVERYONE. Why is this one thing singled out all the time and framed in such simplistic terms? Harrumph.

      Then again, I shave my armpits so what do I know. OMG PATRIARCHIEZ!

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