Monday, July 21, 2014

Women Against Non-Essential Grooming

source: WANG 
I am not sure if you have noticed it as well, but articles about the WANG-group has reached my social media and caught my attention. Apparently, hundreds of women have decided to stop shaving their legs (and perhaps other body parts) because they do not want to conform to social norms and ideas about beauty.

According to the WANG tumblr page it: "opposes valuing women based on how they look, rather than who they are and what they do. WANG also opposes the prohibitive and narrow beauty standards imposed on women that reflect racist, heteronormative, capitalist, sexist, ageist, cissexist and disableist ideologies". Their protest has led to the refusal of using their razor for non-essential grooming and there has been a campaign going on via Facebook and other social media to leave your legs unshaven. The WANG Facebook Group functions as a support group for women who decided to join this campaign and deal with the trials and tribulations that come with not shaving your legs, e.g. how the world may perceive these women and their legs. The WANG tumblr page explains:
"Women everywhere are expected to conform: to remove their body hair, to wear make-up yet look ‘natural’. To diet, and to wear restrictive clothing. All in order to be considered acceptable, respectable and feminine. If you support women's choice to refuse these regulatory practices, then join WANG! It's not just for the unshaven and undeodorised but for anyone who believes that women shouldn't be reduced to how they look and that women do not need to be conventionally beautiful to be attractive. We are much more than our beauty, and the beauty we have is manifold. People of any/no gender are welcome too, and we support all struggles against the pressure to conform to hegemonic representations."
I was fascinated by this opposition and campaign, because I can relate to it. I do not think that women should adhere to conventional concepts and ideas of beauty in our society in order to be considered beautiful. This may be strange coming from a person with a blog that mainly focusses on make up. Though I do have a great love for make up, I do not wear it every day and I certainly do not wear it to be considered beautiful. A while back I did a tag called "How fake are you?" and in the conclusion I briefly touched upon why women wear make up and that I realize that a lot of them do not dare leaving their house without some "essential" products on their face. 

Though I can relate with WANG and their protest, I am not ready to walk around outside with really hairy legs. I guess I still am too brainwashed by this idea of beauty and would feel ashamed if people would look and stare at my hairy legs. This emotion is completely screwed up and I acknowledge that. How can hairy or no hairy legs make us more beautiful, feminine and better groomed. How does that make us less of a (beautiful) woman? I like reading the comments of articles and I read a lot by both women and men thinking it is disgusting that these women are not shaving their legs or that they look like men. It also happens with brands that produce hair removal products. This is society shaming women for letting their body be in its natural state. What is the need to look down on them? I may not be ready to join their protest, but it angers me to see such close-minded remarks. 

source: Anna Grrrl
I discussed this matter with my friend, James, a self-proclaimed feminist and body-positivist, and he wanted to add the following: in broad strokes there are two problems this protest is seeking to highlight and reject, and both are pretty disturbing. Firstly, the idealized beauty this protest seeks not to conform to is the most screwed up thing. Why does society en masse simply accept that to be considered normal, women have to modify themselves into another form, which is in fact anything but their natural state. The vast majority of women have hair everywhere, do not have magical levitating spheres for breasts, do have skin blemishes and marks, etc. And that should be fine; that should be what we find attractive, because that is what a human female looks like! Yet the vast majority of women willingly accept the pressures forced upon them by their peers, basically because of corporate brainwashing by the beauty industry to sell products. This enforces disturbing body-negativity attitudes to bodies which make people hate and fear who they are.

There are similar pressures on men, but there is a crucial difference; men are "allowed" to be flawed everyday, with exceptional men who do rise to idealized beauty being celebrated. While the hyper-beautiful are also celebrated from womankind, it seems for women in general, everyone is expected to meet that unobtainable standard, and are shamed for inevitable failure. Which is the second problem highlighted here, the fundamental sexism of society: All people can aspire to beauty, but men are allowed to exist on other merits, while for women looks so often are the first priority on which they are judged.

source: Asieybarbie
Well, the campaign really caught my attention and I definitely support it. I would like to show my support by sharing the news with you all and hearing your thoughts about it. If you can overcome the initial "that is weird/yucky/whatever", then I would like you to think about the idea behind why these women are doing this. Our beauty should not be assessed by what society has decided for us (from day 1).. you know... skinny and/or hourglass shaped bodies, hairless bodies, natural beauty, high heels, sun kissed tan, and so on. How do you feel? How much are you influenced by the conventional ideas of beauty?



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15 comments

  1. Wat een interessant artikel! Ik heb ook wel wat voorbij zien komen op Facebook over vrouwen die je dan oproepen om je benen niet te scheren... Maar ik dacht in eerste instantie daarvan echt: getsie haha. Dus het is goed dat ik nu het verhaal erachter weet! Nu begrijp ik het wel beter. Als vrouwen zich gedwongen voelen om per se aan een ideaal te voldoen is dit toch wel een manier om heel zichtbaar te protesteren daartegen! Zelf voel ik dit niet zo, ook al zie ik echt wel in dat we nog steeds in een door mannen gedomineerde wereld leven. Toch denk ik dat we al erg veel hebben bereikt en persoonlijk zie ik vooral voordelen aan het vrouw zijn. Misschien dat ik wel zo denk omdat ik de dingen zoals gladde benen, hoge hakken en mooie make-up gewoon al heel leuk vind uit mijzelf. Ik vind het goed dat als vrouwen het er niet mee eens zijn ze er tegenin gaan, maar zelf voel ik het niet zo erg.

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    1. Ik ben blij dat je het interessant vindt! Ik ben ook zeker van mening dat beide kanten prima moeten zijn. Vrouwen die wél hun benen willen, moeten dit ook gewoon kunnen doen, maar andersom ook. Zonder raar aangekeken te worden. x

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  2. Ik snap dat er vrouwen zijn die dit nastreven, om te voorkomen dat vrouwen altijd maar beoordeeld worden op uiterlijk en of ze voldoen aan de "maatstaven". Zelf zou ik aan deze specifieke actie echter nooit meedoen (zeg nooit nooit...) omdat ik er echt van kan genieten als mijn benen glad en geschoren zijn, en ik me er zelf een stuk beter bij voel. En ik denk juist dat deze actie er is om te voorkomen dat vrouwen dingen doen waarbij ze zich eigenlijk niet op hun gemak voelen of onder druk van de samenleving. Ik vind het echt tof dat je hier aandacht aan hebt besteed! Vind dit soort dingen altijd heel interessant. X

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    1. Ik zie het mezelf inderdaad ook (nog??) niet aan meedoen. Helaas ben ik er ook te geconditioneerd voor. Dank je wel!! x

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  3. Ik had het ook al opgemerkt en naar de Tumblr gesurft. Ik vind het wel interessant, maar ik heb toch nog altijd het liefst mijn benen haarloos ;) Ik denk dat iedereen gewoon moet doen waar hij of zij zich het beste bij voelt. Anderzijds vind ik het belangrijk dat zowel mannen als vrouwen hun best doen om verzorgd voor te komen en daarmee hoop ik dat dit niet resulteert in een beweging waar alles kan en mag. Jezelf naturel mooi vinden, moet kunnen, maar ongewassen en onverzorgd buiten komen is daar dan geen synoniem voor. Haha ik ben hier al weer veel te ver aan het doordenken. Punt is dat ik zulke acties goed vind, zolang iedereen er zich goed bij voelt. ;)

    Liefs,
    Marlies - Golden Mirrors & Pink Bows

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    1. Ik vind het ook belangrijk dat ieder doet wat hij/zij wilt. Hygiene is uiteraard erg belangrijk, maar het hebben van (veel/zichtbaar) haar op je benen resulteert niet automatisch in onhygiënisch of ongewassen zijn. Alle mannen met behaarde benen zijn toch ook niet onhygiënisch? Dus ik vind dat die twee dingen toch wel los van elkaar staan (misschien bij extreme gevallen niet?). x

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  4. Ghoh, moeilijk eh... Aan de ene kant vind ik het echt erg dat er van vrouwen ZO veel verwacht wordt en dat we aan bijna onhaalbare normen moeten voldoen. Maar aan de andere kant wil ik ook voor mezelf er zo goed mogelijk uitzien, en dat betekent dus ook mijn benen mooi glad houden...

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    1. Dat snap ik heel goed, maar bewustwording is ook een mooie eerste stap, toch? ^^

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  5. Interesting take on things! I'm not offended by hair anything ..men or women. I prefer to be a ahem well groomed because I actually don't like the FEELING of hair on body parts besides my head! If anyone chooses to go au naturale so be it and i don't judge. Hairless skin just feels smoother to the touch to that I like..don't like moisturizing my legs and feel I'm running hair gel through them bahaha. Don't think most men will judge a women for having slightly hairy arms or legs. I think only when it becomes ultra hairy does it raise an eye brow and only bcoz we've been conditioned to equate it to something to do with primal beings. ..i think! May have gone totally off track but...I'm on vacation I'm allowed lol.

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    1. I like that you don't judge.. I think that, in the end, it is the most important bit. Women (or men) should not be forced or shamed into (not) doing something, but should be free to do as they please.. without automatically being seen as disgusting or like they don't take care of themselves.

      Oh, you are on vacation? That is lovely... I wish you lots of fun and relaxation! x

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  6. i never really thought about this deeply enough. its true we live in a world where society set a high standard for beauty and in many ways it could be bad. so i appreciate WANG and you for taking a stand on this. its interesting how they specifically targeted not shaving the legs for their campaign tho. i would prefer it to be something else. but i guess its working cause it caught my attention :)

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    1. I think august will be all about not shaving your armpits. Would you prefer those? Haha. I think I would personally not, because august is a bloody hot month.. :P so I'd think that's bad timing to walk around with hair arm pits :P. I am glad it caught your attention! x

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  7. Fijn om eens een opinie te lezen! :)

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  8. Heb het zien voorbijkomen maar het is toch niet echt iets voor mij :p Ben ook niet zo te vinden voor het hele feministische gedoe, maarja iedereen zijn mening :)

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  9. So very interesting! I think the concept is right, when you think about it, why should women remove hair. I know for certain hair removal is a very ancient practice at least in South America where I cmoe from, and before America colonization, including nomade tribes, who were considered less developped socially speaking, women would remove their body hair completely! So I guess there is not only capitalism or beauty marketing for this. It is a very deep cutural thing, like the fact that women took care of children and men went to hunt, that comes from Neanderthal era! it is very difficult to revert. While I do not feel offended or shcocked at all if women do not remove their body hair, I actually prefer my legs without hair, but I don't think I feel any preasure to do it. If once I forget or don't have the time that would not stop me from wearing shorts or skirts!

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