My first thought when I woke up (late) this morning was “I’m revoking my late-night blogging privileges. I’ve got to get that post off my blog!”
But then I read all of your wonderful comments, and decided it was a good topic to discuss, even if I was uncomfortable.
This post is about what I’ve been going through lately, and I’m interested in feedback.
This is how I’m looking these days:
I’ve worked hard to be aware of patriarchal standards of beauty when they pop up in me, and fighting to reject them. This process has been occurring over several years. But I seem to have made remarkable progress in the last few months. If you’re not sitting down, please do so before continuing.
Oh, I guess you would be sitting at your computer, wouldn’t you? Still, brace yourself.
I’ve been going out in public without shaving my legs.
The horror! Now, before you get too excited, I’m still a shaver. I will still shave, but I no longer shave daily, and last time I was at the allergist’s, I realized I was out in public, wearing shorts, with leg hair that was long enough to be soft. I had a tiny attack of panic, then was so proud of myself that I wanted to tell someone. A scan of the room revealed that no one would be sympathetic. (Aside: I used to refuse to wear shorts when I was this fat. Who cares that heat makes me ill? Suffer fatty! So I’ve made progress there too. Go me!)
But wait, there’s more! I haven’t experienced that burning pain on my upper lip that comes from hair removal in I don’t know how long. My mustache is nice and dark. Again, don’t think I’ve conquered anything-I’m sure to burn the hair off again at some point. But to have gone this long without my Nair (burning-hair-off attack chemical) is amazing for me.
So in two areas, I have made positive progress. But I’m “letting myself go” in other ways, and I can’t figure out if I’m rejecting beauty standards or being lazy because I don’t feel well. Isn’t there something to be said for having a little pride in one’s appearance (as in not smelling terrible, and not looking like I’ve given up on doing laundry)? Is there? I’m not being sarcastic, I’d like to know.
I shower and wash my hair every day, and I use deodorant as well. But I do not comb my hair or dry it, and it forms an interesting and very messy frizz around my head. I’m wearing sloppy clothes, and I haven’t bothered to remove the Bumble fur from myself before leaving the apartment (white hair everywhere). I often have hay somewhere on my person, but hay removal is a losing battle. Whenever I eat, I end up wearing part of my meal. I’ve been this way since childhood, so I don’t think it will change. When I’m at the bank and see a juice stain on my shirt, I can’t even work up embarassment.
I realize that all of this could be happening because going anywhere takes so much effort that I can’t be bothered by my appearance. I also know that my friends will come rushing to my defense and tell me not to worry about a silly thing like appearance when I have bigger issues. Those friends would be right. But in a rambling way, I’m trying to ask a philosophical feminist question: where do we draw the line? Where does a woman find the line between rejecting patriarchal standards and how she is happy in her appearance? If I had energy to be outside working, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass how I looked then. But I’m talking about how I look when I run errands, or just in my daily life.
Really, feedback would be great-you will not offend me. Really, please let’s not start up attacking each other over appearance issues. We’re just talking about messy me.