“Women who shave are collaborators.” I recently heard this quoted as a tenet of feminsim, and it made me think.
I remember in the 1980’s observing and admiring a woman who had hairy legs. Years later I met her again and was disappointed to note her legs were clean-shaven. In the interim she’d gained a higher profile with media interest in her appearance and private life, and she’d compromised in an attempt to have the media focus on matters that were more important to her.
I stopped shaving under my arms thirty years ago, but until this year I’ve always shaved my legs in summer. A recent discussion with friends of a similar age suggested that facial hair is more of a concern these days than leg hair. Now I’ve stepped aside from paid work I no longer feel the need to have smooth legs. It’s one more freedom I’m enjoying, and I love being able to make such decisions without needing to consider what others may think.
I’ve never worn much make-up. I was lucky enough to have good skin, and eye makeup seemed superflous because I wore glasses. To me, makeup has always seemed a waste of time and money. I can remember in my late 30’s when going for a job interview I wrestled as to whether I should put on some lipstick, eventually did, and got the job. The person who interviewed me later told me I’d been recorded as “well-dressed, but casual”. Over the last couple of decades I worked in the not-for-profit sector where there is less emphasis on ‘perfect’ grooming. I’ve put on minimal makeup only when I knew I was going to be photographed or filmed. I have occasionally appeared on television with a naked face. My current lipstick is one that was passed on to me by a daughter nine years ago. I’m inclined to see makeup as putting on a mask, which goes against my values of openness and honesty.
Apparently Frenchmen prefer women with simple unadorned faces, i.e. no makeup. Has anyone surveyed people from other countries and genders?
I shudder when I see young women emerging from the new Mecca Maxima store, clutching bags of expensive beauty products, and hope they may soon have the confidence to eschew the extra layers.
“Society can exert pressure
but a clean face just might look fresher.”