[personal profile] imagines
I have been thinking about this for a time, and right now I have a pounding headache and I'm feeling pissed off at culture, so the time is right to condense my thoughts.

It is not my obligation to adhere to the prevailing cultural standards of female beauty so that other people will feel aesthetic pleasure upon looking at me.

Sure, I can do it if I want to. Sometimes I like to put on eyeliner--because I have some fucking stunning eyes and sometimes it's fun to make them stand out. But you'll never catch me in foundation or lipstick, because the feel of these things on my skin is repellent to me. Foundation feels like a mask, even in the lightest application; lipstick feels slimy, no matter the brand. I am most certainly not saying that other people shouldn't wear these products, but I will argue to the end that it is not my responsibility to "cover my flaws" or color my lips so that other people will be pleased by my appearance.

Sometimes I like to put on a skirt. Yeah, you read that right. I found the most kickass skirt a few weeks ago. I have no idea how to talk about skirts, or I'd describe it, but rest assured it's awesome. And it looks awesome ON me, because I wear it my way, which is with Converse and tights and shorts and a t-shirt. This skirt does not prevent me from engaging in any activity whatsoever, which is one of my zillion reasons for not wearing skirts in general. (My rule of thumb for clothing is as follows: Could I wear this while running, climbing, and turning somersaults? If not, is it easily removed so that I could do these things? If not, I just don't wear it. Period.) I wear this skirt, in short, because I like it. I wear it because it makes me happy.

But here are two things that I don't do and don't expect to ever do again: shave or wear bras. Again, I note, I am not saying and never will say "I do this and SO SHOULD YOU." I will say "I do this and here is why." And I will also critique cultural expectations that can lead one to believe they should do these things no matter what. For years I believed that I was doing these things for myself. I had buried my discomfort, and I had convinced myself that culture hadn't affected me, that I was doing it because I wanted to and for no other reason.

And then there was the day I finally stopped to think about shaving cuts. How much they hurt. How much they bled. How red and swollen and scabby and awful they looked. How they stung when they happened, and how they itched as they healed. How I always got them on the backs of my knees, no matter how careful I was.

I realised I didn't enjoy shaving. No, it wasn't any fun to drag a sharp blade over my delicate skin. To do it twice if necessary, because I couldn't stand the feeling of scratchy stubble. To bend into pretzels to get every inch of my legs, and then find stray hairs anyway, hours after I'd finished. To never, ever be able to stop, because the look and feel of stubble was worse than having hair in the first place.

So I just quit. I threw out my razors. I started wearing jeans or tights all the time, because yes--I firmly believe it is not my obligation to follow the standard, but I also don't have the courage yet to uncover my legs. I'm working on that. I think I will get there someday. I'm somewhere in between "giving a fuck" and "not giving a fuck." I guess I "sort of give a fuck," enough to stop me from baring my skin. But every summer, I do it just a little more. I find friends who won't care, and I wear shorts when I hang out with them. This is what works for me at the moment. The big thing is that I'm still not shaving.

Once, last year, I got freaked about my underarm hair and shaved it off. And then I felt like a plucked bird, and it itched like hell when it grew back, and that was enough to convince me that shaving is not, has never been, and never will be for me. Hair is fine on my head. Hair is fine on my arms. Who the fuck is society to tell me that it's not fine on my legs and under my arms? Did you know that women in modern history did not shave until a fucking advertiser realised they could get more money if men AND women shaved? This isn't even culturally-constructed; it was nothing more than a campaign to convince women to spend more money. In no time at all, in the space of a couple of years, advertising had successfully convinced women that body hair was unfeminine. If you ever need an example of the incredible power that advertising has on culture, there you go.

(I think, once I've got some disposable income again, that I'm going to buy some of that pubic hair dye and try it out on my underarm hair. If ever there was a way to tell the world that I didn't forget to shave, it's there on purpose, it's dying it purple.)

So, yeah. I hate shaving. I won't do it. For me, it is a total waste of money and of resources: cans of shaving cream! ever more high-tech razors! not to mention band-aids! It is also a waste of my time, and the single benefit it offers me? The cultural freedom to bare my legs. And this is why I want to take back my freedom to bare my legs, because culture's got me so damn scared I won't wear shorts if I don't have tights on underneath. Who the fuck is culture, to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body? I cannot tell you how angry this makes me.

Now, as for bras--I'm talking about regular bras here; I'll get to sports bras in a minute. I find this a little less black-and-white, because I believe the people who tell me that bras make them more comfortable. Therefore, I ask you to believe me when I tell you that they make me uncomfortable. First of all, they waste my money. All that cash for a contraption that...HOLDS UP MY BREASTS? Okay, why? Why do I want to do that? Who decided that the proper location for a set of breasts is several inches higher than where they'd be normally? Cultural standard ahoy: "sagging" breasts are ugly. So I have to ask, ugly to whom? Not to me. I don't give a shit. It isn't my obligation to strap up part of my anatomy so that other people will be happy with how I look. I mean, what the fuck?

Second of all, bras are not necessary for me. I experience no pain from not wearing a bra, whereas I used to experience a hell of a lot when I wore one. Sorry, culture, but I have no interest in strapping my breasts to my shoulders and ribcage. That hurts. I have ligaments for holding up my breasts, and so far they're doing just fine.

Okay, sports bras! I'd love to have one of these, actually, but only because it would be slightly more comfortable than wearing a binder. I cannot, however, seem to find one that does not insist on being uplifting. I want compression, not enhancement, but because I'm probably a C cup at least, sports bras seem to think I don't exist. Or that my ribcage is bigger than it is, or smaller than it is. For the time being, I don't actually care that much. I run, dance, and skate braless; it has yet to cause me any problems. (Once in awhile, if I'm planning to be very active, I'll just wear a binder. And I will do this until I find the Sports Bra What Doesn't Seem to Exist.) I suspect it makes other people uncomfortable (there's those other people again), because ohmygod, BREASTS MOVE JUST LIKE ANY OTHER FATTY TISSUE!! Shock! Horror!

Whatever. Those people are really not my problem. If someone is so distracted by breasts that move that they can't concentrate on whatever the hell they're supposed to be doing instead, that's actually very fucking creepy. I'm not brafree for their enjoyment, and I'm not brafree to be shocking; I'm brafree because I fucking hate wearing bras. By the by, it's also not my problem that the fat on my thighs, calves, and arms moves when I move. My body stores fat, because it is supposed to; said fat will move if I do. Transfer of kinetic energy in the HOUSE.

In short: my body doesn't need to be supported, constrained, covered, repaired, smoothed, enhanced, or otherwise modified so that other people can enjoy looking at me.

Later, I will likely have more to say on this topic. I've just hit the chapter on second-wave feminism in one of my textbooks for Women in History, and oh, am I ever having a good time. Not one single history book I have ever read has even mentioned second-wave feminism--not even with a passing reference. And yet this era has to be one of the most influential in terms of how women think about themselves. It is my philosophical inheritance, and I am proud to learn about it so that I can own it.

In a fit of something or other, I'm going to unlock this for now. Do what you will.

Date: 2010-04-22 04:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daikenkai.livejournal.com
guuuuurl, A+ post.

I have finally started wearing makeup for myself, not for other people and I feel better that way. I don't cake it on, but I wear what feels comfortable to me. I can't wear a lot of mascara because I have such long eyelashes that it rubs against my brows and it just... a strange feeling. XD But now I rarely leave the house without makeup and that's because it makes me feel better, not because someone told me to. It feels. SO. NICE. goddamn.

I'm beginning to think like you. I pretty much ONLY wear a bra if I am going out in public because they're really just so big that it makes me uncomfortable when I see people staring at them. Victoria's Secret, thank the gods, have some awesome bras or else I would probably BECOME braless. XD I CANNOT sleep in a bra. Can. Not. Do it. I have a permanent red mark right around where my ribcage from doing that when I was younger and I fucking hate it. tbh, bras really do cause more discomfort than comfort. :x i still wear them, though. wtf. It's weird: I can't wear one when I sleep, but I can't not wear one when I go out.

re: sports bras! MTE BB. I hate sports bras that try to lift you up because that's not what they're for. They're for COMPRESSING you so you DON'T move and CAN be active. -_- I had the most amazing sports bra ever a few years ago but my tits went up a cup size and a half so I can't wear it anymore. It was completely compressing, completely comfortable, and a wonderful addition to the chest binding I did when I crossplayed.

actually... whenever I last saw you it totally like didn't even cross my mind that you were braless! I knew at the back of my mind, but I didn't notice. And I was not bothered in the slightest when I realized that you are braless, because you are still Kit and you are still Awesome.

The shaving thing... I have mixed feelings about it. I really usually only shave my legs when I'm baring my legs, because, again, I don't like the looks I get from people (makes me v. uncomfortable) and I just feel better if they're shaved. In the winter, however? FUCK THAT SHIT. I don't shave my legs from like September - January and I don't give a flying fuck. I never shave in the winter because 1) it adds warmth 2) no one's going to be seeing my legs because they are covered up and because I just plain don't want to.

I'm sure I probably seem all gross and wishy-washy, but eh. idgaf :D

love you bb, keep it the FUCK up. ♥♥
Edited Date: 2010-04-22 04:53 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-04-22 05:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astro_knight.livejournal.com
Do people sleep with their bras on? Is it common? None of the women in my family do, so I have no idea. It sounds awful! D:

Date: 2010-04-22 07:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daikenkai.livejournal.com
Apparently it IS common! A lot of girls I know sleep with their bras on. I don't know how they do it. D:

Date: 2010-04-23 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] havocmangawip.livejournal.com
Oh ick sleeping with bras on.

When I moved to Syracuse and even before, it was "odd" that I didn't sleep with panties on.

Hello hi? YOU NEED TO BREATHE!

(Yes, at 8 I said, "Mom says that your body needs to breathe." as the other little girls were getting into night gowns and clean panties at a slumber party.)

Date: 2010-04-23 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daikenkai.livejournal.com
ikr? cannot. do it.

About once a week I sleep without panties on, because I read that it's good for you and plus it feels good. :)

Date: 2010-04-23 04:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] havocmangawip.livejournal.com
Friends of mine who have been assaulted NEED to wear them, for the extra protection.

Other than that, I cannot see why.

Though I'm bad... I'll wear those "man style pajamas" for lounging and wear the shirt part for sleep but kick the pants off next to my bed to be put on at the "staggering into the kitchen for coffee and letting the dogs out phase".

In short... I like the naked time. Not that I'm utterly about people seeing the naked time... but when I've got the place to myself, I DO "prance about" after my shower air drying. (That's a #1 reason why I like to live alone.)

Date: 2010-04-22 01:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blindmadness.livejournal.com
The shaving thing... I have mixed feelings about it. I really usually only shave my legs when I'm baring my legs, because, again, I don't like the looks I get from people (makes me v. uncomfortable) and I just feel better if they're shaved. In the winter, however? FUCK THAT SHIT. I don't shave my legs from like September - January and I don't give a flying fuck. I never shave in the winter because 1) it adds warmth 2) no one's going to be seeing my legs because they are covered up and because I just plain don't want to.

IAWTC! A fair part of why I even bother shaving to begin with is just -- I'm so insecure as is, I really don't need to feel worse by people looking at me sideways for things? Or even feeling like they are, even if they're not? And I realize this isn't my problem, it's theirs, but maybe in the future I'll have the confidence to ignore this. For now, though? No damn way.

But FUCK YEAH NO SHAVING WHEN PEOPLE WON'T SEE THEM ANYWAY AND FOR ADDED WARMTH! \o/ The only reason I ever bother even a little bit is because I enjoy my boyfriend touching my bare skin more than I do when it's hairy. >__> He doesn't seem to care, happily, but it just feels a lot nicer that way. Still, that's like -- maybe once a month, if that? So yeah, AGREED.

Date: 2010-04-22 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daikenkai.livejournal.com
IAWTC! A fair part of why I even bother shaving to begin with is just -- I'm so insecure as is, I really don't need to feel worse by people looking at me sideways for things? Or even feeling like they are, even if they're not? And I realize this isn't my problem, it's theirs, but maybe in the future I'll have the confidence to ignore this. For now, though? No damn way.
MTE.

YESSS THIS. THIS SO MUCH. When I know no one's going to be seeing my legs, I don't give a fuck and I don't shave. I don't have a significant other or anyone to ~touch my legs, but the bare feeling is nice sometimes~ I pretty much shave once a month, too. XD

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