Fun fact! I’m locked in my deathtrap house after my keys have gone walkabouts. So, after peeling through the rubbish bin and turning over my entire home to no luck, I thought I’d turn my attention to some of the common accusations/misconceptions that have cropped up on our Twitter and Tumblr feeds since Those Pesky Dames were on the television.
After all, nothing draws out people’s knee jerk prejudices like 140 characters or anonymity and I’m here to hulk smash them a bit.
Accusation #1: ‘I notice that they all have perfect eyebrows’/’Why are they still wearing make up if they are so feminist?’
Ah, the snide remark that echoes loudly whenever a feminist picks up a cupcake recipe book or wears heels. If you deviate from the bra-burning harpie stereotype (which is a myth in itself, by the way) then you must be a hypocrite.
The assumption here is that if we identify as feminist and reject one aspect of femininity then we have to reject them all, otherwise we’re just full of shit, right? Everyone knows that the first step of the feminist induction ceremony is an outright ban on anything considered traditionally feminine. If you’re a feminist then you’ve made your choice and you’re not allowed pretty, shiny girl toys.
Here’s the thing: We’re not playing an all or nothing game here. My body hair is just another choice I make about my appearance. Sometimes I will feel femme, sometimes I’ll get mistaken for Justin Bieber. Sometimes I’ll want to be smothered in make up, others I like to go bare. Red changes to blonde, clothes styles change, body ideals change.
Our external appearances, ultimately, reflect very little about our political outlook, our gender or our sexuality. Yes, chances are you’ll use your body or consumption choices as a poster board for your personality and ideas but really, there’s nothing to stop a woman who doesn’t identify as feminist from growing their natural hair if it’s going to help her overcome hang ups about her body. Growing body hair is considered to be a radical, feminist act but, actually, most of the Dames did it for very personal body confidence reasons, not as a fuck you to the patriarchy. We’re allowed to pick and choose what we do with our bodies and that does not undermine our political message.
#2 ‘Why are they wearing tights if they are so proud?’/’Notice how they hesitated about going swimming, they can’t be that confident’
We never claimed to be the most confident people in the world. Everyone gets insecurities every now and then and our hang ups about going swimming were about things other than our body hair. I’m not a very proficient swimmer and have had bad experiences in pools.
Besides, I hate to burst your bubble but this is TV we’re talking about, we had agreed to go swimming two days before that scene was shot. As for the tights thing, well, it was February. I know my legs can get hairy sometimes but they aren’t sufficient insulation against wind, rain, snow and homes with broken heating.
#3 ‘Hair is unhygienic’/’it’s smelly’
Maybe in the 19th century when people bathed yearly and got body lice and even then it didn’t have much to do with the hair. Your natural body hair will not make you smellier or lessen your standards of hygiene. If you’re that nervous, use deodorant or perfume.
#4 ‘Do they even have boyfriends?’/’Don’t their boyfriends mind?’
1) Don’t assume that I’m straight. 2) Having a boyfriend is not a way of confirming social status or worth, my opinion is still valid when I’m single. 3) Some of us have boyfriends, they don’t mind. 4) Even if they did mind, who gives a shit? It’s my body and I will not, cannot let someone else’s opinion trump my own. I have been there and it’s hell.
#5 ‘I’m a bad feminist’
No, you’re really not. Body hair isn’t automatically a feminist issue. Expectations of beauty and the worth that people disproportionately put on the looks of women is. You’d only be a bad feminist if you were shaming other women for the way they look.
#6 ‘You seem like the coolest bunch of girls- I’d love to be part of your gang’
Be part of our gang! It’s not hard, just comment or make a video or generally be dame-y and awesome!
Added note from Becca: Holly wrote this a couple of days ago, way before my video going over the same criticisms/questions, but didn’t have time to get it up. I promised I’d post it up for her yesterday but then didn’t manage too ‘cause I’m a bit of an disorganised muppet (sorry Holly!) Just so we’re all clear on that. xxxxx