Shaving. Something that most girls have been raised to do. I myself feel embarrassed when I don’t shave and I’m wearing a dress or a tank top. But why? Why does it matter? Because of society’s definition of beauty. Look at any cover of a magazine and you see a bright, smiling girl with long hair, perfect skin, and most likely all photoshopped.
Today an NYTimes article reinforced the notions of cultural beauty when they wrote about the actress and comedian Mo’nique who has time and time again announced that she doesn’t shave. But because of her broadened fan base thanks to her Oscar win, she has been critiqued and ridiculed by the media for not shaving.
I find that the notion of “to shave or not to shave” goes back to the simplistic ideology of women being the pure ones. Being soft, smooth, and having a youthful look. It also coincides with the opposing model of men being the rough, rugged, and hairy beings that they are. Masculinity vs. femininity in the flesh. Just as women are chastised for not shaving, men are made fun of for shaving and grooming themselves. The term metrosexual has come along with this wave of men who like to take care of themselves and sometimes that means they shave, they straighten their hair, they tan, etc. No other model can be perfectly imagined than the boys from Jersey Shore.
To counteract this domineering metrosexual design, a newly coined term has come into play: “retrosexual”. It’s all about guys returning to that golden age of when men were men and women were housewives. This comes from the show Mad Men which capitalizes on the idea of men grooming themselves, but still being extremely masculine; they spend a certain amount of money not on tweezing, but going to a barber with a straight razor blade.
The image of beauty is skewed on both ends of the playing field. Anyone who has watched the show “The Price of Beauty” knows that women all around the world are compelled to high standards of what is physically acceptable. It would be nice to balance this television show with one where men are featured and are put up on a pedestal as well. By exposing all of the ridiculous things that women go through, it would not only opens our eyes, but I feel it would give us more choices.
I have a choice to not shave my legs, to not wear make-up, to vajazzle and to flip a finger to the media’s ideas of what is attractive.