What does sex have to do with…. Hair?

Hair and shaving in general helps define gender norms. Society says that women should have long hair on their head but should have hair nowhere else. It reinforces the idea that women should be innocent and pure, just like a child. Society wants women to express their sexuality but not act upon it. Women are supposed to be innocent yet seductive at the same time. They are supposed to be sexual objects rather than sexual subjects. The “good girl” ideal is brought up in “Adolescent Girls’ Sexuality”; “if girls want to be considered good, nice or even normal, adolescent girls are not (really) supposed to have sexual feelings of their own”(p.154). Young girls bodies are supposed to be viewed upon as desirable, yet not engage in their own desires. To keep this sexual image up, girls turn to shaving their legs. Shaving is just another way of society expecting women to change their outward appearance to make their bodies easier to identity. Shaving adds target these beliefs by showing women with long flowing hair shaving their legs in very seductive ways. Long hair is a defining characteristic that is used to show which gender you associate with. Women with short hair are sometimes seen as elderly or a “dyke”. Short hair has become less of a stereotype due to a trend in famous actresses cutting their hair off.


While on women lack of body hair shows femininity, on men it is the opposite. The gender norms for men say to be hairy is to show their masculinity. As it talked about in “Sexualizing Asian Male Bodies”, hairless bodies are seen to be feminine, homosexual or asexual. The desexualizing of Asian men is due to their “softness” The importance correlation between body and masculinity are clear. To be masculine every part of your body needs to match expectations. Just like females the amount of hair that is on your body is how people judge what sex you are. Men with long hair on their head and no hair on their legs are viewed as homosexual because society places people in binaries based on gender, sex and sexuality. Due to society connecting sexuality to masculinity, once act can cause men to be seen as homosexual. If men aren’t explicitly masculine, they are right away viewed as the opposite of that, which is feminine .


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