There seems to be a discrepancy in the way people interpret the word “feminist.” There’s the more formal definition that scholars accept such as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” On the contrary there’s a social definition that everyday people use to interpret feminist: “A Nazi group of females who essentially hate the male species, don’t have sex, and want females to dominate everything in life.” Despite the variety individuals interpretations, everyone can agree that all feminist are fighting for equal gender rights and opportunity.
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 .
(Disclaimer: Throughout this post, I am speaking in terms of the primarily heterocentric culture with gender binaries that is American society).
Slut shaming is an awful social epidemic threatening the self-expression, social well-being, and mental health of many young women in today’s culture. It is the practice of insulting women using derogatory terms such as slut, whore, and skank. Now, what exactly is a slut, you ask? Excellent question. Colloquially, a “slut” is a promiscuous woman who sleeps around, behaves with “the morals of a man” or enjoys sex more than she is supposed to. Continue reading
Over the past two decades, The Cosby Show has become a staple in cultural discourse about family life and, by extension, how minorities are represented on television. One of the strongest characters to emerge from the show was Cliff Huxtable’s wife, Clair Huxtable. A lawyer, business woman, wife, and mother, Clair is characterized both as being strong and goal oriented, while at the same time, matronly and devoted.
The following clip shows Clair adhering to conventional gender roles, much to the surprise of Elvin.
In their new single, “Girl in a Country Song,” Maddie and Tae comically criticize the current phenomenon sweeping the nation known as “Bro Country,” by portraying a gender role-reversal.