When I was young, I shaved my legs every day; EVERY day. Spring, Summer, Autumn, AND Winter; every day. The media told me that having smooth, moisturized, soft legs was an important part of being pretty – and as a teenager and young person I bought into it. I believed the myth of beauty society fed me.
As I came into adulthood, I still shaved – though not with the same frequency. I spent a great deal of my time as a young adult sick and in pain… pretty just wasn’t as important when you hurt so bad that you can’t get up and down stairs without dissolving into tears. But I still shaved and moisturized. It was part of being a girl. We couldn’t have people thinking I actually grew hair on my legs.
Then I became a Mom. And yes, even then I shaved my legs. By then it was just one of those chores you do. Going swimming? Better shave. Wearing shorts or a skirt? Better shave. Just part of the self-grooming routine. Something I didn’t think about. Something I did in a rather robotic fashion, another member of the trained masses.
I want my daughter to grow up knowing these things are choices – even if we don’t always feel they are. Not all Women shave. In some parts of the world it would seem odd to do so. My daughter believed this until she was three. Then one day she laughed, astonished, at the ridiculous notion that a Woman could choose not to shave. That was the day I stopped shaving my legs.
Lily-Ann has other Women in her life who are non-shavers, my sister for one. But clearly this was something she needed to see with more frequency. It may seem like a small thing, but I needed her to know that we have a choice. We don’t have to shave. We don’t have to buy into the view of beauty that the media is selling, we can choose something different.
I may be the odd Woman out here in North America, sporting hairy legs all year long – without shame and, quite frankly, with a little pride. And yes, it may seem like a strange thing to take a stand on… but I couldn’t let my daughter grow up thinking she has no choice, that she has to go along with whatever ideals society sets before her.
She has options and choices. We all do.
Sure, I could have kept on shaving – but she shocked me out of it. Sometimes, that’s what we need. Something to shock us out of that robotic state we get lulled into. Something to bring us back into personhood. A sudden splash of cold water, a bucketfull dumped on us while we lay half asleep, lounging in the sun. Something to remind us we’re alive, and we have the right to make these seemingly small, seemingly insignificant, choices for ourselves. And sometimes, those small choices end up being some of the biggest.
As of yesterday afternoon, my Power of SHe project has made it’s way onto facebook. This? This is your official invitation. 🙂
For those of you who’ve been following this blog for some time know all about the Power of SHe, for those who don’t, here’s the press bio for my little art instillation: The Power of SHe is about how we, as self-identified Women, define ourselves in light of how society and the media seek to define and confine us.
I’ve been working on the Power of SHe for some time now. It’s been exhibited twice, and continues to grow. I believe it is a very important body of work, and something we desperately need. So I hope you’ll join us as the journey continues. The more the merrier. Let’s force a shift from art project to movement. We can make change happen!
Well, we’re here! The sixteenth annual Breaking the Silence conference at the University of Saskatchewan is tomorrow! There is still time to register – though not much. So if you haven’t done so, get’r done! There really is no time left. Get your registration done tonight! All the details are here: http://www.usask.ca/education/breaking-the-silence/index.php
And because you asked for it, I’ll be doing my session on understanding sex, gender, and orientation TWICE. That means you’ve got an extra opportunity to get in on this discussion if you missed it last year. And even if you did get in last year, because I conduct it as a discussion, it will never be the same as where we go is truly directed by YOU.
Okay… now for a few fun pictures. 😉
It was 80’s day at Kid kid’s school today. Normally I’m all for spirit days and getting dressed up. But an 80’s day? Two thirds of everything that the cool kids are wearing these days are totally 80’s inspired – which means every day is 80’s day. Seriously, every item the girl wore was out of her usual wardrobe.
That said… the 80’s were about excess… so we loaded on the bangles, we loaded on the belts, we loaded on the hair spray… and we added slouch socks – because that’s one style that didn’t make it back. And because it’s Thursday, that meant that I had to get dressed up too, after all I couldn’t spend the afternoon at school and NOT take part in 80’s day. LOL So I found the perfect jacket (and stuffed socks under my bra straps to mimic shoulder pads), pulled on some black leggings, a gold lamé skirt, and again with the slouch socks. Then we did our hair and make-up… everything in excess! It was great. 😀