The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Sex Column Reinforces Double Standard

3 min read


The following letter is a response to “Sexclamations” (The Bullet, Sept. 27, 2007):

By now, I think it’s safe to say that everyone knows that “Sexclamations” is the worst part of the Bullet. It has proved repeatedly to be gossipy, sexist, and offensive, and has never provided useful information or well-thought out opinions about sex.
In the Sept. 27 “Sexclamations” article, writer Kelsey Clark not only distastefully criticized men’s choices to shave their balls, but she made hypocritical and unexamined statements about body hair in general, which myself and many others have agreed is quite offensive.
In reference to the fact that women shaving their body hair is seen as normal and necessary in our society while men shaving their body hair is seen as unnecessary and “unnatural,” Clark wrote, “I know that, in the name of feminism and equality, I should be opposed to double standards like this, but quite frankly I support this one.”
While Clark is certainly entitled to her opinion and is allowed to admit to being hypocritical and unexamined in her views, her next statements which are supposed to explain her stance are just offensive and untrue.
Clark’s assertion that “hair is masculine, normal and reassuring” is nothing but a socially-constructed sexist stereotype. Everyone adult, male and female, has body hair. Saying that hair is “masculine” would mean that all women develop this masculine trait during puberty…and that the only solution is to shave it all off? I don’t think so.
Grown women have body hair, just like men, and I find it ridiculous that considering how little body hair women usually have compared to men, women are made to feel that this natural part of their body is “unnatural” and disgusting for some reason. The whole argument just doesn’t make any sense and is oppressive to women in several ways.
First of all, telling all women they must shave their body hair off is basically telling them that there is something fundamentally wrong with all women’s bodies. Does that sound fair?
Secondly, I believe that the obsession in our culture with hairless women is disturbing considering the fact that only little girls are naturally hairless. I see the attempt to make all grown women hairless not only as disturbing sexually, but also oppressive. It is just another way to keep women from ever really growing up and being comfortable with their bodies. Basically, the idea that women need to constantly remove their body hair is just another example of how our society puts such an emphasis on women’s physical appearance, distracting women and men from the fact that women are actually human beings and are more than just a body.
Basically, no one should be pressured one way or the other about what to do with their body hair. It is a personal choice that people should be allowed to make without having to deal with irrational sexist stereotypes such as the ones reinforced and reproduced in “Sexclamations.”

Sylvia Sierra is a junior.