Missing the point of a feminist critique of waxing by at least a kilometre (and inventing a ‘feminist’ critique of tattoos and threesomes that never was)

// 10 October 2007

Today Regina Lynn posts about the non-event that was her decision to quit shaving her legs for a year, and then start again. But she also links to this ridiculous post which purports to puncture the bubble of the “rising chorus of so-called feminists and gender theorists are dissing women who make the “wrong” choices about” tattoos, nipple rings, pubic-hair shaving and ‘anus bleaching’. Apparently these “neo-feminists” also object to “anal sex, clitoral hood piercings, threesomes (with two women or two men)”.

Apparently there exist “body-modification fascists” – all of them women – who are ready to pouce down the throat of any female person who does these things. Worse still, these “so-called feminists” patronisingly put this all down to porn.

What complete nonsense. First off, not all the same thing! I don’t think that feminists who do criticise the practice of hair removal equate it with piercings, tattoos, threesomes, or, indeed, anal sex. One has to wonder if Dr Marty Klien has ever spoken to a feminist about these topics, or ever met one.

Then we move on to the wildly naive, to put it mildly, view of the influence of porn:

Even women who don’t watch porn are supposedly controlled by it because their male partners watch it and persuade them to hate their bodies. And if their male partner doesn’t watch it, well his buddies do, and their desire for balloon-breasts or garter belts is somehow contagious, ultimately “pressuring” the woman.

How anyone in this day and age can expect that women are not influenced by porn, or could somehow miss out on noting porn-trends, is sort of amazing. Speaking as someone who isn’t actually anti-porn, I still can’t fathom how Dr Klien can get to this perspective.

Here is my favourite bit, which conjures up the image of the US calling an air strike on Europe over the supposed-wagging fingers of its supposedly-hairy citizenry:

Would we put up with Europeans thinking the same nonsense about American women shaving their legs or underarms?

No, this is:

I’m willing to believe that for some women, shaving, waxing, bleaching, implanting, and piercing themselves would be shameful or self-destructive. But these women—whether they are Mormons, Ann Coulter clones, or respected academic feminists—have no idea what their sisters are thinking or feeling when they make the same choices. Assuming that women can’t express lust or embrace their own sexual bodies is bad for everyone, male or female. Whether the assumption comes from the Right or the Left is irrelevant.

Because objecting to the idea that a woman has to shave, for example, is exactly the same as “assuming women can’t express lust or embrace their own sexual bodies”. One of the tasks of feminism is to counter the myth that women don’t enjoy or want sex. Indeed, it is Dr Klien who appears to think that you can’t express lust without all the porno trappings. By the way, love the lumping together of academic feminists and Mormons – both are presumably as sexless.

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