Today's best comments: Stellar. Eloquent. Thoughtful.
Best Comment Of The Day, in response to Britney's Unretouched Photos From Candie's Ads:
Oh baby baby
Of course I should have known
That thighs aren't allowed here
Oh baby baby
I shouldn't have let them show
And now they've gone and shrunk them
My calves and butt
Aren't good enough (and I)
I must confess
I still have knees (still have knees)
But when I'm ‘Shopped, I lose my thighs
Decrease my si-i-i-ze
Shrink me baby one more time!
• Best Comment Of The Day, in response to Teen Blogger Tavi Longs For Another Sassy Magazine
That poor girl is into something y'all loved when you were her age. Quit raggin on Tavi! Why on earth can't some kid say something earnest about something she admires without a bunch of ornery old crones like us getting all up in her business about it?
And besides, what magazines do you guys suggest she get into? She can't spend her entire month sitting on her hands waiting for Bust to come out.
I'm on your side, Tavi. And if you do ever start your own magazine, internet or published, I'll write articles for you all damn day long.
• Best Comment Of The Day, in response to Leg Work: Body Hair Is Not Always A Statement:
Yeah I wish I lived in a world in which shaving or not shaving wasn't political. But it is.
Not shaving my legs is a political act because when people see my long-ass leg and armpit hair, their assumptions about women, beauty, norms, bodies, etc are challenged. I wish this was not the case. But it is. I know this because of the shit I do get when someone notices, or the approval I get from others. People are offended by my armpit hair—when someone gets offended by a person's choice to simply exist as herself without adjusting herself to adhere to standards (of anything), that choice becomes political. Not shaving isn't political in certain circles (like your average seven sisters college), but in mainstream society, it is.
Choosing to shave your legs is a political statement. It's just so normalized and naturalized that people forget that it's a political statement. Wearing a white dress at a wedding is political, getting married to a man is political, driving a car is political, getting a job at wal-mart is political. We live in a world in which women's bodies are fodder for politics, for power, for the enforcement of social hierarchies and privileges. Pretty much everything we do that has any impact on the world—passive or active—is political. That's what happens when you're an oppressed class.
The gay teenager on Glee? A political choice, to put a gay kid on tv. His friendship with an upper-middle class black girl? Political. The abstinence club leader getting pregnant? Political.
Just because we want to think that these choices are "personal" or whatever doesn't mean that they actually are. Whenever I leave my house, I'm a mashup of perpetuations and subversions of the normative paradigms of femininity, capitalism, race, whatever. Each choice I make, or don't make, or forget to make, has an impact on my world. Even my choice to stay inside and not interact with the world is political. Maybe it's not motivated by political goals, but it's effect is still political. When women say that they shave their legs because they're making a personal decision about their body, and it has nothing to do with politics, they're lying, naive, or willfully ignorant. Maybe they are doing it because it feels nice, or because they're Olympic swimmers, or because they have a weird disease in which they grow purple warts all over their knees if they don't shave. That doesn't make it any less political. When you adhere to the beauty standard, you are creating/perpetuating/complicit in the beauty standard. It sucks. I wish it wasn't true. But it is! And you can say that you don't care if other women shave their legs, and I believe you. I doubt anyone on Jezebel cares much about the state of my fucking armpit hair. If anyone out there cared, it would be weird. It is weird to me that people care about my armpit hair. But just because I wish they didn't, or I think it's weird, doesn't mean that the implications of my body hair go away. And just because a person who does shave doesn't care if I don't, it doesn't make her choice to shave (for whatever reason) (and thus, accidentally or not, adhere to the beauty standard/femininity standard) any less political, or have any less impact on my life.
The beauty standard is real, it exists, and if you don't adhere to it your life is harder. It's harder to get a job if you have hairy armpits and your job includes being pretty and wearing tank tops. I bet that you can't have hairy armpits and work at Abercrombie, and I bet if you're a lawyer and you have really visibly hairy legs, it's harder than if you shaved. But just because you have to shave in order to live, or because you have to eat food grown with pesticides/eat meat to live/wear clothes made by children in a factory/drive an SUV/live in the suburbs/walk around being caucasion, doesn't mean that any of those things are just "personal." Nothing is just personal.
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