The Fuzzy Femme Project

I, like many other femmes, have a complicated relationship with my hair and my identity is all tangled up with it. As I previously mentioned, femme didn’t always fit. In my narrow idea of what a femme was, there wasn’t room for short-haired tough girls like me. Once I discovered the depth and range of the femme community and realized that femme is so much more than the length of your hair, I embraced my femmeninity, rough edges and all. I found a space for myself in femme and allowed myself to stretch out and fully explore it. I fell in love with the contradictions within myself, short hair paired with dramatic, highly-shadowed eyes complete with outrageous lashes; soft, flowy dresses offset by tattoo-filled arms and bitten fingernails; tulle skirts and motorcycle boots.

Most recently, I’ve begun to entertain the idea of body hair. I have been removing the hair on my legs and underarms since I was 12 or 13. I’ve shaved and waxed. I tried Nair and Nads (remember that awful stuff?). I even have an epilator (aka The Torture Device). As a longtime feminist, I recognize the absurdity of telling a woman she must practically mutilate herself to appear more feminine and yet I’ve continued this “beauty” ritual for 20 some years. For a long time I did it because I bought into that lie but later it was more about personal aesthetics and comfort (which, I must add, is a very valid reason for depilating and should be a personal choice for everyone rather than a societal mandate).  Simply put, I hated the way prickly stubble felt on my legs and under my arms. But recently, I’ve started to shave less and less and have found that hair to be less bothersome than I used to. So I’ve decided to try an experiment with myself. I am going to stop shaving. Bring on the hairy pits and fuzzy legs.

Now I am under no delusion that I am somehow unique or pioneering with this endeavor as there are loads of hairy femmes out there. Rather, this project is an expression of gratitude to those femmes for providing inspiration and giving me the courage to broaden my own performance of femme. I want to push my own limits and comfort level and further bleed the edges of femme.

Here is the starting point of what I am calling my Fuzzy Femme Project. As the weeks progress, I’ll update with photos and thoughts. Stay tuned!

7 responses to “The Fuzzy Femme Project

  1. SHAVING IS SO EXPENSIVE. I have nothing profound to offer, but that’s how I feel about it. Still, I shave. What a sucker.

  2. Hi staci! I have only recently added and read some of your blog, but I am touched and excited that you would post your thoughts on body hair. Such a fascinating topic.

    While I don’t identify as femme, I can commiserate with the struggle you describe in terms of being bio female and embracing body hair. Coming to this choice is a very difficult internal process. Additionally, I was unprepared for the amount of attention it would garner when I was in public, even more so than my public expressions of homosexuality, which still surprises me. That people (oh let’s be honest, I’m mainly talking about random guys here) are more offended by leg hair than gayness is a simultaneous sad and awesome thing. Yay for more gay tolerance. Boo for anti-body hair hatred.

    The longer my hair grew, the more aware I became of how many women were shaving, even “stereotypically” butch women. As a soft butch, I continue to find this alarming and puzzling. It raises some serious questions for me, like what body hair stands for. Or why it is that body hair is possibly in the same camp as binding or packing. Or what happened to the overlap between naturalism and feminism…

    Yesterday, I decided to get a tattoo on my calf and shaved my legs for the first time in 2 years. I am slightly embarrassed at how good it feels to pass in public unnoticed again. I admire your courage and wish you the best of luck with this new adventure. I do hope you keep us posted on your observations, as it would be really intriguing to get a femme’s perspective on the issue.

    • Hi! Thanks for reading and for your kind words. What sparked this project was hearing a friend say that her family was embarrassed to be seen with her because of her body hair. I was shocked that anyone, especially someone’s own biological family, could have such a strong reaction to body hair. It also made me realize that I obviously had underlying issues with body hair myself if, even while fully supportive of friends’ unshaven legs and pits, I couldn’t bring myself to stop shaving. I had to ask myself why? And I wanted to explore it.

      I will definitely be updating on this topic as the weeks go by.

  3. Hi Staci, just wanted to tell you that I think what you are doing is brave and awesome. Can’t wait to see the updates.

    Work it girl!

  4. Hi!
    I’m new to your blog, too, but this entry came at an amazing time – my friend and I were just having a discussion about body sovereignty and body hair. I am interested in hearing more about your journey with body hair – I am a queer femme, and can’t bring myself to stop shaving but I am supportive and proud of friends who proudly have body hair!
    Good luck & enjoy the experience!

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