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!