It's starting to feel like summer here in the Bay Area, which makes young women's minds turn to...leg hair. Of course. The Hobbit Acceptance Project, by the way, is almost a year old now. I can finally say that my leg and armpit hair look normal to me...like part of my body, rather than some hideous alien invader. But this did take quite a while--at least six months.
I don't feel comfortable being hairy at work...maybe there are some jobs where it would be seen as okay, but mine wouldn't be counted among those. The past couple of weekends, I did have hairy legs on display, to no incident. That said though, if you can't have hairy legs at an Occupy picnic, a feminist meeting, or a vegan-cheese-buying expedition, where can you have them? Being hairy does require more thought for me. Some days I struggle with more anxiety than others, and can feel like everyone is staring at me. I have to check in with myself about how much I want to stand out or blend in, based on my emotional state and the nature of the day's activities.
And here's a post about someone doing a similar project, although theirs is called "The Experiment". Like this person, I was also told by a well-meaning relative to delay shaving my legs, since "once you start, you can't stop!" Free choice, eh? I think I was around 13. Maybe for the next generation, we can move into, "Well, if you don't want kids to make fun of you, you might want to shave, but once you're an adult, it'll be easier to do what you want." It's probably a good thing that I shaved as a teen, since the last thing I needed was one more reason to be bullied.
Elsewhere on the 'net, I heard a woman mention that reading stories from genderqueer people helped her to accept her body hair. To that I can say: Indeed. Reading the blog My Gender is Kittens, where the writer documents what they call a "femme beard", helped me move towards accepting my own. Believe it or not, I don't have any kind of mustache. But if you do...Majestic Legay. Style icon right there.
"It feels like the most femme thing for me...it's like resistance to the shame that I was made to feel because I had hair on my face...this mustache for me is a form of resistance...It's been a process of healing."