I only shave one thing: the side of my head.
Which means I have armpit hair.
Some people hardly notice, others simply don’t care. Then there are some folks, like this gem of a human, who seem to see any woman with armpit hair as nothing more than a walking tuft of underarm fuzz with an ass. (Hm… anyone want to Google “objectification” and report back on the results?)
Never mind the fact that the ambulatory armpit fuzz in question just spent 15+ minutes in a wrestling ring dropkicking, chopping, and generally flying all over its opponents with a good deal of competence. Nope, that’s inconsequential. ARMPIT. HAIR. ON A WOMAN. GUYS. THAT’S GROSS.
Let’s start here. Misogyny and sexism are never ok. It is unacceptable to bag on anyone for their presentation of gender. What’s more, unless asked, it IS NOT your place as a dude to sit and pass judgement on how women/ apparent female-presenting folks style and comport themselves. Nine times out of ten folks make decisions about their physical appearance simply because something feels right to them, not because they’re fishing for comments on their palatability as a sexual being.
Pro wrestling and lucha libre come stacked with years of sexist baggage pertaining to how masculinity & femininity “ought” to be performed in the ring. I covered this already back in 2014 and 2015. And as a performer, one is necessarily held to different standards than in one’s private life. But I think I put it pretty damn well two years ago:
“I hope that the people who see me wrestle (regardless of who my opponent is) respect me (and all other women, for that matter) enough to appreciate me as an athlete and performer rather than simply a sexual object; that they can recognize talent and hard work in an athletic and theatrical performance rather than focusing only on their own fantasies….As a luchadora in the ring intentionally placing myself on display, I am always conscious of how an audience perceives me. As a woman, I feel that this awareness necessarily extends into my day-to-day life because society teaches that women are always on display, whether they want to be or not. This is why I do my best to try and defy gender roles and stereotypes, both in and out of the ring. But even that tactic has its limits. At some point it lies in the hands of the audience to judge what they are watching.”
So, you guessed it @Yolo_Fury! The rest of me is the same. I’m an adult human with pretty average body hair who chooses not to remove it to fall in line with conventional Western beauty standards for my gender. @ReBourneAgain, you weren’t invited to “get past that.” And to you, @JaimsVanDerBeek: Although we can all agree it was an error on your part, and you back-pedaled remarkably quickly (yes, I acknowledge your ready apology and willingness to admit you were in the wrong), the fact that you thought it was an appropriate comment to make in the first place demonstrates an underlying inclination to devalue and disrespect not just me, but all women you interact with on a daily basis. I would encourage you to examine your privilege.
Got hair, don’t care. And really, neither should you.
I would like to give a quick shoutout to Ave Rex, Steve West, and Ethan HD– three hardworking, talented, and very professional male colleagues in the Seattle lucha libre/ pro wrestling scene. Rex and Steve stepped up to challenge these comments directly on my behalf before I really knew this all was out there. Ethan threw in his two cents later on in an unrelated thread, providing a glowing review of my abilities in the ring. Props to guys who are more than capable of recognizing a competent athlete regardless of gender & gender presentation, and especially to those who will call out their fellow dudes on their misogynist bullshit.
Feminism is for everybody. To quote the cheesy signs at the airport: “See something, say something.” Be an active voice in conversations to call out folks who exhibit sexist, misogynist, racist, and otherwise bigoted views. Because, who knows? Maybe nobody has ever asked them to inspect their beliefs before.