I was already rocking a training bra — itchy, tight, white cotton that covered my barely budding breasts — so why couldn’t I do something about the hair on my legs? Words like delicate, soft, and pretty are a few of them. Clearly, the health risks associated with hair relaxers are not contained to just the person having their hair relaxed. The straightness or curliness of our hair is determined by the shape of our hair follicles, which cannot themselves be changed, but hydrogen and disulphide bonds play a large role in changing the curl pattern of our hair once it grows out of said hair follicles. I’ll make sure my hair is perfectly coiffed and double check that my manicure and pedicure are chip-free. Please let me do this.” My mother, exasperation written all over her face, finally caved. My armpit hair grew in soft and light and I found that I actually liked that part of my body so much more with hair than without. The world has claimed what being feminine means and twisted it into ways that are thoroughly unrecognizable from the Biblical view of femininity . And then, I discovered that when it came to other aspects of body hair — namely “down there” — I preferred a much more groomed look. While some thrived during the Corona Virus shutdowns, many of us felt lost without a routine. At-Home Hair Removal: The Pros and ConsFacial Fuzz Busters. Usually, nothing. The problem of hair relaxers is a complicated and multi-faceted one that cannot simply be fixed by telling black women about the health risks they face in their search for straight hair. Femininity, Hair Relaxers, and the Impact of Beauty Standards on Black Women’s Health, hair relaxers can have undesired effects on the hair itself, Chemical Entanglements Undergraduate Group, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/the-fight-to-rid-black-womens-hair-salons-of-toxic-chemicals/433386/, https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/mmg/mmg.asp?id=246&tid=45, César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. Clearly hair removal mattered. (2014, October 21). Chemical burns may have convinced a handful of women to go natural, but they seem like a small price to pay for the reward of fitting in with the images of femininity that black women have been bombarded with for centuries. Perhaps I could also let my body hair grow and the world wouldn’t stop spinning, and boys would still talk to me. Having said this, feminine beauty comes in many forms. They start wearing their hair short and forget about jewelry or other things that make them feminine … Nail Enhancements. I’m not really one for makeup, but between my Audrey Hepburn-inspired sunglasses and a bit of tinted gloss, I know I look fierce. But, while I allowed myself to test out my own comfort level, I discovered something interesting. Regular shaving was a pain, took more time than I was willing to set aside for it, and I found that I actually didn’t mind what my legs looked like with hair — though I couldn’t stand the in-between prickly phase. (2013). 325 likes. Unfortunately, society has attached words like “difficult” and “ugly” to kinky hair, and “soft, beautiful and feminine” to straight hair. To what extent femininity … For others, through bimonthly relaxer sessions. Sometimes, I just can’t help but flaunt it. Yet I continued shaving all throughout junior high and high school, just … because. Because your hair … Noting the "political complexities of African-American hair and beauty culture," West quotes the sociologist Ingrid Banks, who interviewed more than fifty black girls and women between 1996 and 1998 for her book Hair Matters (2000) and who concluded that "hair … While it is easy to read off a list of health problems caused by relaxers, this does little to address the deep-seated issue at hand. Hair Cutting Colouring and Perming.Hair Extensions .Manicures Pedicures. I was noncommittal about my legs, occasionally preferring a sleek, smooth leg look, and other times letting the hair grow out. 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I’ll continue to wear my femme clothes and allow these subversive hairs to poke through, doing my small part in changing up the idea of what it means to be feminine. Everything about me screams ultra femme. The natural hair movement, and the large-scale shift toward embracing our natural textures has been hugely important in getting black women to reject hair relaxers, but this is only one side of the issue. If you google femininity or something similar, most of what you come across is a jumble of feminist propaganda, goddess earth worship, and how to be a seductive woman. The results of this constant message are countless stories of black women being exposed to toxic chemicals in hair relaxers used to permanently change their hair texture, some as young as the age of five (and in extreme cases, younger). These Tips Will Help, These 6 Office Items Make the Workday So Much More Comfortable. Women’s body hair routines are as idiosyncratic as the women themselves. But my mother wouldn’t budge. Significance of Hair Length for Women. Tall, short, dark hair, light hair, dark skin, light skin, freckles or no freckles, dark eyes, light eyes, big-breasted or small breasted (yes it’s true, you don’t … Because of the dangers of lye-based relaxers, many women have switched to “no-lye” relaxers which contain weaker alkaline agents that are less likely to cause burns and irritation. A: Being feminine is a character-trait; definitely not dictated by the length of your hair. Nail Enhancements. Here are some interesting links for you! Femininity in men (heterosexy), as masculinity in women, is often considered to be negative due to its contradiction of traditional roles. In fact, many of these salon workers have complained about developing work-related health complications of their own, ranging from respiratory difficulties to dermatitis and other forms of skin irritation. For users of both lye and no-lye relaxers, there is a high risk of dermal absorption of the toxic chemicals in these relaxers because of the scalp lesions and burns that often form during treatment. Long hair was traditionally regarded as a sign of femininity. Cutting my hair short, I felt at odds with my femininity “Suddenly, I no longer felt comfortable in skirts or archetypal ‘feminine’ clothes”, writes Madeleine Wakeman, about after she had her hair … Seeing Julia Roberts with pit puffs of her own while on the red carpet of the Oscars in 1999 was revolutionary to my teen self, and definitely helped normalize body hair for me. Long hair represents femininity like beards represent masculinity. My relationship with body hair is complicated to say the least. Like the head … However, as mentioned before, hair straighteners and relaxers do not change the shape of the hair follicle itself, so new hair will still grow out in its natural texture. • Femininity: History shows that hair is a symbol of femininity. Here’s What You Should…, 6 Common Household Items You Should Regularly Replace, pit puffs of her own while on the red carpet of the Oscars in 1999, Beyonce, Drew Barrymore, and Britney Spears, China Has a Whole Holiday Called “Singles’ Day”, 24 Ways You Never Thought to Use Baking Soda as a Beauty Product, Planning a Scary Movie Night? Despite there being so little of the sparse, blonde hair, I had got it cemented in my mind that it was meant to go away. You don’t want to have to deal with it it all. Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/mmg/mmg.asp?id=246&tid=45, Your email address will not be published. Long, luscious hair is regarded as an archetypal feminine trait in quite a few cultures and commonly … I never got in touch with my sweet and … Feminine style of clothing, such as wearing skirts and dresses will also contribute to a woman’s physical f… My armpit hair grew in soft and light and I found that I actually liked that part of my body so much more with hair than without. The drawback is that its wearer may be seen as less forceful. Your email address will not be published. Occasionally I would get stares, and very rarely a comment or two. “But why can’t I shave my legs?” It must have been the tenth time I had asked that week. My body hair has not impeded on my femininity or beauty in any way, despite the greedy cries of the beauty industry that it would. The idea of “[insert name] with the good hair” goes far beyond a cheeky line in Beyoncé’s “Sorry.” Rather, it’s a pervasive and systematic idea that has been forced on and marketed to black women for centuries, telling us that our kinks and curls are not “good,” professional, manageable, or desirable enough. It’s a good idea for a pixie haircut to boost the effect from layers with an undercut, … ), it is usually extremely long. And so, my legs did eventually end up hair free, with a smattering of raised, red-tinted skin from where my inexperienced hand dug a little too close with my very own pink Lady Schick razor. “Femininity is a social construct after all. Over the years these women have got used to men’s style and gradually lose the sense of femininity. There is … The Fight to Rid Black Women’s Hair Salons of Toxic Chemicals. 50 were here. And for too many black women, this exposure continues regularly for decades. I’ll put on a pretty, sleeveless dress, perhaps one in shades of pink or embellished with a hint of lace. Because hydrogen bonds are weak, applying heat to hair using hot combs, blowdryers, or flat irons disrupts the hydrogen bonds in our hair and makes the hair straight. During the civil war when women weren’t to battle, hundreds of women soldiers disguised themselves as men by cutting off their hair, … Moisturize and practice regular skincare techniques to maintain blemish-free skin. This board looks at the feminine within the masculine within the feminine. The flowers and cream lace of the dress indicate femininity and delicacy. Although the importance of accepting oneself cannot be overstated, women will always be pushed towards unhealthy solutions like hair relaxers if we feel like the rest of the world does not accept us. And while community bonding is important, a quick dive into the science of hair straightening will show why this particular shared experience is so dangerous to our health. How you can create a more feminine look thru feminization Male feminization is a term that refers to the process of a male becoming feminized through changing their physical image. However, some of the scariest health risks associated with hair relaxers have little to do with hair at all. It is well known that hair relaxers can have undesired effects on the hair itself, such as making hair lighter over time, making hair more prone to breakage, and causing hair thinning or even hair loss. My mother’s answers remained the same. Here are 6 of the Best…, Thinking About Getting a Pet In Lockdown? And why the rush? Those of us with anxiety felt our symptoms... On Body Hair & Changing What It Means To Be Feminine, Kardashian Team Spills Makeup and Beauty Secrets In Latest Video, Why a Dog Is A Perfect Aid For Anxiety Sufferers, How Kim & Kanye’s Public Life Allows Us To Understand Bipolar…, How to Break Up with Someone without Hurting Them, 3 Things Mentally Strong People Will Never Do, These Two Stretches Will Reliever Pregnancy Pains, Feeling Sore Post-Workout? “You’re too young. However, these relaxers are not without their risks. http://doi.org/10.4103/0974-7753.114710, Toxic Substances Portal – Sodium Hydroxide. What didn’t help was the heated response to it in the media. However, this varies by location and culture. For many black women, our unattainable marker of femininity is related to the long, flowing hair that we see everywhere but in the mirror; the sassy hair flip that doesn’t come in your feminine package when your hair grows upwards and out. I was a girl through and through, but much of my femininity was repressed. All the teens and women I saw on TV, in movies and magazines were hair-free, as were the women in my day-to-day life. For some women, this may manifest through continuous cosmetic surgeries. Because of the temporary nature of heat straightening, other methods are necessary for women who desire permanently straight hair, and this is where hair relaxers come in. Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women and girls.Although femininity is socially constructed, research indicates that some behaviors considered feminine are biologically influenced. Human hair is largely composed of tough, fibrous proteins known as keratin, and the proteins in our hair are held together by strong bonds known as disulphide bonds and relatively weaker bonds known as hydrogen bonds. Well, everything that is, except for my armpits, where instead of smooth, clean shaven skin, soft, downy hair resides. There’s a sense of subversive pleasure whenever someone does a double take of my legs or pits — and has no idea that I’m shaven elsewhere. Long hair is an indicator of youth, in part, because long hair … Lack of body hair is part of an ideal of femininity that many strive for, influenced by movies, advertisements, and pornography, which sometimes manipulate images to digitally remove hair. Here’s What You Should Consider, Need to Slow Down and Enjoy Life More? Long hair tends to be among the Tertiary Sexual Characteristics used to establish a character as female. Hair relaxers, which are usually strongly alkaline, work by breaking the much stronger disulphide bonds in our hair, resulting in a permanent straightening of the hair that is not reversed by contact with water. I soon grew more confident and would wear a t-shirt or skirt and see what would happen. But the often-ignored reality is that regardless of the number of products and services used, “ideal” femininity and beauty can never truly be reached, at least not for very long. The relationship between black women and hair relaxers provides a large-scale case study for the intersections of femininity, beauty standards, and health. I began to rock my pit puffs, occasional leg hair, and a neatly trimmed bikini area with abandon. Because it was what everyone else was doing and it was expected of me. My own preferences when it comes to body hair are all over the place now, despite my stubborn beginning. How dare these women leave their homes without adhering to every single standard of western beauty ideals (which, should be noted, included body hair for women until fashion changed in the 1920’s).We have such set, prescribed notions of what it means to be feminine and beautiful, that anyone who strays from it is immediately branded as controversial or weird. While some feminine men and boys are meant to be (or become) female—to fully and truly live as women and girls, there are many whose embodiment of the feminine is found within their maleness. So, in a world that treats body hair on women as shameful, gross, or a mistake – even on the most stunning of women – it feels as if my own body is indeed a radical act. The hair will grow back darker and thicker. Lye-based relaxers, which contain the caustic alkaline agent sodium hydroxide, can cause severe burns to the skin as well as irritation to the nose, throat, and respiratory tract. And more than merely being opposed to short hair on women, or men shaving, I believe we should be in favor of men growing their beards, and women growing their hair … It was referred to as disgusting and unlady like. Here are 6 of the Best Horror Movies to Binge, Thinking About Getting a Pet In Lockdown? Ask A Scientist: Does Hair Grow Back Normally After I Shave Or Pluck It? 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