This blog is going to be all over the place because I’m in a rut and desperate for release. I feel as thought I’ve lost myself. I’ve always prided myself in being in touch with my identity. I’m beginning to question it all again and it feels like I’m 13 again trying to figure out how to deal with my hormones. I’ll be 22 in April but I already have lost faith in humanity.
I study political science at college and I think that is all where it starts. Everything that I’ve been reading and being lectured about indirectly broaches my low status as a woman, especially a dark-skinned woman. How am I supposed to feel confident with myself when I’m immersed in a culture that doesn’t value my biology? I’ve been pretty down on myself lately and I first I thought it was because I’m struggling to graduate because I’ve wasted my potential here at school. I’m starting to realize it goes deeper than that though, down to the very essence of who I am.
I’ve been reading a lot of material on gender and power structured. I can say I’m not impressed by how entrenched societies are in gender, race, and class oppression. Some readings make me feel as though I’ve been catering to my own oppression by playing into socialized gender roles.
I’ve stopped shaving and it’s causing me severe discomfort, especially with my boyfriend. To be truthful I’ve always scoffed at the idea of a woman with hairy armpits and legs. Now I am covered in unwanted hair and feeling like a leper. What’s worse I’m making my relationship with my boyfriend really awkward. I’ve been distancing myself from him because I don’t feel comfortable exposing my hairy body to him. His idea of a woman is someone who is soft, sweet, warm, and polite. When he met me and fell in love with me I was all of those things. I prescribed to the idea of femininity and beauty as synonymous because that’s how I was raised.
I want to feel beautiful. I want my boyfriend to think I’m beautiful. I can’t help but feeling guilty because he didn’t sign up to be with a woman who doesn’t want to shave. How can I ask him to feel comfortable with my decisions when I don’t even feel comfortable with it? It’s not like I enjoy warring against hair. I consider shaving/waxing/Nair/Veet/ Tweezers the enemy. I hate the stubble, the in-grown hairs, the razor burn, the horrible smell of depilatory creams, the itchiness and dryness, the excruciating pain! BUT WAIT I love the smooth, silkiness. I love the reaction my boyfriend gets from touching the softness. I loved watching him get excited and laughing while looking on over my battles. Can you talk about cognitive dissonance?
On the topic of hair, I hate that I’m ashamed to be seen with my natural hair. I maybe watered-down and Americanized, but my hair is ever true to its African roots. It is thicker and kinkier than one person could every hope for but its healthy. I stopped chemically straightening my hair almost 2 years ago when my beautiful locks I have never appreciated started falling off and breaking by the inches. Within 2 days of using Dr. Miracle’s No Lye Relaxer at least 6 inches of my hair parted from my head. I cried for weeks about, and I still have bitter feelings towards Dr. Miracle’s products. I’ve got a pretty serious fro now, but I hide it behind braided extensions. I can’t rock my giant fro because of the stigma that comes with it. I would not be able to get a professional job or sit in the front row of the movies . I fear being categorized even though I already am. Hair is a burden to me.
I’ve got loads more to say but I think I’ll save it for another day. I’m calling out to the proud feminists, help a budding femme. How did you guys deal with the beauty rigmarole? How do those of you in heterosexual relationships work with conflicting attitudes? Do I have to stop shaving to be a proud woman? I feel as though I’m going to have to constantly fight for my sanity for respect that I deserve. I don’t want to live my life fighting. I want my notions of what makes a respectable strong woman, to match my behavior or vice-versa. I guess I’m just looking for someone who can relate. I don’t want to feel so alienated by my own body, my own thoughts.