Sunday, November 18, 2012

Off topic: College writer uses 'Movember' to raise awareness about a critical issue: a women's right not to shave

November is "no-shave" month -- "Movember" -- and it's among the few well publicized initiatives that brings attention to serious problems that exclusively affect men, prostate and testicular cancers. How are women reacting to this effort?  My impression is that women who are aware of it are pretty much unanimous in their support of it.   

Then there's Hannah Bauer

Bauer, writing in a college newspaper, first mildly belittles the effort: "Traditionally, No Shave November has been an excuse for men to let their facial hair grow out to lumberjack-level beastliness. This generally results in the occasional turned-off chick, and the often jealous or admiring fellow bro."

Then, Bauer had an epiphany. "No-shave" November presents a golden opportunity to raise awareness about a critical problem. No, not prostate cancer or any other issue relating to men's health. Women's rights.

Yep. You read that right. Bauer explains: ". . . we have to ask ourselves why women feel this internal and external pressure to shave. If we, as women and as society, can accept body hair on a man, that means that body hair isn’t disgusting. It’s just gross when it’s on a woman. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems a little unfair. I’m not really sure when or how society began to expect women to be magically and perpetually hairless, or why this expectation has been maintained, but I intend to find out."  Therefore, Bauer announced, "in the name of great feminism, I will be participating in No Shave November this year."

So you see?  Silly "Movember," where men grow facial hair as an "excuse" to be more beastly, can actually be used to raise awareness about something damn important.  Bauer writes:  "Feminism is a lengthy subject, but it’s not about being a lesbian or a man-hater, it’s about being equal. It’s not even really about shaving, but about choice."

You are excused to go bang your head against the wall.

You know what, Hannah? I agree -- it is unfair to women that they are are expected to shave. But to make that point in the context of a campaign devoted to saving lives (a campaign where, finally, men have come together to actually address a male health problem in a productive, activist way instead of doing what men do too often -- ignore it) is a tad insensitive, don't you think?  Not evil, not man-hating, just eye-rolling petty, that's all.  Everyone agrees that there are at least some issues that affect men because they are men -- prostate and testicular cancer have to rank high on that list -- is it so terribly difficult to get behind the men on this issue without trivializing the problem, or without making it a problem for women?  Seriously?

The Huffington Post quotes a Tumblr user named chunkymonkeyandme, a "stay-at-home mum," who responded to Bauer more succinctly than we would: "[D]o not take this prostate cancer awareness month away from men and make it about feminism and your rights not to shave!"


  1. typical woman, so conceited that she must twist everyone else's interests and activities to turn it back to her. Women consistently exclude men from venues, they empower girls while deliberately disenfranchise boys, while simultaneously demanding inclusion to every cause or venue that happens to be about or composed of men. Back the fuck up, bitch

  2. I for one applaud Ms Bauer's imagination. November, a month where we raise awareness of prostate cancer, has men talking about hair and also about "down there", so naturally, it's the perfect opportunity to discuss women shaving their legs.

    After all, women being expected to shave their legs destroys lives. Prostate cancer should feel complimented to have such a peer suffer alongside it.

    As thanks for this feminist's aid in expanding Movember, I think we should return her help by helping to expand October, which has been used as a Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    It is clear that feminists believe 'cancer loves company', so we should also discuss other problems alongside breast cancer.

    I suggest that since we are already discussing chests, that we use October as an opportunity to focus on the issue of male chest hair.

    Lately with hunky bodybuilders in pro wrestling, hunky werewolves like Jacob and models like Fabio, an image has been promoted of men with hairless chests as the sexual ideal.

    More and more, men are feeling pressure to shave their chests to fulfill the female ideal. Men should feel free to be men, and raise awareness during Chestober by not shaving their chest, and exposing our hairy chest hair to the world.

    I think it is important, as a show of solidarity and unity, for groups of barechested and hairychested men to rally at Breast Cancer fundraising initiatives. This will show that we care about Breast Cancer and give the feminists trying to eliminate it the chance to show their support for men trying to eliminate hairless chests.

  3. She doesn't have to shave if she doesn't want to, guys will just find her unattractive as a result. She has the right not to shave just as guys have the right not to engage in any sexual activity with her.

    It's akin to the stereotype that guys have to be strong. Sure, they don't have to be, but women prefer strong, muscular men.

    Hannah Bauer doesn't have to shave, but some guys might find that unnatractive. I don't see why its a big deal.

  4. Indeed, the sufferings of prostate cancer victims are nothing compared to those of females who feel they should shave.

  5. Tyciol's comment is brilliant.


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