Pit Hair and Periods

Pit-Hair

There’s been some digital ink spilled in the last week or two about the sexism of “taboo” images in the social media sphere–the big three are images of women’s body hair, menstruation, and breastfeeding. It just so happens I think all three are awesome.

By flagging these types of images of the female body as inappropriate, while taking no action towards over-sexualized pictures of women’s bodies, Jessica Valenti at The Guardian made the claim that the social media landscape is “protecting” men from the female reality and proliferating the hypersexual fantasy woman.

I thought back to a time early on in my sexual history when I “protected” men from the normalcy of my body–my period, my body hair, my scent, my underwear that actually covered my butt. I’m grateful to have learned to value authenticity early on in adulthood. I was inadvertently sex-positive before I’d ever heard the term, and have always been attracted to people who were not just accepting but welcoming of my body in all it’s normalcy. Thinking of presenting myself to someone completely shaved, polished, fragranced, and thonged seems such an antiquated idea, my pre-teen notion of what sex is like.

Though I can’t speak for all women, I find it super hot for a person to be interested in the ins and outs of my phenomenological human experience. I know when I am with someone I care for deeply, all I want is to know what it’s like to BE them. It boggles me to imagine a relationship without transparency. Privacy is important, but not to the point that it makes you feel anxious, ashamed, or embarrassed of normal aspects of your everyday life.

 

Natural-Brunette Meadow-Princess

For me, I do what feels right when it feels right. Sometimes I have long body hair, because I like it, I think it suits me, it’s easier than shaving everyday, and I have sensitive skin. But sometimes I go hairless, when it just seems like the season to be soft and shorn.

I don’t talk about or flaunt my period more than I do any of my other toilet activities, which is to say, if something particularly gnarly went on, I might just share it… It makes me feel most authentic to promote an eco-friendly period, so I wear reusable cloth pads for the entirety of my cycle. (Big huge shout-out to Luna Pads because I love them!) I feel no shame living with two males and soaking my pads in the bathroom.

As far as breastfeeding is concerned, I have yet to have that experience. If one day I am granted the gift of birthing a child and we both feel happiest nursing, I will breastfeed wherever, whenever, however, and if Instagram still exists at the time, I plan to make my entire account adorable pictures of my child suckling my breasts.

I get it, “protecting” people from your normal, female body is like when you stub your toe or bump your head in public and try to pretend nothing happened and you aren’t in searing pain. There’s embarrassment and insecurity involved. I’m not saying every woman needs to grow out her pits and hang up her blood-stained reusable pantiliners for all to see. But if those things feel right to you, do them! No reason to hide the majesty of your body just to protect half the species from the other half…trust me, they’re gonna find out eventually!

 

Women Supporting Women

Lady-BusinessLady-Business-Is-Awesome

I used to be one of those girls that rolled with the dudes.

“I don’t really get along with girls,” said naive, ignorant, high school-Erica.

I thought shunning my gender made me cool. I was trying to be one of the guys, which included joking around and making snarky comments about other girls behind their backs. Often I was just laughing along with sexist humor and fueling my own insecurities and jealousies by belittling a fellow female. Ah, the dark days of teenaged girlhood.

One of the first epiphanies in my feminist awakening was that women supporting other women is imperative.

 

Ladies-Have-Fun

As a media-making woman, I am lucky to call many creative, talented female artists my friends. Jealousy and insecurity are facts of human life, though it seems everyone’s eyes are a little greener with envy in a creative community.

In 2012 I started Lady Business, a roaming group of women coming together once a month to discuss our experiences as women in the workplace, to support each other’s projects, art, and endeavors, celebrate each other’s accomplishments, and drink champagne! We started as a handful of friends and have grown to a group of over 200 women.

 

Jac-Lady-Business Lauren-Lady-Business Rosalie-Lady-Business

The support and love I feel from the Lady Business community is unmatched. What was once a struggle for me, now feels easy and good! Here are a few things I’ve figured out recently that have really helped me become a supportive ally to my fellow women.

 

WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN

  • Clean out your head – The change has to start internally. It doesn’t matter that I’m outwardly pleasant to another woman if I am secretly harboring jealousy and hate towards her, resenting her successes, venting about her, hoping for her to fail. Thinking nasty thoughts while being saccharine on the outside will only make supporting other women totally impossible. Eventually those negative thoughts and feelings will manifest themselves into outward hate and anger. Of course you aren’t going to like every woman you meet. Not every relationship has to be the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, but a lot can be overcome by harnessing the power of the brain and spinning a negative situation into a positive. If I’m working with another woman who is getting on my nerves, I try to think of all the positives about her and her work, and usually that simple reframing helps me see more clearly. Often, the root cause of my negativity is my own issue I’m projecting onto her.

 

  • Pre-empt unasked questions with answers- Most of the women in Lady Business are in the entertainment and media-making industries, which are notorious “Boys Club” lines of work. The inequality we face everyday leaves us feeling pretty insecure. It’s so important, as a fellow woman, to not add to these insecurities. I see it all the time, women in this industry name-dropping and throwing around production knowledge and jargon. Anyone that didn’t understand the reference now feels totally insecure and embarrassed. And unfortunately, many women have been made to feel ashamed when we don’t know something, instead of getting help or asking questions. Pre-empt this and help guide women in your industry. Don’t try to outdo or one-up, no need to use flashy jargon if a common place word will suffice. Instead of trying to impress and dazzle, I make it my goal to be as dazzlingly helpful to other women as possible.

 

  • Girl, love yourself!- I mean, this is so important. Self-care and self-love take time and work, but are super worth it. I still struggle with comparing myself to other women, but that sneaky little envy monster fades away when I am feeling like my best self…mostly that means I operate on a schedule that feels right for me. Instead of burning the candle at both ends, I live in balance. I get sleep. I am active. I eat well. I spend time with my friends. I sometimes hang out with this little Chihuahua named Walnut. I mean, these things keep me sane and happy!

 

  • Celebrate a woman’s successes- Shout from the rooftops when a woman succeeds! Tell everyone about the women you admire. Cheering on another woman’s accomplishments in no way takes away from your own. Spreading the word about awesome women only helps pave the way for further equality.

 

You-Silly-Ladies

I love this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt for its simplicity and humanity:

“When it’s better for everyone, it’s better for everyone.”