Body Beautiful

Candace, 26 July 2005, Comments Off on Body Beautiful
Categories: Bodies, Women's Studies

The Beauty Log

I don’t spend much time on my appearance. Take a look. Here’s what I did over the past week. I didn’t count things like applying sunscreen or bug repellant because I’d say those things are more for health than beauty. There’s a fuzzy line between those two things. Here’s the list:

It’s actually more time than I thought. I cannot imagine if I had some elaborate routine of plucking, preening, and painting. How do people find the time for it?

For me, at this time and place in my life, spending time on my appearance means basic hygiene ( showering). I quit shaving my legs when I was fifteen years old because I refused to conform to society’s beauty standards. I was already a misfit and this just added to my character. Eventually I learned to ignore the heckling. For fifteen years I let my body grow whatever hair it wanted, wherever it wanted.

I have found though that not shaving is harder to do as I get older. I started shaving again when I was post-divorce and ready to date. In many ways I have gotten tired of “fighting the system”. There are significant ways that my life is easier because I shave now. Little kids no longer stare at me at public pools. Because of the way environment impacts our choices my worries are reversed: when I am in the company of my natural lifestyle friends (vegetarians, homeschoolers, social activists, etc.) I am one of the few who shave. But my life has changed so that more often now I am in professional business and academic environments where a short skirt and hairy legs is not a common sight. I prefer to wear the clothing of my choice without the sense that I need to hide then not shave and wear only long skirts or pants. It is difficult to think of leg shaving as liberating but in away, shaving my legs gives me freedom I would not otherwise have.

I have never had long nails. They do not usually make it to the ends of my fingers. I hate the feeling of them creeping along my hand plus they just simply do not grow. I also pick at them during lectures or when I am stressed. It is a nervous habit but one that gets me through difficult times.

I recently spent money on a haircut. It was my first one in twenty years. Sixteen inches of long, brown hair came off and it cost me $45. Even though this represents less than one percent of my income it was a substantial for me to consider. As a sole support parent and full-time student there really is no extra money for luxuries. I am not sure if I will be doing it again but it did feel good to discard all the years of misery I had collected in that ponytail.

My cupboard is bare of traditional beauty products. The soap that I use is pretty important and could be considered a beauty product because I have eczema. My skin can get pretty itchy and dry if I get stressed but it is never as bad as it was before my ex-husband flew the coop. If I use harsh soap my skin gets red, oozy and weepy – not very attractive – so I’ll rationalize that for the purposes of this exercise the soap is a beauty product. Personally I see it as a health product though.

I use a gentle soap with natural ingredients that is soothing for the skin.
One that I like contains:

It is also important to me to respect the Earth and treat the environment with sensitivity so I seek out products that minimize their impact on the planet. This one was not tested on animals and is vegan.

Three cheers for Dr. Bronner’s All-One-God-Faith Soap (now available in a bar)!!


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