Dreaded "otherness"

Heteronormative patrolling in women's body hair rebellions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Research on bodies and sexualities has long debated ideas about choice, agency, and power, particularly as women conform to, or rebel against, traditional social scripts about femininity and heterosexuality. In this study, I have used responses from 34 college women who completed an extra credit assignment in a women's studies class that asked them to reject social norms and grow out their leg and underarm hair for a period of 10 weeks. Responses reveal that women confronted direct and anticipated homophobia and heterosexism from others as well as hostility for rejecting traditional norms of femininity. Heterosexual women regularly encountered demands that they acquire permission to grow body hair from their male partners, while queer and bisexual women expressed reluctance about further "outing" themselves via their body hair. I consider implications for linking sexual identity discrimination and body hair practices, and for imagining bodies as sites of resistance inside and outside of pedagogical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-472
Number of pages22
JournalGender and Society
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011

Fingerprint

foreignness
femininity
heterosexuality
women's studies
Social Norms
sexuality
credit
discrimination
Otherness
Rebellion
Femininity

Keywords

  • class
  • deviance/social control
  • gender
  • race
  • sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Gender Studies

Cite this

Dreaded "otherness" : Heteronormative patrolling in women's body hair rebellions. / Fahs, Breanne.

In: Gender and Society, Vol. 25, No. 4, 08.2011, p. 451-472.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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