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Feasting on Insecurity


The Fashion Industry and Our Expectations

I often think that certain patterns of sexual attraction and excitement are socially conditioned and somewhat rehearsed. I’m not talking about sexual orientations, but more about the superficial features of the other person. For example, the thing with hairy legs and armpits on women. Do you think people before the time of the razor cared about women having hairy legs or armpits? I doubt it. I feel that much of our beliefs surrounding this is something we have been socially trained and conditioned to believe, not something that is natural to us.

For example, in the gay community, we say we like twinks, bears or whatever, but the truth is that when we go beyond these categories in real life, we find that our restriction to arbitrary categories is bullshit. You find out that this is something you can do away with.

Very often, these types of things do not reflect something you have created in your own, independent mind, but something that society, through among others the advertising and fashion industry has put in your head. 

After all, the fashion and advertising industry has a vested interest in men finding that women with hairy legs are disgusting, and that something women should shave. After all, women are thus forced through social pressure to shave, and shockingly, to buy products that allow them to meet that expectation. 

So perhaps we should stop giving a fuck about these superficial things, and pushing such selfish expectations on people and just accept that bodies are different?

Stereotypes are also further reinforced through this portrayal of men and women. Almost as if they were something natural. One would almost think that it was nature’s command that women should be silky soft, while men should be harsh hairy bears. Although we know that women are naturally hairy and that some men by nature do not always have that much hair.

In conclusion, I think it’s not about expanding our sexual patterns, but about fighting the constrictions that others have forced upon us, and returning to a time when the fashion and advertising industry didn’t control our preferences in order to enrich themselves by feasting on the insecurities and lack of confidence of women and men. 

Many laughs at feminists who start trending with hairy legs and armpits, but in reality they are in better harmony with themselves than many of those who laugh at them for not following the beauty industry’s commands. They are, in the eyes of the world, weird, just because they have realized what many others have not done, to detach themselves from the beauty industry. 

It is said that freedom may seem strange to one who has always been a prisoner, but when they get a taste of freedom from their mental prisons they begin to see the mental chains others have put them in. So maybe we should not laugh so easily at feminists with hairy armpits, and perhaps reflect on whether we are the real idiots here.

  • Paul Omar Lervåg is a student of rhetoric at the University of Oslo, he is dedicated to fighting the oppression of honor-oriented communities and negative social control as well as for the rights and dignity of minorities.