Hairy men, pink women

November 9, 2012

In one of my work places, the men are encouraged to grow a mustache during the month of November. Apparently the company will donate money to research on prostate cancer, the sum depending on how many men enroll in the campaign and grow some hair.


This got me thinking about how extremely laid back the view on men’s body hair, and  appearance in general, is.

Now, I have noticed that mustaches are growing (!) back into fashion among young men, so perhaps not all men feel stupid wearing one. I would assume, though, that those who were children in the late sixties and early seventies connect mustaches with their dads and their dads friends = not sexy.

My point in this is that it’s obviously completely OK to ask men to look ridiculous for a good cause, it is also OK to ask men to grow visual body hair although it is out of general fashion. Women, however, are expected to always look good and pleasing. Not taking care of your looks is in fact quite often seen as a sign of depression. And body hair (except for the kind that grows on top of your head) is for some reason viewed as not pleasing and thus taken away. It’s not like women don’t have hair in their faces, under their arms or on their legs- they’re just expected to take it away whereas men have the option to just leave it there.


In the breast cancer campaigns I’ve seen, participants are asked to wear a small pink bow. The idea of asking women to grow some body hair seems for some reason extremely unlikely. Unshaved armpits for breast cancer? No? Hairy legs for uterus cancer? (I’m leaving the most obvious out here since private parts are usually kept, well private, and thus can’t be used for showing support in the office).

Of course, none of this is news. Still I can’t help being surprised time after time, of the absurdity of it all.

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