Monday, January 13, 2020
"The Politics of Gay Body Hair" and the paradox of a second puberty
Bradley Birkholz and “The Politics of Gay Body Hair: My Manscaping Routine” (15 min).
This video will show up if you search YouTube for "manscaping".
Bradley presents his argument in three parts, and starts out with a historical perspective on how men and women were supposed to look, especially in Victorian England. He doesn’t mention that this varies by race. Generally “white” people have more body hair than blacks or especially Asians. That seems to have to do with having evolved in colder climates and then the way cultural norms about what his desirable compounded things. Skin color is lighter and skin thickness is less in colder and darker climates often to allow for more Vitamin D. It’s conceivable that Neanderthal genes could have mattered, but no one has said much about that. “White” includes most peoples in the Middle East and even some peoples in India.
But in the gay community, “smooth” was in for some people, especially in the 80s and 90s. He notes the paradoxical or inconsistent “bifurcation” of his own body appearance, and discusses his previous work as a drag queen. He is 22 and says he is suddenly experiencing a second period of post-puberty and likes it. His values are changing.
In decades past, this sometimes was an issue with fraternity or even college hazing, as “leg shaving” parties were mandatory for incoming freshmen, as if they could prove they were not too sensitive to the expendability of their own bodies, when they would still be expected to reproduce and have and support families. This was an issue at William and Mary in the fall of 1961 (actually contributing to my expulsion for refusing to participate).