Resistance and Revolution in Women's Body Hair Politics
- PUBLISHED: June 2022
- SUBJECT LISTING: Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 308 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 16 b&w illus.
- ISBN: 9780295750286
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Body hair, especially on women, provokes, disrupts, and, at times, offends. It is tangled up with culture itself—in art, families, workplaces, relationships, sex, the beauty industry, governments, and capitalism. From Chinese activists challenging the Communist Party, to students in Arizona rejecting their family and workplace ideas about grooming, to high-art feminist photographers boldly featuring hairy women, Fahs deftly explores the volatile and ever-changing landscape of women's body hair politics. She showcases an underground movement of artists, zine-makers, rebels, and activists who have used women's visible body hair as a declaration of freedom from patriarchal norms.
Fahs presents body hair not just as a personal grooming choice but as a connection to broader cultural stories about women's reproductive rights, feminist battlegrounds about autonomy, neoliberal intrusions into beauty regimens, and even global tensions around women's place in society. Ultimately, Unshaved shows the collision between the mundane and the extraordinary, the everyday and the revolutionary.
Authors & Contributors
Breanne Fahs is professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University. She is the editor of Burn It Down! Feminist Manifestos for the Revolution and author of Firebrand Feminism; Out for Blood: Essays on Menstruation and Resistance; Women, Sex, and Madness: Notes from the Edge; and several other works.
[A] thorough and revelatory treatment of an underexamined aspect of feminism and body politics.- Publishers Weekly
Engaging, elucidating and occasionally lots of fun.- Shelf Awareness
The reach and depth of the content and theoretical orientations of this book, written in an accessible way, provides important understanding of the social context in which people—especially women—make personal choices. It also offers an important exploration of the power relations operating within these “choices.” In exploring how power and resistance operate through body hair, showcasing those women who on their bodies or in their art offer forms of resistance, Unshaved offers an important read.- Women's Reproductive Health
Fahs's lively writing, coupled with an abundance of evidence, convincingly illustrates how body hair is a path to difficult discussions regarding gender, bodies, power, and social control.- Samantha Kwan, coauthor of Under the Knife: Cosmetic Surgery, Boundary Work, and the Pursuit of the Natural Fake
Fahs astutely reveals how tricky, sticky patriarchal power is enacted right down to the surface of our skin. What’s more, she makes clear that the everyday can—and must—be truly revolutionary.- Chris Bobel, author of The Managed Body: Developing Girls & Menstrual Health in the Global South
Breanne Fahs is a moving, bold, and brilliant thinker and writer. Unshaved blasts the century-old Western misogynist, racist, and shame-inducing imposition of the norm of women's bodily hairlessness. Fahs urges a body politics of lived resistance and attends closely to differences among women as she covers a rich repository of feminist art, zines, and global activism. This book is utterly compelling reading; and it is an ideal text for many classes in women, gender and sexuality studies.- Jane Caputi, author of Call Your “Mutha”: A Deliberately Dirty-Minded Manifesto for the Earth Mother in the Anthropocene