Monday, April 14, 2008

RBOConferences and female beauty

  • There's a conference I want to go to next fall. Do I hedge my bets and propose 2 things, when I don't really want to end up doing both if both end up accepted? Or do I just propose one, and hope that it all works out? The former means both extra work now, and extra work preparing for the conference, but the latter runs the risk of not getting to go to the conference at all, when I'd really like to.
  • Honestly, at this point, I'm not really excited about extra work.
  • In preparation for another conference I'm going to in a couple of weeks, I have to write a paper, fine, but I also have to decide whether or not to shave. It's been a year and a half.
  • This brings up all kinds of questions of self-presentation: will being unshaven in a beach town (or, in a couple of months, in front of summer students) make me feel uncomfortably self-conscious and conspicuous? Even if it does, is it worth compromising what I've grown to realize is a political stance?
  • Not that I advocate hairiness for one and all, but seriously, think about how much hair removal is taken for granted as Something One Does. In my part of the country, men and women both need a serious reminder that it's a choice. And my legs are that reminder, dammit.
  • When I was twelve or so, and reading teen magazines, I was so excited to finally get to shave. The joke was on me, though, since of course the "getting to shave" was always a "having to shave." Having the wool pulled over one's eyes by ideology, that's fun, until it stops being fun.

14 comments:

JD said...

Oh, man, I sympathize, and at the same time, I would just kill to be having the shaving dilemma right now. We had our first sunshine on Saturday in almost a month, and now the forecast for the next 10 days is all rain.

I have sort of an easy out on the shaving situation, as my leg hairs are blond, and so they don't show under nylons. I guess the question for me would depend on whether I was going to be presenting in something that would show the leg hair. I'm too conservative to go hairy-legged for the actual paper, but for other events, I would be fine being unshorn.

luckybuzz said...

I vote Don't Shave.

I shave now because I prefer it lately, but I was all unshaven for a loooong time. And I'm of middle eastern descent, so people 20 feet from me still knew I was making a political statement. But honestly, most people aren't really looking. If you're presenting in something where your legs aren't super visible, I wouldn't worry about it. If you end up walking around beach town in shorts (which, with the erratic weather lately, you might not), big deal. People will notice or they won't. If they notice, they'll either think, Oh, a political statement, or Oh, she's lazy, or just Huh. Either way, their reactions shouldn't change what you want to do with your body.

Sorry, I'm rambling. Nutshell: I don't think you should shave unless it's something *you* feel like doing.

heu mihi said...

Comfortable Confession: I didn't shave my legs until I was 25.

Uncomfortable Confession: I started shaving because then-boyfriend "wasn't used to" leg hair on women and fussed about it for *months*.

(I stayed with this man for 3 more years, btw.)

Anyway, your reason for not shaving is a good one: It's a choice, and you can be a reminder of that. On the other hand, it's a choice, and you can shave if you want. On the third hand, if you don't want to shave, don't shave, because really no one is going to flip out, I promise. It's a matter of what your comfortable with.

So now I've been totally unhelpful, I expect. Sigh. It's been a *really* long day.

EcoGeoFemme said...

Will anyone see your legs during the meeting?

One of the big meetings in my field is just brimming with unshaved, unwashed, shorts-wearing hippies. No one cares. Of course, it takes some time to build that culture. Be a visionary! Unless you feel like shaving.

kermitthefrog said...

Ah, validation. Love it. :)

I have dark hair and white-ass skin, so it shows. Strangely, the hair ends abruptly below the knee (is this a common thing? see how I'm lacking in experiential knowledge here?).

And EGF, hopefully the weather will be warm enough in the conference locale that I'll be wearing skirts, no tights, so it's likely the legs will be visible. It would be fun to build up the hippie population, but I'm afraid the conference will be more hip than hippie! (ah, to be in a field of "eco" or "geo," full of the unwashed! instead I'm down here with the cosmopolites. you're right, must change this!)

kermitthefrog said...

And, go heu mihi! Way to get rid of the hair-hating boyfriend!

Sisyphus said...

Funny, I just shaved in the shower. (shrugs) Habit. I would say to ignore my hypocrisy and just don't shave if you don't want to. I'm all for it. BTW, _I_ get all hairy on the shins and not really so much on the thighs. Isn't human variety great? You'd never know about it if you listened closely to the beauty industry.

About the other question you asked: is that conference this year (this fall?)? Is it the one with the stuff and the things, you know, the one I know about? Cause if it is, you could always propose a panel and still sign up for another thing if the panel isn't accepted. It's nice that way.

Also, if you work well with deadlines you could consider whether two sets of deadlines would help you get through your writing faster. It worked for my friend, not so much for me. So YMMV.

kermitthefrog said...

Yes, the stuff and the things! Indeed, I'm taking the route you suggest, although with a roundtable rather than a panel (same diff). (Hey, I just got to write "same diff.") But if you're looking for a roundtable to apply to, have I got a deal for you...

k8 said...

Sometimes I think that the only reason my legs see the razor is because it reminds me to moisturize them/slather them with baby oil afterwards. Yes, I am lame.

I say do what you want and don't worry about what the kids at the beach think. It is a choice.

Bardiac said...

I'd like to be all non-chalant (sp?) about the not shaving thing, but I haven't shaved in well over a year, and I still worry about what people think when I wear shorts, or going to the doctor. But you're better than I am, so YOU can be my role model for not caring.

kermitthefrog said...

Oh, but Bardiac, I totally feel the same way. I surreptitiously check out other women's legs on the subway to see if anyone else in this entire city is unshaven! But then I figure that the discomfort means that I'm doing something right, in a small way, in not caving to the standard, and it cheers me up.

Sisyphus said...

Huzzah for a round table! I just got my seminar accepted! I was thinking of asking some of my friends to be on a panel with me, since they've just gotten jobs and will be at different institutions (siiigh), but, yeah, I'm also weighing the lazy/overworked factor.

I know someone who ran a sem., was on a panel, and participated in a round table all in one day. And we all closed the bar out the night before too. So it can be done --- but I'd ask him how that felt afterward.

kermitthefrog said...

Nice!
Can you make your potential panel be about work you've already done (or will have done by conference time)? Being on a panel with friends is one of those conference moments that I only aspire to--it will have to wait a couple more years before we're not all grad students...so that would seem pretty tempting to me.

Sisyphus said...

Yeah, the problem is I'm currently kinda tapped out --- everything written I have presented in one form or another, so I could submit something that I'm writing _right now,_ knowing that it will be written by then, in which case it has nothing to do with what my friends work on, or plan to write something new and different over the summer in order to present with them.

Conferences are fun, but this whole planning and writing part is wearing me out.

Really I'm all about the travel, drinking and gossip.