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Not Shaving Earns Extra Credit at ASU

Not Shaving Earns Extra Credit at ASU
Susan Dutca-Lovell

What better way to defy social norms and gender expectations while earning extra credit than by refusing to shave for ten weeks? Female students at Arizona State University are putting public opinion to the test as they refrain from shaving their legs and armpits. To avoid any sexism, males are also permitted to participate, and must shave all body hair from the neck down. Women and Gender Studies Professor Breanne Fahs began the assignment in 2010 as a way to teach students the realities of gender and social expectations, when it comes to physicality and bodily aesthetics. Some "manscaping" or removing excessive bodily hair, is not uncommon - however, complete hair removal is less practiced and Fahs believes it gives greater insight to a woman's tedious hygienic routine.

Students experience first-hand the negative responses to the rebellion. Many people find it unattractive and inappropriate, even close family and friends; but students feel empowered in their bodies as they better understand just how pervasive genderization is in American culture. Furthermore, the consensus is that participating students feel a sense of community in their act of rebellion. Fahs claims that generally, women will be concerned with how their partners react to the change, and men will be preoccupied with other men's opinions. What is emphasized most is personal choice and to what extent that is influenced and manipulated by conventional gender expectations. After all, is true beauty not skin deep?

Should body study curriculum and such extra credit opportunities be more readily offered at colleges? Does this serve a good purpose in higher education?

Comments (5)
Shelly L 8/4/2015
What's the gentian region? I have a masters degree in nursing and know a thing or two about hygiene: 1. Hair or not, it's soap and water that contributes to good hygiene, and 2. Removing unwanted hair is not going to cause BAD hygiene. If you don't want to shave then don't shave. Just don't try to justify it by using false information.
Meme E. 8/3/2015
I applaud this teacher. What better way to teach about gender expectations than to make the students actively participate?
Zcasavant 8/1/2015
I like it :) And I am glad to find some non-sexist (aka non-man-hating) gender lessons going on for once. Rock on!
Charlene C. 7/31/2015's different. I suppose it is inappropriate and rather unattractive, but I think that its a great way to break the usual social norms on genders in society. It seems to be really empowering to the woman who take part in it, because they're working together as a community. This would be harder to do alone. I feel as though opportunities like this should emerge more in colleges. It does serve as a good purpose in higher education.
Brittany Alipio 7/30/2015
I don't shave irregardless, I don't shave my legs nor gentian region for it's a lot more hygienic than shaving which opens up the pores, I will shave from time to time but not consistently to where it's a chore now. I think shaving has altered the mind sets of people perceiving what is a social norm and what is a scheme of the expected body of a woman and a man.
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