In this essay, author Monica Dux writes:
While researching our book my co-author Zora Simic and I asked women what turned them off the feminist label. The most common answer was that it’s the man-hating, hairy-legged lesbian. In a way this wasn’t surprising. Since the 1980s most surveys of women on feminism have returned similar findings. What was surprising is that this hirsute cliche : now more than 30 years old : is still so prevalent in women’s minds.
We all know what she looks like. She’s unwaxed, unattractive and unfeminine (probably with saggy boobs, given her predilection for torching bras). But while most women can describe her characteristics, they can rarely name a woman who personifies the stereotype.
Here’s the thing, Monica Dux. I, a person your co-author Zora interviewed at some length for the book, have hairy legs. I have hairy ampits. I’m fat, which is generally considered”unattractive”in Western patriarchal culture. My breasts sag. Apart from the lesbianism, I am your scary negative cliche. And some of my friends are 100% your scary negative cliche. This person is not a myth. We’re out here. And we’re feminists.
You’ve touched everything that bothers me about (some) third wave feminism, that being the idea that it’s a counter-movement to the second wave, destined to rid the world of bad feminist stereotypes and promote the idea that”you can be pretty and still be feminist”(which is, in effect, the same as saying that if you don’t fit certain standards of attractiveness or heteronormativity you shouldn’t advertise yourself as a feminist because you might give people the wrong idea).