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Is the Outrage over Mo’Nique’s Hairy Legs Covering for Something Else?

Is the Outrage over Mo’Nique’s Hairy Legs Covering for Something Else?

I have a confession.  I hate awards shows.  The Oscars make me cringe.  The only reason I peeked at the Tony’s was because of Neil Patrick Harris (I died a little inside when Doogie came out.  It was like losing a huge chunk of my childhood fantasies…).  The shows get longer and longer, the outfits and parties more extravagent, and in the end, I’m always pretty lost, since I can’t remember the last time I even saw a movie in the movie theater.

Pre-award red carpets always made me laugh a little, though, at what a microcosm of the world they can be.  The more important you are, the less you need to struggle: you can arrive later, the crowds part for you, the press gathers quickly to talk to you as you rush into your seat.  It’s social hierachy at it’s best.

So it comes as no shock that the big story of the Golden Globes last week then should be an actress’s leg hair.

Mo’Nique may have taken home a Golden Globe on Sunday night for her moving performance as an abusive mother in the motion picture “Precious: Based on the novel PUSH by Sapphire,” but it’s Mo’Nique’s hairy legs that are getting all of the attention.

Hollywood is abuzz about the 42-year-old’s au naturale legs, which she flashed for the cameras on the red carpet.

The issue isn’t really the leg hair, though. It’s the media’s reaction to the hair that is out of line.

“Is it empowering (or disgusting) for a woman to show off body hair?” asks AOL, when commenting on the story. calls it a “hairy moment” and “fashion faux pas,” wondering if she was so busy writing her speech she just forgot.  “Everyone knows how a hairy leg looks. It is the reason we all shave. So next time if you are going on the red carpet remember that Gilette is not only the best a man can get, but it may be good for you as well Mo’,” chastises the Celebrity Cafe. “Mo’Nique won’t be winning any awards for her personal grooming,” declares the Daily Mail.

She’s not the only star to have attention drawn to her hair.  Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts and many other female stars have been seen without a recent razor visit.  But although there was definite chatter, there doesn’t seem to be the all out need to declare it “gross,” “disgusting,” or imply this level of dirtiness.

So what is the difference?  Why did Mo’Nique’s legs cause so much more stir?

Are more people are “disgusted” by the act because Mo’Nique is overweight?  The lack of shaving plays on the stereotypes so many people have about those who are obese: they are lazy, they don’t care about how they look, they have no self esteem, etc.   So many people who feel that they can’t comment on weight itself now find they have a free outlet to voice their opinions on her looks in a “safe” way, and they are letting it rip.

It wouldn’t be the first time that an actresses in this movie were chastized for being too comfortable in her own skin.  The actress who starred was attacked for having “no shortage of self esteem” by one writer, who said audiences should stop celebrating her talent due to her unhealthy size.

There is a new breed of award winning actresses who are comfortable with not fitting the Hollywood mold.  Confident and happy with who they are and how they look, they make some people uncomfortable. 

The only really disgusting thing here are the people who can only see one side of beauty.

(Story via Feministing)

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11:15PM PST on Feb 27, 2010

yay Monique!

6:49AM PST on Feb 26, 2010

Well I applaude Monique, at least she has the courage!
And I'll to add,there is a reason we have hair to protect us.
And don't worry when you pass the age of 50+,you'll lose the body hair and be the same as when you were a baby(LOL)
We shouldn't let men decide how we should look,it's our body!!


6:48PM PST on Feb 25, 2010

We are mammals folks ~ deal with it. Men get to have beards, and those can be quite unhygenic lol. Leg hair is fun, and it keeps you warm : ) Good for Mo'Nique!!

4:57PM PST on Feb 23, 2010

Shaving is a personal choice. Contrary to popular belief, shaving isn't even more hygenic (otherwise we would have evolved hairless.) All the hype is ridiculous.

7:03PM PST on Feb 14, 2010

Men catch hell if they shave their legs, women if they don't.
Alice in Wonderland. Some have incredibly small minds yet can't mind their own business.
~John L.

8:04PM PST on Feb 1, 2010

I spent a few years of my life in a part of the world where women do not regularly shave their legs. At first, it seemed a bit repulsive, but I became accustomed to the look very quickly. When I came back to the U.S., I once again noticed the difference, and it occurred to me that the only reason our culture prefers shaved legs is because we grow up being told by others that it's better. My wife tells me that it is more comfortable when she shaves, and I do not fault anyone for that reasoning. Still the belief that unshaved legs are ugly is a misperception placed on us by a superficial and consumerist society.

2:12AM PST on Jan 30, 2010

Ok... What I do not understand is.. What is the big deal with women shaving? My mother is from Northern Ireland ( not much hype over shaving there) It is cold, so my mother never stressed to me this dire need of cutting down a precious heat retaining resource. Seriously! In the winter time why would a woman want to shave her legs? It is cold in the winter time! Keep all the natural heat retaining resources you can get! Also look hair is hair, why would it be ok for one gender to shave and one not have to? That is not fair! Last time I checked women were not breed to have the only destiny in life as a brood mare.

8:06PM PST on Jan 29, 2010

I have to agree with Wowsux Sux. I don't like shaving either and I'm not making a big deal out of this. But, most American women do shave for special/public occasions. I guess it is like burping and farting. What you do in your own home or personally is OK, but in this society there is expected etiquette/behavior if you go out in public.

4:13PM PST on Jan 29, 2010

For the record- I shave mine even though I usually wear jeans
Not because I was taught to or anything- but because I like the way it feels.
The only time I shave from embaressment or being self consious are times when I was daydreaming in the shower and did one leg but not the other or somthing.

9:56AM PST on Jan 29, 2010

I've always longed to see the day when women smarten up. If men don't have to shave their legs, why do we? Its wonderful to see the comments of some realistic women here.
Our society is too focused on artificial things, which includes shaved legs. Shaved legs! It sounds too ridiculous to actually be something that thinking people would do.

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