Sunday, May 07, 2006

how much time do you spend at leisure?

I mentioned yesterday that some of my favourite photographs in the Masquerade exhibition are of women with moustaches. I have talked about hair a bit before here in this post on the Beauty Myth.

I have just read an article from the Guardian on the 4th May based on a speech given by Germaine Greer about leisure time. There is a big difference between the way men and women use their leisure time. Basically women don't have "leisure" pursuits - we work when we are not doing paid work - either doing housework or volunteering or doing beauty work....some of that is to do with hair.

"The time they don't spend working for the employer and the taxman they spend doing something called "housework", to which, for most women between the ages of 25 and 50, may be added "childcare". There is also the onerous task of body maintenance, keeping the otherwise disgusting female body clean, tidy, deodorised, made up, not to mention toned and becomingly clad, plus the exhausting, sometimes painful and expensive business of hair and hairiness management. Work, all of it.....

Older women, whether they play bingo or break out the camp stove, are heavily involved in leisure, but theirs is cut-price leisure. They are not in the market for recreational vehicles, or powerboats, or even motel accommodation. They are the people who make possible literary festivals and antique fairs, who support local art galleries and museums, who volunteer for every community chore, and happily raise money for what they believe to be good causes, giving, giving, giving of their time free. If we had a way of quantifying the output of the leisure industry of older women, we would probably see that it contributes vastly more to the GDP than the corporate leisure industry."

I spent such a large part of my life dealing with hair from puberty until my mid 20's that I feel certain one of the reasons I now have time for real leisure, such as singing in the LoudMouth Women singing group I am part of, is because I don't remove hair anymore. Neither do I wear any make-up. How many hours do you think you spend "working" on your body image?


jafabrit said...

I had a moustache frida kahlo would have been proud of. Never really bothered me until I hit 50 and then all of a sudden they seemed to blossom further like giant sprouts on a chia pet. Since I didn't want to spend my whole day plucking or shaving off chin hair and me moustache I had it zapped with laser. Other than that I avoid as much time as possible working on hair, makeup or body image. Never really been a one for fussing about my look even when I was a young woman.

birdychirp said...

No make up - although I don't mind putting it on on special occassions. Hair I get rid of - it bothers me. It doesn't, of course bother me on other people but I choose to get rid of it on me.

But then again, as I'm a wheelchair user I do no housework, and usually (when not moving) have a fair amount of time for creating all sorts of things. Plus I work less than full time. Still there are loads of disability related things I do which I consider work - organising assitants, keeping equipment ticking over and so on.

Pippa said...

Excellent post. I stopped shaving a few years ago. I have better things to do with my time! I like my body hair, I think it's a difficult process, trying to like every bit of ourselves. We are taught to find our bits and bobs repellent, I am choosing not to do this anymore. Cheers, Pippa

TP said...

I'm working on it - shaving (hah) time off beauty routines, slimming down my makeup and I rearely spend any time 'doing' my hair. There's a way to go yet - but I'm trying to wean myself off these pointless rituals.

Winter said...

No makeup, expect on very rare occasions for dressing up purposes i.e. some glitter and eyeliner at a gig or something.

Body hair: I go through phases. In the summer I generally shave, in the winter I generally don't. When I shave I do it quickly and inexpertly about twice a week, so maybe half an hour on that.

I do fuss a bit with the hair on my head. It's curly in hot weather and I am a bit uncomfortable going out with messy (as I percieve it) hair. I might spend about 10 minutes a day with a pot of wax dealing with it.

Um. I think that's about it. I don't feel in any way over burdened with beauty rituals.

yclepta said...

I went to Middlewich Folk Festival a couple of weeks ago and saw a fabulous perfomer Kirsty McGee for the first time. One of the first things I noticed about her apart from how attractive she is and what a great singing voice she has, was that she did had hair on her legs and underarms. I was very pleased, not only was her music good, her lyrics classy and politically left but she hadn't depilated! There is hope!