Body hair, especially on women, provokes, disrupts, and, at times, offends. It is tangled up with culture itself—in art, families, workplaces, relationships, sex, the beauty industry, governments, and capitalism. From Chinese activists challenging the Communist Party, to students in Arizona rejecting their family and workplace ideas about grooming, to high-art feminist photographers boldly featuring hairy women, Fahs deftly explores the volatile and ever-changing landscape of women's body hair politics. She showcases an underground movement of artists, zine-makers, rebels, and activists who have used women's visible body hair as a declaration of freedom from patriarchal norms.
Fahs presents body hair not just as a personal grooming choice but as a connection to broader cultural stories about women's reproductive rights, feminist battlegrounds about autonomy, neoliberal intrusions into beauty regimens, and even global tensions around women's place in society. Ultimately, Unshaved shows the collision between the mundane and the extraordinary, the everyday and the revolutionary.
Breanne Fahs is professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University. She is the editor of Burn It Down! Feminist Manifestos for the Revolution and author of Firebrand Feminism; Out for Blood: Essays on Menstruation and Resistance; Women, Sex, and Madness: Notes from the Edge; and several other works.
"[A] thorough and revelatory treatment of an underexamined aspect of feminism and body politics."
"Engaging, elucidating and occasionally lots of fun."
"The reach and depth of the content and theoretical orientations of this book, written in an accessible way, provides important understanding of the social context in which people—especially women—make personal choices. It also offers an important exploration of the power relations operating within these “choices.” In exploring how power and resistance operate through body hair, showcasing those women who on their bodies or in their art offer forms of resistance, Unshaved offers an important read."
~Women's Reproductive Health
AWP Distinguished Publication
Institute for Humanitites Research Book Award