The Daily Telegraph (and other media channels) reported that the actress Mo’Nique caused quite a stir at the Golden Globe Awards, not only for winning an award, but also for her ‘fashion faux pas’. That is, she had hairy legs. Such reactions tell us something about gendered identities and specifically about cultural notions of what is means to be a woman.
The negotiation and representation of women’s identities centre around what is called ‘emphasized femininity’ (Connell and Messerschmidt, 2005). That is ‘emphasized femininity’ is a normative femininity, which is oriented to accommodating the interests and needs of men. It presents as the current most honored way of being a woman, even though most women do not enact it. However all women are required to position themselves, and are positioned by others, in relation to this ideal form (Giddens, 2009). Specific practices associated with ‘emphasized femininity’ include presenting oneself as ‘sexually attractive’ by being ‘well-groomed’. In other words, removing body hair other than on the head (and perhaps the genitalia). Those that fail to conform to this norm tend to be held accountable.
Hairy moment for Golden Globes winner
Femininity and Feminine Values