Unwanted Facial Hair Is NOT a Punchline

June 20th, 2012
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

So, this woman walks into a bar and she has facial hair.

Think that joke is funny? No? Well, Jim Shea, humor columnist for the Hartford Courant does.

Mr. Shea recently wrote a piece entitled My Two Bits On Women Shaving Their Faces. In this piece, he first implies that by growing a few hairs on her face, a woman has now crossed over so far into masculinity that she should be called a traditionally male name like "Dominic" and be considered "tough." He then explains that he is talking about a real person - a girl he went to grammar school with.

Once he's done establishing that, he goes on to explain that what he's really "resentful" about is that these women have taken up shaving - an activity which he believes to be the sole province of men.

Oh, and along the way, he refers to electrolysis hair removal as "a form of electrocution."

Wow. Where do I even begin?

First off, let's consider the concept of the humor writer. A humor writer is supposed to write things that are funny. Normally, they accomplish this through wit and cleverness. Maybe my standards are too high, but pointing at someone with an embarrassing medical condition and saying, "Ha ha, look at the hairy girl," really doesn't qualify. I don't think that anything should be off-limits to comedians, but there's more to humor than taking pot-shots at easy targets. At least, there should be.

Turtleneck in her faceAnd women with unwanted facial hair are, sadly, easy targets. Our society is very concerned about gender and we are not kind to people who exhibit traits we believe to be mismatched with their original sexy bits. While it would be nice if a woman could choose to sport a mustache without fear of ridicule, the fact is that she can't. Additionally, the consequences of that ridicule extend past self-esteem issues and into practical areas like employment. Often, the ridicule doesn't stop with her either. Her family also gets to have it pointed out to them that they are the husband/partner/child/etc of The Bearded Lady.

Not that that's really a problem. I mean, it's not like The Bearded Lady is depicted as a carnival freak or anything. Oh, wait...

So, we have a group of women suffering from a medical condition with a symptom so embarrassing and visible that they wear turtlenecks in the summer and deny themselves social activities because they might go late enough for the five-o-clock shadow to emerge, and Mr. Shea resents them when they sneak out of bed at 3AM to shave because it encroaches on some ritual that is only open to people for whom facial hair is perfectly acceptable. Now, that's humorous.

Fortunately, electrologists (who do not electrocute people, Mr. Shea) do understand the difficulties that women with unwanted facial hair ... well... face. Many of them became electrologists because they suffered from unwanted facial hair themselves and an electrologist changed their lives. If you have unwanted facial hair, you don't need to be embarrassed to tell an electrologist. Unlike some people, they don't think it's funny. They can, however, help you get rid of it - permanently.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

One Response to “Unwanted Facial Hair Is NOT a Punchline”

  1. Susan Nasta says:

    Well written Erika and so 'to the point' on how many women feel about their facial hair.

    I hope Mr. Shea soon realizes how 'hurtful' his comments are and how his humor just isn't as funny as he thinks they are!

RSS feed for comments on this post.