My name is Emma. This is my feminism.

Boy Meets World

on May 3, 2012

I used to love this show.  Obviously, I’m a grown up now… so I don’t watch it anymore (pretty sure no one watches it anymore).  But I just wanted to comment on one part of one episode that always stayed with me.  I can’t remember what the episode was about, or what the context was, but I vividly remember Corey saying to Topanga, “You’re not gonna be one of those women who doesn’t shave her legs are you?” and Topanga saying “I haven’t decided yet.”  Cue laugh track… because it would be SO RIDICULOUS for a girl to think she wouldn’t have to shave her legs when she got older. 

When I watched this show, I didn’t know what feminism was, or that I was passionate about it.  I didn’t know that one day I would realize how fucked it is that we have to remove hair from our legs (and underarms, and girlie bits* and eyebrows, and maybe our faces, and anywhere else that it’s not ‘supposed to’ be) or risk being ridiculed or worse.  But I have never forgotten that conversation.  And it was very clear that I did not want to be “one of those women.”  

I don’t watch kids shows anymore, so I don’t know if this policing of femininity is a theme at all  (although I assume it is), but I think it’s very interesting that Boy Meets World chose to include that scene.  I guess it was important to them to make sure young girls knew that feminism was a bad thing before they even knew what feminism was.  Ugh!

No wonder feminism is so stigmatized and feminists are so hated.  We have been taught to hate nonconforming women since we were little.  Sometimes as directly as being encouraged to laugh at a girl who dares to consider not shaving her legs as an adult.  (Of course, the issue never comes up again, and we can safely assume that she did decide to shave her legs.)

* I also think it’s fucked that I still feel awkward saying vulva, vagina, cunt, pussy, or any other more appropriate, more grown up word to refer to that area than ‘girlie bits.’  I’m working on it.

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