Rachel Tookey: Week 4

This week, RACHEL TOOKEY contemplates pubes and feminism, and has even created a delightful quiz for you all.

armpit hair body hair column columnist columnists equality Feminism feminist gender Men pubes pubic hair Quiz Rachel Tookey sporcle week 4 women

This week I’ve been thinking about being a feminist. Because I’m good at multi-tasking, I’ve also had a think about a few more things (and not internet kittens and why everything is meta in Cambridge). Sadly I have not been thinking about being an English student. This is partly because I don’t think it should matter what nationality I am, and also because I have far too much work to even contemplate starting it.

After feminism, one of the main things I’ve been thinking about this week is my hair. I’m a big fan of hair. Dyed hair, undercut hair, styled hair etc. Last year, I took part in the ‘I need feminism’ whiteboard campaign but I chickened out of what I was originally going to write. I wanted to do this one:

N.B. Not actual pubic hair. Pubic hair represented by actor

I toned it down and did a titbit about armpit hair instead. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to go public about the pubic. Clearly here on The Tab I can now express it with far more privacy and to an accepting audience. The reason I didn’t do the whiteboard thing above wasn’t because I stopped agreeing with it. I didn’t do it because I thought it was too graphic. And that’s exactly the problem.

We’ll accept body hair for the most part, but we don’t view it as aesthetically pleasing, or even aesthetically neutral. It’s seen as gross. We might not shave our armpits, but then we’ll hide them with long sleeves. We won’t shave our legs, but we’ll wear jeans. We’ll vote President Bush in but we’ll get embarrassed about him all the same. You won’t find a Vogue fashion shoot showing off hairy female armpits. In China, there’s no cultural pressure to shave. Showing off your armpit hair on the subway isn’t showing off, because there’s nothing significant about it. It’s just there, doing its thing, aesthetically neutral. Bald or dip dyed, it’s all good. Female body hair needs to stop being seen as in any way negative: showing a vagina with a winter coat shouldn’t be any more embarrassing than flashing a shaven one.

I’ve now expressed the only opinion I generated from my week of thinking. But so you too can think about feminism, I’ve made a quiz to work out if you’re a feminist:

QUESTION 1: Would you like to take this quiz?



If you answered no, we know you actually mean no. No pressure. We accept your decision. If you answered yes, move on to the next question.

QUESTION 2: Sidney and Alex both have the same job cleaning a glass ceiling. They both work 5 hours a day to get paid £100 each. Which one is the woman?



If you answered that question, you’re just guessing now. Don’t be a twat. However you should have worked out that Sidney is stealing from his job and Alex is sleeping with the boss. Go on to the next question.

QUESTION 3: Do you think women should have the vote?



If you answered yes, that’s great: go to question 4. If you answered no, unfortunately the quiz ends here for you. You no longer get to decide on these questions. No more choices for you, see how you feel.

QUESTION 4: Period?

a. WW2

b. Downton Abbey

c. Full stop.

d. ‘And the rivers ran red and were as blood’

e. Okay

If you answered A, get out. If you answered B, you’ve clearly been spending too much time on ITV player; please go finish your essay. If you answered C, you’ve also come to the end of the quiz. This isn’t because you’re a sexist, but you are a linguistic student and should go get a proper degree. If you said D, I’m not going to ask you to calm down. I’m just going to remind you that the Red Sea is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Finally, if you opted for option E, well done – move on to Question 5:

QUESTION 5: Are men and women equal?



If you answered no, please repeat the quiz, again and again. Feel like you’re trapped in a boring, stupid circular argument? Yep, that’s how we feel when we talk to you.

If you answered YES, congratulations you’ve passed the quiz! You have succeeded as a human being. You win the right to make your own sandwich. This may seem a bit small, but don’t worry; it’s one step along the way to helping reclaim rights for oppressed women all over the world. Now your sandwich – or whatever you’ve stolen from the fridge – really will taste good. You can even take the quiz again or do other quizzes, and we won’t call you a slut – just a player. You lad.