or: gross is the new fierce and i love rupi kaur
My sweat stains and I have become intimate through long fellowship and shared struggle. I have leg hair and armpit hair and sporadic chin hairs. I have stretch marks on my thighs. Once every 50 days or so, gooey blood flows out of me for a week straight. My nose drips like a leaky faucet the whole winter through. My hair is greasy approximately 73% of the time.
I’m disgusting. Or at least, that’s what society would seem to tell me. Secret wants me to believe that the only way I can be footloose, armpit-baring and fancy free is to smell like a ‘sea breeze’ and coat myself in aluminum. Old Spice mostly just repeats the word “man” a lot, breeding armpit insecurity and immediately swooping in as the only solution. (Note: bottom left ad is a spoof)
Armpit hair gets an “ew” on women in Buzzfeed articles (scroll to the end of the article), while in a male-dominated article, the “LOL” response predominates. At least Buzzfeed can be sort of on it, even if only 5% of someone recognizes that men don’t have to deal with this specific oppression.
I’ve already talked about Rupi Kaur and her period art on Instagram. But if Instagram can censor a fully clothed woman with a noticeable red spot, then something’s deeply wrong. Oh, and also, everyone flips out when humans run marathons without tampons.
I could keep on talking about Rupi Kaur and stretch marks. Or greasy hair.
But I am going to tell you something of my own instead.
For me, my disgusting is primarily proof. It is proof that the world is too exciting to walk slowly through. I don’t have time to bead like a lady instead of sweating like a horse. My sweat stains are a trophy for the vigorous existence I don’t know how not to lead. They are a direct result of my tenacious capacity for a full love of life.
My hair, in its forest of sometimes-greasy glory, is proof that my body knows how to protect itself. My scalp knows how to produce its own conditioner to envelop its charge in a soft overcoat. My legs know how to grow themselves a wispy over-layer to tickle in the breeze and keep them warm(ish).
My stretch marks are proof that I am not afraid to grow and change more quickly than anyone might think possible. White feathery lines of my body accepting me for who I am constantly becoming.
My blood is proof that I have the capacity to grow life within me, and also renew with every moon my energies and connection to myself.
Ultimately, my disgusting is proof that my body is one of my greatest allies. My disgusting is a rebellion against the ‘powers’ of advertising, the ‘ew’ factor of the Buzzfeed patriarchy, our deep-seated societal fear of a woman’s blood. And through this, my disgusting body becomes something that’s not even disgusting at all. It is fierce.