Body hair, body odour and drawings of breasts [NSFW illustrations]

It's undeniable that people in western cultures are forced encouraged to spend a massive amount of time fussing over making their bodies less... body-like. Women specifically are encouraged to completely remove the majority of our body hair; coat ourselves in perfumes, scented soaps, "deodorants;" prevent signs of natural aging like wrinkles and grey hairs... essentially, we're taught that being human is bad grooming - hell, some people even go so far as to call the natural human state "unhygenic."

It's a pretty popular topic in feminist/gender circles, for obvious reasons.

You don't have to look too hard to find people waxing poetic about how the natural state of being - hairy, "smelly," with natural "flaws," - is beautiful. You don't have to look too hard to find people passionately writing about how knowing someone's natural scent is intimate and beautiful. You don't have to look to far to see people fighting against the perception that human bodies are naturally "dirty" and need to be tidied on a regular basis.

Once you get over the stigmas tied to body odor, you actually learn that they are erotic and contain pheromones that are meant to attract others. That’s why you have body hair in places where your body is fragrant, to trap the scent. People who shave their pits, coat themselves with toxic deodorants and anti-perspirants, and wear perfumes or body sprays are missing out on a significant aspect of sexual relations with people. Learning someone’s smell is a very natural way of connecting with them. [...] Businesses don’t like that, though, because they can’t sell you a scent you produce naturally. [...] (Click for full)

And they have a point. All this pressure to look and smell perfect is... frankly, annoying. Some days I'm just too fucking lazy to shave my legs. Some days it's hot out and I can't help it that I get sweaty. At some points in my menstrual cycle my natural odour is stronger, but there's no way in hell am I letting a douche or "feminine cleansing cloth" get near my pussy. Sometimes I forget to check if my eyebrows need to be shaped. And you know what? That's okay. Bodies shouldn't be considered disgusting. It's weird to convince people that their normal state of existence is offensive and gross, and for sure a big motivation for that attitude is companies seeking profit by playing off insecurities.

On the other hand, I see no reason to judge people for choosing to heavily groom themselves. It just swings the pendulum in the opposite direction. It reminds me of the skinny vs curvy "debate." I know what people are getting at when they say things like, "Real women have curves!" but I sometimes feel like I'm the only person who realizes statements like that are equally damaging as the perception that the only way to be attractive is to be very slim. It's fantastic to challenge the beliefs that women have to be completely smooth and smell like flowers before a man will touch them, but it's just as bad to imply that people are ignorant or being coerced if they choose to follow conventional grooming practices. That they have unsatisfying sex lives if they shave their arm pits. That they don't experience real intimacy if they wear deodorant.

I also dislike like the argument based around, "If it grows [or happens], it's there for a reason" because if you know anything about evolution you know it's patently not true. And, in that case, shouldn't we use the same logic to apply to all out bodily matters? Stop brushing our teeth because it's unnatural? Stop wearing sunscreen because it's unnatural? Stop combing our hair because it's unnatural? Clearly not. There are plenty of things our bodies do naturally that are actually detrimental, or at least completely neutral. And we, being a clever sentient species, have the power to change these things on a whim in the name of health, practicality or aesthetics.

For the same reason a person may dye their hair green, I shave my legs. For the same reason a person may get a tattoo, I wear deodorant. I don't think body hair or body odour is gross or unpleasant in any way - just as a person dying their hair doesn't think their natural hair colour is gross, or a person getting a tattoo doesn't think their bare skin is unpleasant. I do it because I like the results. I have very little problem smelling and looking "natural," but I would much prefer to have skin that is smooth to touch and an armpit that smells like a tasty strawberry, coconut and vanilla dessert.

What I do have a problem with is people being ostracized for how they choose to groom themselves. Whether it be a woman being called "not a feminist" because they wax their pubes, a man being called names for shaving his legs, or a woman being called "disgusting" because they don't wear deodorant or keep their armpit hair long. That shit is not cool, in any form. Keep your preferences to yourself, and let people act according to their own. How they look or smell has no lasting effect on your life, but pressuring people to groom themselves in a specific way does affect their lives - and in a negative way.

The New Minecraftia

Version: 1.8
Seed: shipwreck
Texturepack: Jolicraft (modified)

Day One
I wake up on a small island with no memory of who I am or how I got here. A single tree provides shade to a small patch of yellowed grass. A jolly spiral sun and happy clouds hang above me. Nearby I can see a second small island, and there are two other islands on the distant horizon. There no other living thing in sight.

Using my bare hands, I tear down the single tree, gathering chunks of the trunk and small saplings as they fall to the ground. I replant the saplings in the hope that they will grow quickly - I will need more wood soon enough. I fashion a rough crafting table and a wooden pick from the tree trunk. Slinging the pick over my shoulder I slip into the ocean and make my way to the closest island. If I am to survive, I will need more resources - and there is no reason to carve away the island that supports my trees.

As I wander over the second small island, I trample away the coarse, wispy grasses. I find a small handful of seeds - food, perhaps? I put those in my pocket for later. I then turn my attention to the firm ground beneath my feet and begin to dig a shallow, dark mine. After several false starts, I finally find what I'm looking for: coal.

Beautiful, life-giving coal.

Day Two
I have built myself a basic stone hut to provide shelter. Inside I have a furnace, a chest and a crafting table. I am happy to see a few trees have grown. This is good. I now have enough wood to build a boat.

I sail to an island and scrounge for more seeds. I have started to feel hunger... perhaps I can build a small farm. There doesn't appear to be anything I can hunt, and I have nothing to make a fishing rod of.

Darkness falls. I boat back to the island I now call home.

It is now pitch black outside. I am becoming very hungry. I don't have anything to sleep on, except for the hard ground. I pace around my hut, grow bored and venture into the darkness.

I can see shapes moving on the nearest island. Friends? Food? I wade through the water to investigate, gripping a simple stone club in case they turn out to be hostile. At this point, with no food, no mainland, and nothing else living, I figure I should find out what has suddenly appeared. I'm close enough that I can make out some details -

Holy shitballs, is THIS how it feels to not be depressed?

Well, fuck me silly.

I think it's finally happened. I think... I'm not depressed any more.

This is a beast I've been battling for years and years now - it's something that's been like a grey cloud always hovering over my life. For a very long time, a good day was one in which I didn't have a panic attack, didn't feel nauseous, or didn't feel like I was going to cry. Playing games or visiting with friends was the most effective way to fend off the loneliness and hopelessness, and sometimes I'd even feel good for a couple weeks in a row.

But it always came back. Depression is hard to describe to people who have never suffered from it, but it's instantly recognizable to anyone who has. It's an oppressive force that permeates your entire life. It made me want to hide in bed and sleep my life away. (There were times when I wished I would never have to wake up - that I could stay dreaming forever.) It made me feel sick and anxious so that I didn't want to eat. It made me angry and confused and I started picking fights so I'd have something to channel those feelings into. It made me hate myself - physically and mentally. I began to hate that I was weak and insecure and that it seemed like I couldn't motivate myself to fix myself.

It became normal for me - to the point that I forgot what it was like to not feel that way.

And then, this summer...

...something changed. I honestly do not know what it was that changed. Knowing myself and knowing my triggers, this summer should have been the worst of all - I had no job and nothing to do during the day when I was home, alone. I felt as if I wasn't contributing to the household (I wasn't - I didn't have any money) and I had found out I would need at least another year of school before I could graduate due to all the courses I have failed. Basically I had this summer as a proof of how I had "failed;" it should have been fuel to feed my depression even more.

But it didn't.

Instead, I stayed happy and content for several months. I could still get upset or restless or lonely, of course, but it wasn't all-encompassing and hopeless. I was just sad, not depressed. The feelings would pass on their own, or if I talked about it, or if I did something else... basically, I was healthy again for the first time in... well, since I can clearly remember.

It's easy to forget what it's like to be truly happy.

I can only identify two changes over this summer. The first is that I am able to sleep on a natural rhythm - I got to bed when I'm tired and get up when I'm awake. I don't get forcefully woken up by an alarm too early in my sleep cycle, which is something I know always makes me feel like shit for the rest of the day. The second is that I've been talking 2000 IUs of vitamin D every day for the whole summer. There is a proven connection between vitamin D deficiency and depression, so I suspect the vitamin D has helped quite a bit. (Vitamin D is an interesting topic; this is a great starting point for anyone interested. Ignore the bad page design; Gibson is very, er, oldschool in his web design. It's not a sketchy website trying to sell you anything, as much as it may look it. :P)

But, even with all the contentment, I worry.

I worry that I will slowly slip back into depression. It has a way of sneaking up on you. So, whenever I have a couple days when I'm grumpy or restless or PMSing, I worry. What if the feeling doesn't go away? What if I go back to how I was? I make the people around me miserable in addition to being miserable myself. I don't want that; no one does. But it's hard to spot, and eve harder to stop.

To anyone who has recovered from bouts of depression - can it ever be truly gone? Or do you always worry ti might come back to haunt you?

Phone Pic Dump 1

As it turns out, the two of us can't finish an XL between us.

Half of the horror is the spelling. Damn you, Lovecraft!
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"Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."