Arizona State University Gender Studies Professor Breanne Fahs is encouraging her students to rebel against social norms by offering extra credit to her female students who refuse to shave for 10 weeks during the semester.
Professor Fahs is using this experiment to illustrate social issues with gender roles, offering extra points to female students who stop shaving their underarms and legs during the semester, and documenting their experiences in a journal.
The results for students taking part in the extra credit work has been described by Student Stephanie Robinson as a “life changing experience.” Robinson told ASU news:
“Many of my friends didn’t want to work out next to me or hear about the assignment, and my mother was distraught at the idea that I would be getting married in a white dress with armpit hair.”
The study was successful is turning many students into feminist
disciples activists. Participant, Jaqueline Gonzalez said:
“The experience helped me better understand how pervasive gendered socialization is in our culture. Furthermore, by doing this kind of activist project I was no longer an armchair activist theorizing in the classroom. So much is learned by actually taking part in the theory or idea we learn in the classroom, and we could benefit from this type of pedagogy being taken up by similar classes.”
Men enrolled in Fahs’ women’s studies class are also encouraged to participate in the extra credit assignment by doing the reverse of their female peers and shaving all their body hair from the neck down.
Such an opportunity to shame men was not to be lost on Professor Fahs who said:
“One guy did his shaving with a buck knife. Male students tend to adopt the attitude of, I’m a man; I can do what I want.”
Being a women, Professor Breanne Fahs is certainly qualified to understand how men think and act. Fahs is the Director of the Center for Feminist Research on Gender and Sexuality Group at ASU. Her academic journals have been published in outlets such as Feminism & Psychology, Psychology of Women Quarterly and Gender and Society. She has also authored books including Performing Sex, Moral Panics of Sexuality.
Lucky for us, Arizona State University is shining a light on a flawed society that forces women to adhere to a biased standard of female beauty and hygiene, while men shamefully continue to act like men by allowing hair to grow on their chest and legs.
It’s always encouraging to see student loans being put to good use, as young Americans pursue quality university majors like Women and Gender Studies, that will undoubtedly provide them with the skills and tools needed to tackle the real world job market (See: 92 million Americans dropped out of the job hunt in June).