Tatiana Maslany: It’s sexist to tell me to wax my mustache or shave my pits


I enjoy Tatiana Maslany, star of Orphan Black. She’s really great at accents, physical acting and drama, and she’s also shown off a comedic ability too. She’s one of those actresses who could pretty much do anything and everything with her career. Tatiana is currently up for the Best Actress Emmy for Orphan Black, and she sat down for an interview with People Magazine (People has been profiling Emmy nominees for weeks now). In this piece, Tatiana goes off on sexism in the film/TV industry and how she’s been treated on some sets, and the whole thing is just awful. Except for one small story, which… she uses as an example of sexism but I don’t really think it is. See if you can pick it out!

Every woman has experienced sexism: “I don’t think that any woman in this industry hasn’t [experienced sexism] – I think we all have in various ways, and sometimes you can’t even tell that it’s happening because it’s so ingrained in the way things are structured. Seventy or 80 percent of the people on set are male – directors, writers, producers, people in positions of power, but that’s shifting too.”

Experiences with sexism: “Like being told, ‘Let’s not talk about that, sweetheart,’ if I have an issue with being hit on by a 50-year-old when I was 17 and on set. It’s never ending. Being put into this little outfit that showed my midriff in a scene where I’m supposed to be grieving the death of a family member, and it’s like, ‘Make sure that her belly button is showing’ – it’s just pathetic. It’s so pathetic.”

She’s been asked to alter her appearance: Maslany recalls being asked to shave her armpits. “And wax my mustache, which I refused to do! I’ll do it if the part calls for it and it makes sense.”

There’s always a power struggle: “Sometimes it’s not worth being political about it. There’s a point where I have to separate my own political values versus the character I’m playing.”

Hopefully things are changing: “I can’t imagine that it’s going to stay stuck like this. I hope not! People are too upset, people are too pissed off and too many strong voices are now being heard. There is a big shift happening, and I think we are at the messy puberty stages of it right now, but I hope that at some point it becomes the default that every racial group has their own stories that are being told that aren’t stereotypical. It’s just about bringing that sensitivity, your emotional life and your understanding of humanity that women have that’s different to men.”

[From People]

The examples of sexism are awful, of course, like a 50 year old man hitting on a 17 year old in a funereal crop top. WTF?! But the shaved armpits and mustache-waxing… I don’t know, is that really sexism? Isn’t that just normal grooming stuff that everyone, male and female, does for their job? Granted, I don’t wax my mustache for CB, I wax it for myself, because I don’t like having a mustache. But if CB was like “your mustache reflects poorly on the site,” I wouldn’t take it as sexism as much as… simply needing to be groomed.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

121 Responses to “Tatiana Maslany: It’s sexist to tell me to wax my mustache or shave my pits”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Amandine says:

    What? Of course it’s sexist that painfully removing body hair is “just normal grooming stuff” for women and not for men. Men are with few exceptions not expected to remove body and facial hair at all, but women have to remove almost all hair below their eyebrows. Different arbitrary expectations based on gender is definitely “really sexism” and I’m shocked to see it described as “just normal”. Guess that proves Tatiana’s point.

    • Palar says:


    • Kat says:


      It’s sexist that the expectation for a woman to look well groomed requires the removal of naturally occurring body hair.

    • LAK says:

      whilst this is a generalisation, and of course hipsters not withstanding, the generation currently in their 20s and below are OK with manscaping – back, bottom, and or pubic area. Every salon that offers male grooming services will have this option. frankly i assume every metrosexual man i meet is manscaped.

      i think we are going in circles as far as standards or beauty and expectations. it used to be the men wore the make up, high heels, wigs etc whilst the women didn’t do anything. now we are slowly matching back to that standard for men again whilst women are slowly revolting.

      • Elisa the I. says:

        I agree with Amadine: I have never ever dated a guy who was manscaped. If you go to the public swimming pools in my city, the lack of manscaping will be very visible. 🙂

      • LAK says:

        Elisa the I: it also depends on the types of men one hangs with. i think i know far too many metrosexual men. gay and straight.

        on a personal note, i’m OK with manscaped back and bottom. manscaped pubic region is too far!!!!

      • FLORC says:

        This reminds me of a guy I knew that was a camp councelor. He was also that guy without a shirt that stands outside an A&F store at the mall. He had to “manscape” An area exposed by lowcut jeans..That didn’t seem sexist to me. Is this different?
        Sometimes I wonder if certain things are only sexism when it happens to females. Not all, but some things.

        And shavine pits? Hygiene imo.

      • Narek says:

        Christopher Hitchens once got waxed for a Vanity Fair article on male grooming: “back, crack and sack.”

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        I am firm in believing that everyone has a right to do what they want with their own bodies: whether that means DDD implants, full body tattoos, laser hair removal, go to town!

        That said, for men, “manscaping” is *always* an option, never a requirement, and when they do it, they get so much admiration and credit. For women on the other hand, it is a requirement and not complying can mean anything from being treated as invisible to outright harassment and insults from complete strangers. Big difference.

        For myself, I wax– mainly because for me shaving in painful and waxing feels like a luxurious exfoliation treatment, and I like having smooth silky skin. I would never have an opinion about what anyone else should do.

    • anon3214 says:

      I once worked with a woman with hairy arm pits, legs and upper lip and she didn’t use deodorant. Nor did she comb her hair. Or pay her mortgage. She was lazy and disorganized. It is out of the norm when anyone, man or woman, has to be told to sharpen their grooming habits. We want to see sexism, racism and every other ism so that we can get on our soapbox but some of this stuff is just common sense.

      • Palar says:

        Soooo only the no deodorant part affected you then?

      • Sally says:

        Sorry but individual anecdotes are surely to be representative of everyone’s else intersection with sexism and gender conformation. If asked, a majority of women will attest to never ever having gone one day without make-up or manis and pedis. Working mothers will also confirm this.
        One’s sloppy behavior should not be relevant to women’s conditioning to painful beauty treatments just so man will be titillated and other women reassured of their in-built biases, privileges and prejudices / personal experiences with the lazy useless “undesirable”. But then, again men with beer guts are considered the norm and in general, in no way, shape or form relegated to the society’s “lazy and disorganized” trash bin . Just look at what’s left of Leo Dicaprio.

      • Fluff says:

        Sally – where on earth do you live where “most women” would claim to have never gone a single day without full makeup and a mani-pedi! I don’t know anyone who DOES wear makeup every day and always has a mani-pedi. Do you work on on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or something? I live in central London, hardly hicksville, and grew up in NYC. I know plenty of women in both cities who rarely wear makeup or get mani-pedis. We’re still perfectly well-groomed and hygienic.

        Anon – correlation doesn’t equal causation. The fact this one woman who happened to not wear makeup also happened to be financially irresponsible and lazy isn’t relevant. I know plenty of women who wear full makeup and Jimmy Choo heels every day who are extremely financially irresponsible. Otoh my mother has never worn makeup or removed body hair (at least not since she was a teenager) and she’s a successful accountant and property owner.

      • Sally says:

        @Fluff: Sorry… The sarcastic tone didn’t come off as it should have. That was precisely the hyperbolic point I was going for.

      • FLORC says:

        I know that lady. She smelled of cats.
        Though her situation and the woman you speak of are not representative of all who refuse to shave.

      • pieciesofme says:

        I do not shave under my arms, my legs, or my pubic area (though I do trim, for the same reason I trim the hair on my head).

        I shower daily, wash my hair, hold a good job, don’t smell unless I have engaged in strenuous physical activity. I use antiperspirant, and guess what! It works!


        I also only wear makeup occasionally and never mani-pedi. I hate nail polish, to be honest, and I hate the feeling of makeup on my skin. My skin is clean and my nails are short and clean.

        I am very happy to be female, and very happy to live in a place and have a job where no one gets all freaked out by my natural body hair. I’m in my mid forties now – I stopped shaving in college when I realized I didn’t have to.

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        I know a woman who never sets foot out her door without full makeup, a blowout, and perfect nails. Imagine living next door to Bree Vandekamp, and you will have the right image.

        She is also one of the most financially irresponsible people I have ever met. Her whole life is in shambles because of it.

        What is the point of all of this?

        pieces of me: I paint my toenails, but I hate painting my fingernails– I’m an artist and I do too many things with may hands on a daily basis. I also confess that I prefer shaggy and wild eyebrows!

    • Elisa the I. says:

      well said! and of course this is not only about the removal of body hair – this is just one of many many issues that make me wonder whether women will ever be equal? 🙁

    • Londerland says:

      Agreed, Amandine.

      It’s only “normal” in the sense that it is universally expected of women, but that doesn’t make it any less sexist.

    • Taylor says:

      Yes yes yes to this

    • Algernon says:

      Maybe not in the real world, but actors are regularly expected to wax their chests. Within the acting community, and Tatiana is not talking about experiences in every day life but being asked by people who are her bosses to groom a certain way, I don’t think there’s a difference between asking an actress to wax her upper lip/shave her underarms, than there is in asking an actor to wax his chest.

      • Sally says:

        I have not seen Hollywood or otherwise publicly shunning Bradley Cooper or Matthew McConaughey for disavowing deo spray. They’re prolly doing it to see who comes on top the Alpha male contest of machismo.

      • Algernon says:

        No, but McConaughey has waxed his chest for years.

      • vanna says:

        there are enough actors with unwaxed chests: George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Tom Hardy, Henry Cavill, Ryan Reynolds, Chris Pratt etc. I would argue that it’s mostly young, not yet popular actors that go for the waxed look.

      • Anne tommy says:

        Men waxing anything or shaving body hair off is horrible- the exception being if you are a swimmer who needs to maximise streamlining! Embrace the manliness! I give the lower part of my legs a quick shave if I’m going to be wearing a dress, and I get my upper lip waxed when it gets too walrus- like, but sod the rest of it.

      • Algernon says:

        @ Vanna

        Ryan Reynolds and Chris Pratt have both waxed for superhero roles.

        I’m just saying, a producer/director asking Tatiana Maslany to wax her upper lip is no different than them asking a guy to wax his chest. There are often practical considerations beyond beauty standards, too, like whether or not an actor is being spray-tanned to appear on camera. A lot of pale actors have to be tanned to a certain point (there is an actual gradient scale) so that they don’t wash out under the lights. Spray tan “takes” better on smooth skin. So does some of the HD makeups they use, the makeup an actress wears on screen is not the same stuff you buy in the store. I’ve known actresses to actually shave their faces before having makeup applied so that it goes on better. I’m not saying there isn’t an impractical beauty standard in play, but there are more mundane considerations, too, and these same things can get the male actors, too.

      • sara says:

        what you seem to have missed in her comments is that she’s not saying that simply asking her to wax is sexist- when it’s appropriate and justified for the role, she’s fine with it – it’s part of her job. She’s saying that when she’s asked to wax or shave for a reason outside of the motivations or needs of her role that she finds it to be a sexist request.

    • Mlle says:


    • db says:

      And this at a time when hipster beards are everywhere lol

    • teacakes says:

      +100 to you. Seriously, the standards expected of women are ridiculous sometimes, and it’s even worse when we internalise it.

    • teehee says:

      Oh grooming (re Celebitchy comment)? Well how about she can leave her pits and everything else as she pleases. Now, as an actress, thats a different story— if they were criticising her appearance in her free time, thats something else. But, isnt that also what happens— I for one havent touched my pits in 2 .5 years and I know this horrifies most women today. I feel awkward when I am the only woman in the entire Sauna who ISNT bald down there. Literally the only one, of all ages, of all sizes and colors, I am the only one with hair anywhere. Every time I go! I wonder, wtf are women not making up their own minds about their own bodies anymore!?

      • Michelle says:

        Yes they are making up their own minds. They’re choosing to shave certain areas for their own reasons, whatever those may be. I shave my legs once a week because I have dense hair legs and like the smooth look for skirts/ short. I shave my pits and trim my pubes (never to bald) because otherwise I get sweaty and smelly. I can tell the clear difference in my BO if I haven’t shaved my pits in a couple days and I don’t like to smell bad. Some women don’t have that problem and can get away without shaving, but I am definitely not one of those women. I also like to thread my eyebrows because when they’re done right my entire face lights up. I also hate the feeling of the hairs under there (again, dense and thick). I don’t wax my little blond mustache because it doesn’t bother me visually or sensation-wise.

    • Tara says:

      Yeah I don’t get why that was even a question. Next.

    • Nerdista says:

      Exactly! Normal grooming… For who?!

    • fille says:


  2. GreenBunny says:

    Aren’t men also told to grow/cut hair, facial hair, and body hair for a role? So if she’s told the same, is that sexist?

  3. Watcher says:

    Yes, I think it’s sexist. A perfect example of the vastly different standards that exist for men and women. Personal grooming is a choice that shouldn’t be dictated directly or indirectly unless, as she said, her job specifically calls for it.

  4. LaMontagne says:

    She was specific in the interview: she does things only if it’s asked for the character’s credibility. I think it makes sense, she does it for the movie, not to attract audience.

  5. De says:

    But are men held to the same standards of beauty as women? Women are often expected to have perfect makeup, no hair aside from on their heads/eyebrows, impeccably dressed, etc. And if we’re not, we’re often called out for not adhering to the stereotypical ideas of Western beauty. Now obviously men can’t get away with being slobs at the workplace either, but the standards don’t seem the same to me.

    Anyway, I love her and Orphan Black.

    • Fluff says:

      Exactly. Whenever this argument comes up people always point to the small number of male actors whose USP is being ‘hot’, ignoring the fact there are huge numbers of male actors who are fat, old, hairy, ugly, etc. and whose careers do not suffer at all. Marlon Brando was able to get so obese they had to shoot him from the neck up and it didn’t stop people wanting to pay crazy amounts to cast him. If he’d been a woman he’d have been reduced to infomercials and guest stints as stern judges on Law and Order a decade earlier.

  6. Lisa says:

    Of course being told and expected to wax our facial hair and shave our legs is sexist. Both genders grow hair naturally. Hair on men is not considered disgusting in the way it is with women. It’s the same thing as a woman being expected to lose weight, wear makeup, dye our hair, while men can just roll out of bed and be fat. Unequal, unfair expectations.

  7. Dana says:

    “Isn’t that just normal grooming stuff that everyone, male and female, does for their job?”

    Men? Not really – I can assure you that having a visible mustache – no matter how neatly trimmed- would cause big problems for me at work, make it much harder to get hired or promoted, and otherwise damage my career in a way it would not for a man with a mustache. Body hair on women is automatically considered slovenly or even unhygienic and a sign of lack of grooming in a way it isn’t for men.

    Hell- there’s plenty of research out there that demonstrates that employers discriminate against women in hiring & promotion just for not wearing make-up.

    In other words, it’s sexist because men and women are held to different standards – specifically women have to do a lot more to be considered groomed & presentable.

  8. Lilacflowers says:

    It is sexist to expect women to remove body hair unless the job specifically requires it of all employees, which would never happen, or, as she pointed out, the role requires it. It is sexist to look askance at women we see in public who don’t remove body hair. And so long as they have showered recently, their grooming is fine.

  9. natty says:

    Men are expected to be clean shaved on many occasions.
    It’s also matter of aesthetics. Is it sexist to ask to groom yourself for a project in visual industry?

  10. t.fanty says:

    You don’t wax for us? Now I’m hurt.

  11. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I guess it’s sexist. But is it really important that we be exactly like our male counterparts in every way? I just feel like these types of “causes” are trivializing feminism and taking it to an absurd level. Can we worry about equal pay first?

    • bettyrose says:

      Well stated. My own feminist take on female grooming standards is not to require less of women but more of men. I’m not a fan of hippie free for all looks (a huge liberal yes but not a hippie). Not talking cosmetic surgery, just cleanliness, a little moisturizer, a dab of scented oil, neatly pressed clothes, clean nails, etc.

      • Absolutely says:

        Why is moisturizer and perfume a requirement? As long as you’re skin isn’t coming off in huge flakes and you don’t smell offensive I don’t understand why you need either? I don’t wear perfume because I’m allergic to most of it. My odor is not offensive. Why do I need scented oil?

      • bettyrose says:

        LOL. I’ve never known anyone to be offended by moisturizer before. I use unrefined coconut oil mixed with a drop of lavender essential oil. I’m not suggesting a law, but why can’t it be more normal for men to pamper themselves and indulge their skin?

      • Absolutely says:

        I’m hardly offended by moisturizer. Just pointing out that it’s not a neccesity. Brushing teeth and hair, bathing – these are necessities.

      • LAK says:

        where i come from, moisturiser is a cultural necessity. for men and women. you are brought up moisturising your skin as a requirement. to be done after a shower/bath – from babyhood – death. by adulthood it is as normal as brushing one’s teeth. telling anyone that you don’t mosturise would be received very negatively. People would be genuinely scandalised. it’s that indoctrinated into you/them.

        also, daily exfoliation with a loofah.

        infact, until we moved to Europe, i’d never encountered anyone who didn’t moisturise/exfoliate. didn’t know there was an option not to.

        Perfume is an option.

        all other factors aside, i can only go by the men and women of my region. most, if not all, have beautiful skin.

      • Jonathan says:

        “Pressed clothes”? I actually don’t want this to sound as offensive as it sounds, but nevertheless: neurotic. Apologies!

    • Crumpet says:

      Good point. This one isn’t seeing the forest for the trees.

    • Dana says:

      I think that women who naturally have more abundant and darker facial/body hair would argue that it is an equal pay issue considering that they need to spend more time and money frequently waxing, plucking, lasering, etc. in order to not suffer repercussions in the workplace.

      So, yes I’d say that it is important to be like our male counterparts regarding how much effort & money we have to put into grooming in order to avoid work discrimination. There shouldn’t be a higher bar for women.

      If a woman wants to shave, wear make-up, wear heels, etc. that’s fine for her – she’s less likely to regard that extra effort as a burden. But it’s really screwed-up that many women who don’t want to do that stuff feel pressured to pay the “beauty tax” to avoid consequences in their professional life.

      I’d add that a woman not removing her body hair does not make her like a man, it makes her a woman who doesn’t care to perform that particular aspect of femininity.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I didn’t mean it makes us like men. I meant must we have every single thing the same for men and women – shaving, showing our nipples – I see your point, and I see the free the nips point, it just feels silly to me that in the face of everything that is unequal, we are supposed to care about this. Men and women are not exactly the same. Should men feel discriminated against because people expect them to shave their faces and groom their beards, when (most) women don’t have to?

      • Absolutely says:

        I agree with Dana. People who have light skin and hair don’t usually have issues with this. I have friends who don’t have to shave their legs because they’re blond and their hair doesn’t show up. Must be nice. Those of us with darker hair can’t get away with that a lot of times. Shaving, bleaching, plucking. It gets exhausting. If I’m not odorous or shedding what’s the big deal? I think those of us that feel that have to do it way more often/intensely think it’s more of an issue.

      • MsMercury says:

        I agree with Dana and Absolutely. I have dark thick hair that grows everywhere and I shave as often as I can but it gets tiring and expensive.

      • Dana says:

        “I meant must we have every single thing the same for men and women”

        Every single thing? Nobody here is arguing that.

        Do you see the distinction between, say, a dress code that requires male flight attendants to wear a blue jacket and female flight attendants to wear a pink jacket and a dress code that allows male flight attendants to wear flat-soled shoes but requires that women wear high heels?

        The first example involves silly stereotypical color-coding, but it’s essentially “different, but equal” in terms of the demands it places on men and women. The latter dress code is both different and unequal – it imposes a greater hardship on female employees, as they have to spend hours running around in uncomfortable shoes that make their feet hurt, provide little support, and put them at risk for foot/leg problems.

        So in this case, if you ask, “But is it really important that they be exactly like their male counterparts in every way?” I would say it’s not that they want to be exactly like the men – it’s that they don’t want to be treated like their primary function is to be decorative. They don’t want to be told that to meet their employer’s definition of professional (or in the words of El Al airlines “presentable”) they must wear something that causes them discomfort, increases their risk of injury, and that research has repeatedly demonstrated is likely to cause physical health problems if worn frequently.

        And no – feminists who don’t see this as a burden don’t need to worry about it. But I think they should refrain from being dismissive of women who do care about it, especially if those feminists really don’t fully understand the issue – for example, feminists who don’t get how for some women, refusing to remove their body hair won’t just make them a target of sexism, it will also make them a target of homophobia or racism.

    • lucy2 says:

      Well, that was just one example of the several she listed. For some reason it’s the one everyone’s talking about, when she also mentioned being hit on by an old guy when she was underage, and apparently told someone about it and was told to ignore it.
      To me that’s just as troublesome as equal pay – which I’m sure she also cares about.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Of course I care about that, and completely agree with her that it’s a major problem, a serious issue that we should all find abhorrent and inexcusable.

    • TrustMeOnThis says:

      Why can’t we focus on both at once? Not only do we get paid less but we’re expected to then spend our limited time and money on these ridiculous standards of grooming.

      Waiting in line at the pharmacy, Mr TMOT noticed the stand of deodorants offering Old Spice and Secret sticks at the same price – but, the women’s brand had less product!

      There are plenty of other examples. It all needs to change. There is no excuse for perpetuating sexism even if you don’t care about certain manifestations of it.

      I’m honestly surprised that anyone here doesn’t see the double standard as inherently unfair and sexist.

      It’s all Infuriating – as is the assumption that we can only work on one problem at a time (and that if we can’t solve things 100% it is pointless to try to make things better, which often comes along with the “one cause at a time” mindset).

      • pinetree13 says:

        YEP this is 100% true. My industry has NOTHING to do with beauty/looks. But any woman in any managerial position MUST have professional makeup, hair, clothes, etc. Of course there is no written rule but good luck getting advancements without following the secret rules that women must follow.

        I have to spend a lot of money on my hair because my natural texture isn’t ‘acceptable’ as professional. I have to put on makeup everyday and pay for the makeup even when I dread doing so. It absolutely is an invisible tax on women. What we have to pay for our hair compared to men is insane.

  12. sketches says:

    Excellent point, Beverly!

  13. Jas says:

    Most women don’t have moustaches or keep hairy armpits, a role would have to be specifically for the type of person who has both of those things for it not to be expected to remove them. Most men shave every day and until very recent fashion it was mandatory for any actor unless they were playing a bearded person and indeed any person in a public facing job!!!!! Many workplaces still require men to be clean shaven!!!! It’s not sexist to have expectations of normal grooming.

    • snowflake says:

      I agree!

    • JLo says:

      She is choosing to work in an industry where one’s career has always been and always will be tied to appearance. Grooming and working out is part of the job for both men and women, whether a role specifically demands it or not. I really don’t think men in entertainment get a free pass, they are expected to be buff, get plugs and veneers, etc.

      • perplexed says:

        She already conforms to their beauty standards (i.e she’s thin, has symmetrical features, and has no obvious hair showing), so I do think the request to have her try to be more groomed than she already is is kind of weird.

    • Illyra says:

      Good point.

    • meme says:

      Ah, a voice of reason. What woman WANTS to have a moustache?

    • Dana says:

      It’s sexist to have different expectations of what passes for “normal grooming” for men and women.

      Also, please let me know the next time entertainment media publications/sites publishes photos of a male actor walking around with visible underarm or leg hair for the purpose of pointing out and commenting on that hair and speculating if he “forgot” to shave.

      Because I’m pretty sure I’ve seen many of those “ew, gotcha!” pieces about famous women, even if these women are “off-duty” or clearly do shave, but just have a bit of new growth.

      Also, I can’t think of famous male equivalents to someone like, say, Kate Winslet, in terms of how their facial hair gets discussed, scrutinized, and helpfully presented to readers in big, close-up shots.

  14. Melain says:

    By all means, please get hairy to prove your value if that’s what you think it takes. People have bad breath in the morning naturally also. Shall we all forgo the teeth brushing? Some things are just grooming.

    • Londerland says:

      Dental hygiene is not the same thing at all. For one thing it serves a purpose – you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, then they rot. That’s a necessity, in a way that hair removal is not. It’s also expected equally of both genders, whereas again, hair removal is not.

      • LAK says:

        daily shaving of facial hair for men?

      • Sally says:

        Precisely. Basic hygiene is one thing. Not to mention that even that it’s dependent on one’s income and so on and so forth. Didn’t eugenics and phrenology die down in the twentieth century? Apparently not.
        Mixing the narrative of women being expected to wear make-up in order to fulfill gender norms with the one were necessarily those who lack basic hygiene are somehow the worst of the worst and the epitome of the seven deadly sins, is disingenuous as well as a misdirection. No one’s preaching for women to role play Manny, the fuzzy mammoth or petitioning to ban cosmetics and other cosmetic treatments. I didn’t know plastic surgery was a dying / quasi-extinct industry.

        The first narrative of conforming to the vast array of arbitrary social expectations spawns the shaming cultures (fat / slut / skinny) while making the problem all about the second narrative (hygiene / health / common sense) and assigns the blame entirely on women – taken individually or as group (see low income women) – with no responsibility given to the dominant / atavistic structures that benefit from the toxic narrative in the first place.

        Needless to say, women be warned: Not waxing one week, is the first step to teeth decay. What? Some people can’t afford dental work? That’s only a Banana republic thing, not a first world issue.

    • Watcher says:

      The fact that hair removal is equated with being clean just shows how marketing messages have taken hold. Whilst brushing your teeth is vital for oral health, removing body hair is not necessary at all, in fact hair performs a vital function in wicking away sweat and forming a barrier to bacteria.

      • Absolutely says:

        Must you bring sense and science into this? 😉

      • Sally says:

        Amanda M. Gengler highlights this in Selling Feminism, Consuming Femininity: “An ad for a depilatory cream, for instance, tells girls that they are “unique, determined, and unstoppable,” so they should not “settle… for sandpaper skin.” Feminist demands for political and economic equality—and the refusal to settle for low-wages, violence, and second-class citizenship—morph into a refusal to settle for less than silky skin. Pseudo-feminist language allows young women to believe that they can “empower” themselves at the checkout counter by buying the accoutrements of traditional femininity”.”
        But I’m sure this is all in the minds of “bird-brained” misandrists and all similarities with reality, are purely coincidental.

      • I Choose Me says:

        Agree with this so much.

        I shave my arm pits because I prefer them that way but I don’t shave my legs. Choice. It’s a beautiful thing. Then again, I live in the Caribbean where that particular beauty standard is practiced by some but not expected. i.e. there are no social repercussions for NOT shaving.

  15. Sam says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen far more men waxed than I’ve seen with chest hair in Hollywood. They can’t all be as smooth as they are. Men have to painfully groom just like women do. Maybe we should take issue with the fact that they want our men to look like prepubescent teens and our teen girls to look like prostitutes.

  16. prissa says:

    I love Tatiana and I love Orphan Black. I really hope she gets the Emmy this year!!!

    • Olenna says:


    • PrincessMe says:

      Yep, and this post just reminds me how much I’m itching to watch the next season. *sniffles*

    • I Choose Me says:

      Yes. I’ll be bummed if she doesn’t win. Can’t believe it took so long for her to be nominated in the first place. The woman has been killing it in this series from day one.

  17. Dana says:

    Tatiana grew up near me, I’ve met people who know her and have only heard good things. She sounds very articulate and I think she has a point.

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s good to hear – I think she is incredibly talented and seems to have a good head on her shoulders, so I hope she has continued success and stays grounded.

  18. sx55 says:

    No sweetheart, they are being helpful to you.

    • Brittney B says:

      Did you intentionally use the exact same word she cites as an example of sexist remarks? You’re proving her point.

      • sf44 says:

        cry me a river, I’d say the same thing to men with beards and hairs on their toes.

      • Brittney B says:

        I’m not attracted to hairy men either… I don’t like beards or hairy feet. But MY preference doesn’t make hairlessness the default norm for every guy, and it shouldn’t be the norm for every woman either. No one needs “help” to conform to strangers’ subjective beauty standards.

        If you told a guy to shave his feet and face, it wouldn’t be “helpful” either; it would be intrusive and unnecessary. Do you really think your own opinions are rules everyone should follow? Tatiana doesn’t need anyone’s “helpful” opinions about her own body hair, unless your idea of “helping” someone is making their body more susceptible to infection. I’m a woman who shaves and plucks, but I’m aware that my preferences are the product of sexist social norms, and that my body grows hair for a reason.

    • Anne tommy says:

      Brittney B- Jesus. It’s never even occured to me to look or care whether a man’s toes are hairy. Is it a deal breaker? Do you do a toe inspection beforehand to decide if You fancy him? ( ” socks off please big boy” ). Or only date men who are wearing flip flops at the time you meet them?

  19. Dana says:

    This reminds of a discussion I saw on another site regarding how it’s much more unusual to see women with visible arm hair in the media nowadays than it was in the 1980’s & 1990’s. Looking at promo stills and magazine photoshoots from that era, it was interesting to see how their hairy forearms were not retouched at all.

    Take the shots of Julia Roberts for Pretty Woman in this post:


    I doubt that picture would have been released this way today. In addition to removing the hair, they’d have made her arms look thinner.

    It’s like expectations for female grooming get more stringent with each passing decade.

    Though I remember Julia Roberts was often photographed in public with hairy armpits – and I remember that because each time it got tons of scandalized media coverage.

    • Absolutely says:

      Right? I don’t get the arm hair thing. God forbid we have any hair below the eyeball!

    • lucy2 says:

      Nowadays that would have been photoshopped off.

    • Brittney B says:

      Personal aside: When I was in fourth grade, a classmate pointed at my arms in front of everyone and made fun of me for not shaving them. My forearms! Not even my underarms. This classmate was a dark-haired white girl who shaved her own arms and legs before most of us; it was a projection of her own insecurities, and my own arm hair was thick but blonde; she was probably the only one who noticed. But of course I didn’t connect the dots.

      To this day, I shave off my blonde arm hair. It started as a response to humiliation in front of an entire classroom of kids… but it turned into a habit, and to be honest I enjoy the feeling of smooth hairless skin now. I only do it once every few weeks, but I never let it get long enough to cast shadows. STILL.

      And that was in the late 90’s… and it was one stupid bully’s beauty standard, and I’m older and wiser but I still conform to it. I can’t imagine being a young, developing girl in today’s culture of infantilizing grown women and Photoshopping natural features into oblivion. It makes my heart hurt.

  20. db says:

    I think the grooming tax women have to pay in society is totally arbitrary. 50 years ago, shaving was not the norm it is now, and at some point that changed. If a woman wants to do it, that’s her choice. But it’s still sexist in my opinion to expect or demand that a woman go way beyond basic hygiene and wax/extensions/dying/laser hair removal not to mention injectables. That’s the difference – whether it’s choice she’s made or whether she’s doing it because of sexual pressure to conform and compete.

    • JenniferJustice says:

      It’s also generational. In the 40’s and 50’s it was the norm for women to literally pluck out all their eyebrows and then draw on fake ones with brow pencils. Women made that the norm – not men. Now, most American women shave their legs and wax their lip if they have alot of hair that shows there. Men didn’t make women start that. Women did it on their own and women like to keep up with other women so as not to be outdone. We also like the smooth feeling of shaved legs and do it for ourselves or because it’s what we’re used to. I don’t see patriarchy there. I see it in lots of other instances, but body hair isn’t one of them.

      • perplexed says:

        But in her case someone (I assume it was a man or maybe it was a female with her own beauty standards expecting this lady to conform to them) asked her to remove the body hair. She’s talking about a specific instance where someone was dictating to her what she should look like (when clearly she already looks fine. She obviously doesn’t look like an ogre to begin with). Therein lies a certain problem. If she was some overly hairy lady trying to play a certain kind of bombshell who has no hair at all on her body, I can understand why she’d be asked to remove the hair. But this lady already looks pretty conventional and conformist to a certain kind of Hollywood standard, so even I, a constant waxer of upper lip hair, am wondering why she’d be asked to remove additional hair.

  21. lisa says:

    she isnt an accountant she’s an actress. if the director does or doesnt think the character would groom a certain way, i dont see how it is sexist. if jon hamm had to shave a mustache or beard for mad man, is that any different? if the main character on scandal came to work with hairy legs and underarms, would that make sense for that character?

  22. teacakes says:

    Some people here really wilfully missing her point.

    She’s not eschewing hygiene to be edgy, she does what’s required of her in terms of appearance for a role or promotion – that’s being professional. But she’s right that it is ridiculous and sexist for women to have to remove every last bit of visible hair that’s not on their heads/eyebrows/eyelashes especially when men choosing to grow beards or moustaches is seen as ‘retro cool’ or whatever.

    • JenniferJustice says:

      I get the point she’s tryiing to make, but I simply do not agree that it’s anything forced. Rather it is her choice. Women do not HAVE to remove body hair. It is their choice. I know several women who do not shave and I dont’ think anybody even notices, let alone condemns them for it. I notice because I’m friends with them and I’m close enough to notice. They feel no pressure to conform.

      We are never going to change what the male mind automatically determines attractive or feminine nor can we change what women find attractive. It is innate for most men to be attracted by physical traits that imply youthfulness, and smooth hairless skin is one of them. We are animals and animnals are attracted to biological ornaments, physical traits and characteristics that represent health, youth, and fertility. It’s all scientific and we have no control over that, so why bemoan it? it is what it is.

      • perplexed says:

        She said someone asked her to wax her moustache. That’s where I assume the problem is. We’re all attracted to different things, but those of us outside her industry don’t go around asking people to change things about themselves to make them more attractive to us.

        As you said, women don’t have to remove their body hair and it’s a choice. But in her case she stated that someone was actually asking her to remove it (for what reason I don’t know, and I’m assuming she was annoyed because I don’t see what additional hair she really has to remove).

  23. boredblond says:

    I couldn’t care less what she does to her armpits..I just think these put-upon performers would remember one thing..you got your first gig because you were ‘right’ for the part..if you think for one minute it had nothing to do with your looks, you’re crazy..if you had been a chubby, ungroomed, short homely woman with the acting skills of Meryl herself, you would not have been hired. If you were told the role required a wig would you say no? Get over yourself..

    • Brittney B says:

      “. If you were told the role required a wig would you say no? Get over yourself..”

      Did you even read the article? She very clearly states that she alters her appearance when her role requires it — and only then. You’ve missed her point entirely.

    • LaMontagne says:

      Way to miss the point. She said she changes her appearance when the role calls for it. Which she totally does on OB by wearing different wigs and acting completely differently depending on which clone she’s portraying.

  24. JenniferJustice says:

    Hmmm…I’m torn re her analogies. I can’t compare personal hygeine to a 17 year old being hit on by some old fart in the industry. That’s apples and oranges. I shave 70% of my body several times per week and I do it for me. I don’t do it for the masses, for men, or even for my own husband. I do it because I hate the way hair on my legs feels because I’m not used to it and when it gets long it feels weird. Personally, I really enjoy getting in bed after a good leg shave. Slipping between the sheets feels like butter…..butta’! My husband enjoys my shaved legs and such and so, yeah, he reaps the benefits, but conversely, I rather enjoy him well-groomed and that includes shaving his face and keeping his nether regions, um, shall we say, mowed, but not necessarily shaved. I dont’ find this sexist – just personal taste and hygiene.

    I’m probably going to get jumped for saying this, but why is okay with her to wear makeup – specifically her bright red lipstick? Nobody is forcing her and it’s okay because she’s wants to, but being told to shave or being made to feel she should by society or her employer is wrong and sexist? I don’t think so.

    Where I work, there is a strict dress code. We’re attorney, judges and paralegals. We’re expected to dress and groom professionally. I see nothinig wrong with that and it includes no exposed body piercings, no short skirts or dresses, no flip flops, etc. If men have long hair, they are required to wear it back in a ponytail. I don’t consider it sexist so much as looking neat and clean cut. I like that we have to meet this standard. We can do whatever we want outside work, so why should I care that I’m expected to be neatly groomed and dressed professionally when I’m on their dollar? It’s not like they’re making us do anything painful or stressful. We can’t have our way about everything in this world, so I find these gripes mundane and whiny. Save the sexism claims for legit problems like old men being allowed to hit on her when she’s just a teenager trying to do her job.

    • meme says:

      I just posted something similar. Where in the world do you work? I work in a big deal law firm in NYC and you should see what some of the young female attorneys wear…super short dresses/skirts, flip flops and let’s not get started on some of the men still wearing chinos to work though they’ve passed the bar.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        I work for a State Bar. We are governed by the Supreme Court, so….we do what they say and are paid well for it.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        They tried to give us casual Fridays years ago, but some dumbass kept wearing sweats with a hole in the butt – I kid you not! So they took it away. We still have casual days once in a while if there are no meetings whatsoever scheduled in the building, and yet there are still those few who wear crocks or show up looking like they just weeded the garden. There are always going to be a handful who if you give them an inch, they take a mile and end up ruining it for everyone. But, I actually find it easier to dress up for work than to dress casual for work. My work warddrobe is far more expansive than my casual warddrobe. In the words of Ally McBeal, if I quit my job, where will I wear all my cute outfits?

  25. perplexed says:

    Maybe it’s strange for her to be asked to wax her moustache because you can’t really see it. I mean, I can’t see anything on the upper lip so even I’m wondering why she’d be asked to wax there.

    Those of us who do wax the upper lip usually have a lot of dark hair that you can actually see.

    She did say she separates her political values from what she’s asked to do for her character so it doesn’t seem like she’s absolutist or dogmatic about not removing her non-existent (from what I can tell) upper lip hair. She still seems to be doing her job as an actress. She. like the rest of us, probably has her own values that shift a bit away from the industry she’s in, and someone asked her about those differences and she answered.

  26. meme says:

    But she doesn’t mind people coming in to do her hair, makeup, ensemble for the red carpet? It’s not like she’s walking around without makeup and wearing some schemata. She certainly gets groomed for any red carpet appearance she makes. I find it hypocritical AND it looks like she does wax her moustache, if she has one. I certainly don’t see it in these pics.

    • perplexed says:

      I don’t think she’s being hypocritical. I suspect she grooms herself as she’s expected to look in Hollywood, and maybe that’s why being asked to groom even further annoyed her a bit. I mean, she already looks good enough, so if she’s asked to go beyond that (like removing two upper lip hairs we probably can’t see), I can see how the advice to go to a certain extreme would be off-putting.

  27. Ryan says:

    Absolutely sexist if it’s not necessary for the role/scene.

  28. Ada says:

    People are going through real issue. Feminism should be about equal right, equal pay, girl child education, etc not advocating against simple grooming like shaving of armpit , wearing of sanitary pads or tampons during menstruation and encouraging indecent exposure of the breast. For the first commenter , well I shaved my armpit this morning with a shaving stick and it was not painfull. Stop encouraging nonsense. The world has certainly gone crazy.

  29. WILZ says:

    everyone agrees now but when miley cyrus let her armpits grow out she was called gross…funny.
    I agree its grooming no sexism here…its like when men have back or shoulders hair women don’t think its attractive the same way a mustache on a woman is not attractive,and I guess most men would prefer you having no mustache and armpits while wearing minimal to no makeup to you having them grow out but have tons of makeup on your face and body like you do on movie premieres lol

  30. Jonathan says:

    Absolutely it’s sexist to expect a woman to shave/wax/otherwise depilate her moustache, armpits or legs. For the most part (moustaches and beards aside- I’ll get to them in a bit) the same standard is not required of males, ergo: sexist. Pretty simple.

    I remember seeing a TV programme in the late 90’s with an Australian singer called Deborah Conway who doesn’t shave her armpits and she was asked about it on camera- her reply was that men & women do have and are supposed to have body hair and the requirement for women to remove it was infantilising women. She was booed pretty heavily by the audience. But I agree with her. It’s pretty freaky wanting grown women to not have body hair like prepubescent girls.

    As for moustaches or beards on men- there’s still a lot of institutionalised pressure for men to be clean shaven in customer facing or professional roles. Men are allowed to have- but not be in the process of growing- beards at the company I work for, for example (as in: stubble and burgeoning beards aren’t allowed). I work for an international insurance company and had to go to my national CEO to be allowed to grow a beard. And my argument was- would you mandate that my female colleagues have to shave the hair that grows naturally on their bodies? No? Well, don’t make me shave my face. Apart from that though, the standards of appearance at my company are more relaxed for women- they can wear open toed shoes, tops without sleeves, skirts; but men must wear collar, suit & tie, closed shoes and never shorts despite that it gets very hot in summer in Sydney, Australia.

  31. Chuck says:

    We live and have always lived in a patriarchal society. Shaving your armpits or removing body hair is a personal choice, it is not a hygiene issue or a “grooming” issue and I have absolutely come to see it as yet another form of female oppression. When men “have” to shave their armpits and legs, I will too. Humans grow hair, it’s natural.