i don’t think you’re ready for this hairy

September 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

Eyebrows. I’m thinking of eyebrows as I continue to read Susan Sontag’s Against Interpretation and Other Essays. It’s a book to savour, because I really like going over her prose – it’s so clean, precise and economical. It’s so confident. Even when she goes off on another tirade about what art is and what art is not and you want to go, “Oh, Susan, hush!”, you can’t stop reading. How can you not enjoy reading a writer who thinks her way through everything? Even if, had we ever met, she would have most likely seen me as a little human cockroach.

But the reason for the eyebrows is that every so often, I’ll read a few sentences, and then stop. Inevitably, I’ll hold the page with my finger and turn to stare at the cover. I was mesmerised by those formidable eyebrows. How many women these days allow themselves to maintain their bold, strong eyebrows? I look around at the women in Kuala Lumpur and I see sameness even when the faces are far from similar – and I suspect this has to do with the Tyranny of the Characterless Eyebrow. On (mostly) every female face, twin wisps of whatever masquerading as eyebrows. Slim lines of uniformity. Interesting faces with those endlessly-tweezed, threaded, and plucked fine lines of eyebrows make me a little depressed; there are so many ways we’re made to alter our appearance to suit what’s in or what’s currently being perpetuated as the ideal standards of beauty – eyebrows seemed like the last bastion of individuality which we were all too ready to give up.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with naturally-thin eyebrows. Pardon me if I sound a little like the Eyebrow Nazi; that’s the furthest thing I want to be. I just object to those wispy-lines that pass off as eyebrows; those little bolts of hair that have been forced to adhere to bizarre and mutable beauty ideals. No more, I say. Today, we stop this madness. Today,we embrace our eyebrows as they are. We Take Back the Eyebrows.

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