Decembrow Raises Eyebrows…and Money

Last week, I announced the beginning of Decembrow, a month-long charity initiative for which I encouraged you to grow in your unibrow for the cause of your choice.

But what began as a somewhat simple, tongue-in-cheek response to “Movember” has begun to generate some serious buzz around the interwebs, with mentions on the Daily Caller, AtlanticWire, the Stir, and AOL News. And it seems everyone has something to say about Decembrow.

The CEO of Concerned Women for America finds it “curious” that feminists would choose to embrace facial hair and wonders how “Decembrow” is different than any other month of the year. I find it “curious” that she can remain so “concerned” on a month-to-month basis, yet so unwilling to support policies that would actually make women’s lives better.

Brittny Drye at The Stir admits “I’m way too vain to do this, even if it is to save the world.” Hey, I can’t knock the girl for speaking her truth. And Decembrow is a judgment-free zone. But it is surprising how many other spaces are not; Decembrow has brought out the misogynists and anti-feminists in full force, and brings into clear focus the connections between beauty standards and woman-hating.

Taxmanblogg, for example, believes that it may start with sporting a unibrow, but it will end with plain old sports. In a post entitled “The Masculist Movement,” he asks why feminists would stop with growing out their eyebrows. Next we’ll want to “watch lot’s of ESPN, drink lot’s of beer & use foul language,” [sic] he laments. Because of course the act of donating to charity should be reserved strictly for MEN, and now that we’ve encroached on such manly territory, we’ll be wanting to do EVERYTHING like a man soon enough. Nathan over at Politically Inccorrect Commentary also thinks the act of allowing one’s natural hair to grow out for charity is really ANTI-MAN! “This post just completely infuriates me,” he rages. “The levels of hypocrisy, hate, sexism, and man-bashing are just beyond words.” Hmmmm. If I had known that not tweezing or waxing would translate into all these anti-man things at once, I wouldn’t have had to put so much time into my other man-hating activities! (Obligatory “Just kidding”.)

It’s a good thing Decembrow is a judgment-free zone, or we’d be tempted to call these comments what they are: misogynistic attempts to control women’s behavior by reinforcing outdated and meaningless cultural beauty norms. And it’s even better that we’re a colorism-free zone, so we can fully appreciate the testimony of columnist, writer, and poet Erica Jong. “As a blonde whose eyebrows disappear into her face I can’t do the unibrow thing, but I applaud anything that galvanizes women to show the power we have and often fail to use,” Jong wrote in an e-mail to The Daily Caller. Glad to hear our blonde sister supports the cause. She went on to praise the initiative: “Whatever challenges the antifeminist divide-and-conquer strategy of the wingnuts delights and inspires me.”

Cheers to that.

On a bit of a serious note, it’s very bittersweet for me to see a post like this catching so much media attention. On one hand, it’s a great, albeit gimmicky, way to raise money for a good cause (click here to sponsor me for Decembrow.) On the other hand, I am a tad resentful when a post like this goes “viral”, because I know how many important issues there are out there that don’t get the attention they deserve, and it pains me to think that people only care when there’s a gimmick or feminist vs. anti-feminist controversy involved.

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Media furor aside, I’m happy to report that my ‘brow is coming along nicely. You can see just one week later, the middle is starting to grow in (see above). Also, I’ve decided to go with the International Women’s Health Coalition as my charity of choice. They do SUCH great work, if I do say so myself. Sexual and reproductive rights and health around the world are constantly under attack, and they work with women at all levels, from local to global, to make sure they are able to have control over their own bodies and lives. You can donate to them here if you’d like to sponsor my Decembrow efforts.

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is a writer and advocate focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to her work at Feministing, Lori is an Associate Director at Planned Parenthood Global. Lori has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Human Rights Watch, and has written for a host of print and digital properties including Rookie Magazine, The Grio, and the New York Times Magazine. She regularly appears on radio and television, and has spoken at college campuses across the U.S. about topics like the politics of black hair, transnational movement building, and the undercover feminism of Nicki Minaj. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, and to the Forbes Magazine list of the "30 Under 30" successful people in media.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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