Apology: my use of the term “body shame.”

I don’t have time for a full post today but I should make a quick note regarding the “body shame” I mentioned in my previous post. I used it as a sort of shorthand, which was irresponsible. This is a serious problem that many people face and I apologize for not using it accurately. Of course, I know that only I didn’t mean it but I couldn’t let it go without saying something. I might write something down the line as well and somebody might call me out on it. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t shy away from contradicting myself on this blog. But as I already know that I was wrong I’m going to address it now.

The truth is that I’m not ashamed of my body. I only used that term when writing about the fact that despite my shaved head I’m rather hairy everywhere else. At the moment social convention seems to favor hairless people, shaved or otherwise. I don’t care to shave below my neck, nor do I see the need to do so. At the same time I don’t want to have to answer for it. I know that other people would be bothered. While that in of itself wouldn’t stop me from doing something, I don’t think I would ever have the energy to carry that conversation forward. I’m willing to offend people with ideology but it feels silly to offend them with a hairy back.

I also don’t ever have reason to take my clothes off in public, either other than to have the above conversation. I prefer to wear clothes in public, and I try to dress well when I can. Even though I live near a beach I never go in the water. I’m very much the type of person who runs away screaming when something touches my leg. I could step outside my apartment shirtless, but I have to live next to my neighbors most of the time. I have to be as considerate to them in what they see as they would be in what I see (I assume).

So while I’m not ashamed of my body, I do take other people’s feelings into consideration. If I know for sure that people around me don’t mind seeing a hairy thirtysomething and it’s hot out, then I probably would take my shirt off. But hey, I live in Northern New England and I don’t get that situation that often. Anyway, I’m sorry for throwing the term “body shame” around when I didn’t really mean it.

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