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Charles Wright Mills's The Sociological Imagination

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Charles Wright Mills writes about the relationship between private troubles and public issues in The Sociological Imagination (1959). Within his writing Mills explains the importance of adopting a sociological perspective when attempting to analyze and understand the word we live in. He called this theory the sociological imagination. The sociological imagination can be used as a lens, to examine everyday mundane activities and how they are connected to the larger structure of our societies. Our current milieu is linked with the biographical and historical contexts of our societies and together they makeup our everyday life. This paper will use a sociological imaginative perspective to analyze why I was bullied for my own body hair as a young…show more content…
The kids I went to school with, the boys I had romantic relationships with, and even my family members, all made negative comments about my body hair. As a young kid, I believed my body hair was a personal problem. Experimenting with different hair removal procedures, some even painful. I wasted hours removing the hair on my body, in attempts to feel better about myself. My low self esteem became linked with the hair on my body. I believed I had too much body hair for a girl but according to Mills (1959) and the social imagination, I had too much body hair for society. My peers, as well as my family, had been socialized to believe that women’s body hair was gross, and unfeminine. Women had been taught to remove their body hair for decades now in the western world, and it was showcased or the lack there of hair was showcased in all forms of media. As a young girl, my mom bought me my first razor and paid for the electrolysis for the hair on my arm. It was in these actions, where the idea that it was my own problem started to form because it felt like I needed treatment for this problem of mine. I was perceiving a deep seated public issue as my own personal trouble. I can’t blame my mother or my peers because by the time my peers and even my parents were born, the western world had already determined that women should not have body hair. Christina Hope (1982) explains that in 1914 in America magazine’s had just begun…show more content…
Karin Martin (1998) discusses how our bodies are gendered at young ages in her exploration of how bodily differences are constructed in preschool. Martin’s research (1998) shows the differences between the two genders that we make, even at such young ages. Our bodies are gendered in social institutions and these differences create a context for social relations in which differences confirm inequalities of power (Martin, 1998). As we get older our bodies continue to be gendered, with reference to body hair; women are taught to remove their body hair to be feminine. Christina Hope (1982) argues that this misogynistic idea, comes from the societies ideals about the different sexes. She says that American society depicts men and women as polar opposites, and therefore women removing their body hair keeps them feminine as it is a masculine trait to have body hair (Hope, 1982). Hope (1982) also explains that American cultural has the tendency to group women with non-adults, and men with adults. She argues that a woman naturally grows body hair during or after puberty, and the removal of it may be “feminine” but it is also “childlike” (Hope 1982). Women’s hair removal products are often advertised with terms like “baby soft”, reinforcing this idea that a feminine woman is much like a child. These idea’s are all a part of the western world’s culture,