Let’s Talk About.. Female Body Hair.
When the weather is hot I get to work: operation *silky smooth*. It’s an impressive list of plucking, shaving and waxing if I may say so myself.
I pluck from my eyebrows, my upper lip, my chin, my nipples, my belly, my toes. I shave my arm pits and lady bits. I wax my upper and lower legs. (I once had a Brazilian wax, thought “what the hell?!” and then vowed “never again!”)
We women are better liked when we have a lot of hair in some places and no hair in most places.
I’m grateful for my thick locks, long lashes and dark eyebrows. I curse all the rest. The first time I waxed my legs it hurt like crazy. The 2nd and 3rd time too, and all the times after that. But hey, “no pain, no gain”. That’s being a woman. I don’t like my body with hair. Sadly, I have been taught not to.
Men say “but we trim too!” Well, trimming and eradicating to me are not the same. Dear trimming man: have you ever been ashamed of black hairs on your legs? Have you ever thought: “I wish I could take my jumper off but I forgot to shave my armpits”? Did you ever kiss a woman (or man) worrying about your moustache? Because I have. Many times.
To resist this beauty regime for me means to feel ugly. Why? Why are women made to feel shame for their body hair? When I saw the beautiful short film “A Prickly Subject” recently this question came back to me in full force. The images are beautiful and confronting (so much hair!) and so is the voice-over. “I want to know why // Why am I so reluctant // to be in my natural state // I think it started // when he pointed at my legs // in disgust // when I was only eight” That line. I relate. When I was 16 a male friend pointed at my arms and said “whooo those are hairy”. I wanted to chop of my arms. There and then.
The film asks why a bold body equals femininity. Why is it ok for him to have hair and “not for me”? And that’s exactly what I wonder too.
I don’t want to feel shame when my eyebrows are not plucked, or my legs not waxed. I don’t want the state of my legs to decide whether I wear shorts when the sun’s out. I don’t want to condemn another woman when her armpits are hairy. It’s a prickly subject, and I need to talk about it.