For the month of November I’ll be doing a mini series focusing on a somewhat feminist agenda. I’ll be using glitter to represent some small scale sexist nations I see running rampant in my everyday life. The glitter is supposed to “shine” or help draw attention to the societal issue that will be discussed in the post.
For the first two installments I will be focusing on body hair seeing how November is notorious for the “No Shave November”. I want to explore ideas with how body hair on women is different then body hair on men. Here is the first installment of the series, part two is coming your way next Wednesday. The second post will also focus on body hair.
Defining factors between genders consist of breasts, and genitals, yet in modern day society has dictated that women should have less body hair than men do. Woman tend to have less body hair than men because of a lack of testosterone, but if you look closely men and women have body hair all over their body from their legs, arms, chests, stomachs, face, head, and pubic region. When did body hair become such a big deal? When did young girls become socialized into thinking that puberty was about removing body hair and not growing it?
I’m blonde, I have thin hair and my body even before puberty had barely visible light colored peach fuzz. Growing up, my friends were all Italian or Romanian, or just simply very dark haired, their leg and arm hair was thicker and more visible. Some of them had constant sideburns of thick baby hair on their heads, thick brows, and slight shadows of darker hair on their upper lips. One by one through sixth and seventh grade, they began shaving, waxing, bleaching or using other means of hair removal. They bragged about their smooth skin thrusting their legs out for the other girls to lightly feel in the locker room. I was a late bloomer and despite the fact that my body hair was barely noticeable, when it began appearing in my underarms I decided it was a disgrace to my body. I began shaving and have continued to go in and out of phases with shaving since then.
In society I’m considered blessed with fine hair, my arm hair is barely noticeable, my eyebrows except for a few stray strands that are easily plucked, require no maintenance and although I regularly shave my legs, I have minimum hair care. My sister and many of my friends on the other hand have dark hair that requires hours of care, daily shaving (to the point they would rather wear pants) and multiple waxing or laser treatments. They justify these hair removal treatments stating it’s what it takes to be “attractive”. Now I’m not shaming shaving or hair removal, I personally enjoy little to no body hair on myself, but the point is that is my personal preference. I will still wear a skirt or dress regardless of whether I have saved or not, but many women won’t wear a leg baring ensemble if they aren’t freshly shaved. People should not be shamed or conditioned into wanting to shave. My sister should not be told in fifth grade that she “looks like a monkey” because she like many boys and girls has a light unibrow. It should be her choice when and if she decides to remove her body hair.
Men are attractive with beards or without beards, with long hair and short hair, waxed chests and hairy chest, they seem to have more freedom. While this is not always the case and there are of course exceptions and social cues behind men’s body hair as well, overall women who are hairy are considered unattractive whether it’s enforced by other women or men is a 50/50% blame game. Seeing as I am not a man, I can’t speak for them as thoroughly. If women were raised in a society where they could choose as educated young adults about their body hair instead of being conditioned to cringe from it at a young age, I would think that not as many people would shave.
Shaming body hair or lack of body hair is the same as any other type of body shaming and should not occur.
What do you think?