Thursday 14 July 2016

Let's Talk About Body Hair

Let's Talk About Body Hair feminist feminism UK lifestyle blogger UK taboos

I am a woman. I have body hair. It's natural and no matter how hard I try, I can't stop it growing. No miracle hair removal cream or shaver will be able to do it for me! All women have body hair. It's natural yet met with so much disgrace and disgust when left to grow!

Why is body hair such a taboo? Why does society expect all women to remove all their body hair and at any given time be completely hairless? Why do we think body hair is gross and spend hundreds of pounds a month trying to get rid of it? 

I recently watched a documentary called Hairy Women on Channel 4. Okay, yes this documentary was filmed in 2003 and yes it's a bit outdated. I mean if you see the hair crimpers they are using, you will get what I mean! However, although this was filmed 13 years ago, I believe the concepts and ideas raised in this film are still very important and relevant in today's society.

Body hair on Women is a taboo. Women are told in order to be loved, respected and feminine they should be hairless at all times. The comments in this documentary shocked me. It's about time we started talking about this taboo subject that I know all women can relate to! 

First of all, I know that some people will be shocked by the photos in this post. Which I think just reiterates my point! I have dark natural body hair. I also don't have the time, effort or money to be constantly removing it every day. I have a life, I have mental illnesses to battle, work to complete, friends to talk to and hang out with. I am a busy woman. Hair removal is simply just not a priority!

This isn't to say that I never shave my arms and legs. I know when it needs to be done. But I am not going to put my life on hold every day to make sure I am stubble free! I don't have the time! Yes, I let the hair on legs grow in the winter and I don't always have time to do my upper lip or armpits! I certainly don't touch my eyebrows! Apparently according to the ladies in the Channel 4 documentary; Hairy Women, I am 'disgusting' and 'unfeminine'

This documentary followed lots of different women and their 'battle against body hair' (please...) one women decided that she was going to let all her body hair grow for two months without getting it removed. She lasted five weeks. What shocked me about this lady was her comments she said about her own hair and her friends' reactions to her legs and armpits as the time passed and her hair grew. 

She described her hair as being disgusting, unclean, unfeminine, she felt like a man and she also stated that we shouldn't have body hair because it's not natural! I'm sorry what?! It's completely natural and it's completely okay! It's just like the hair on your head but on different parts of your body! I don't want to do a massive history lesson here but seriously I couldn't believe the words that were coming out of this women's mouth!

When showing her friends her arms and legs after four weeks of non-shaving or waxing, her friends called it disgusting, embarrassing and horrible while pretending to be sick. I'm sorry, why on earth should you be embarrassed by another women's body hair? It's her own body and therefore, it's her bloody decision what she does with it! How small minded do you have to be to put your friend down like that who presumedly already has a lack of confidence just because you want everyone to conform to societal norms?

The part of this documentary that shocked me the most though was when the ladies were having conversations with her boyfriends about body hair or telling us why they shaved all their hair off! The ladies claimed that they did it because their husbands/ partners preferred it for sex and that it was good etiquette to keep it nice and tidy! I'm sorry what?

If you ever remove your hair, women it should be for one reason and one reason only- Yourself! I don't care what your partner thinks, shaving and waxing are painful, time-consuming and economically demanding upon women. If you want to remove your hair it should be done because you want to. Because it will make yourself more confident, increase pleasure for YOU and make you feel liberated! Not for someone else's comfort or pleasure. Please, if you are going to put yourself through that pain you want to know you are doing it for the right reasons. 

Let's Talk About Body Hair taboos lifestyle blogger UK body hair feminist feminism

If your partner wants you to remove all your pubic hair because it makes things more comfortable and pleasurable for him but it gives you a nasty rash that is sore and painful, you tell him no! Because at the end of the day if he loves you he will stay no matter how much hair you have on your body. He will care for YOUR comfort and YOUR wellbeing as well as his own!

I was pretty repulsed by the comments in some of the interviews with the partners and boyfriends. They stated that upper lip hair was a massive turn off after hairy armpits, that women should get their hair removed for them, upper lip hair is unattractive and uncomfortable for THEM when kissing and even more shockingly down to our own vanity!!

I have news for your lads, I don't put myself through daily pain because of my own vanity. I shave my legs because society taught me that from the age of 11, body hair is gross and body hair should be removed. Girls are skinny and pretty. Body hair is gross and manly. Body hair is something I should be ashamed of if I have it and should be expected to have it removed. Because if I don't, society will place stereotypes on me, calling me an angry feminist etc. and that's wrong as well!

I shave my legs, not because of my own vanity but because society teaches me in order to be loved someday, in order to belong to somebody one day I need to make myself pretty and hair free for them, not me! That if I go around with hairy arms and legs people won't love me, people won't respect me and people will judge me because I am not conforming. So what do I do? Conform of course! 

But we don't just shave and wax to impress the opposite sex. Women feel pressured and bullied into being completely hair free because we are bombarded with pictures in the media of models and women, hair free, slim and toned. Men see this as the 'norm' and expect us to live up to these unrealistic standards. We as women also feel that we need to look a certain way, so be can be classed as beautiful and sexy. This is wrong!

There was an interview with a model during this documentary who said that we shouldn't blame models and media just because she is clean shaven doesn't mean we have to follow and that we should actually be blaming the brands of products e.g. Gillette for pushing these products on to us. But at the end of the day we wouldn't buy them if you didn't think we had to look a certain way and live up to these stupid societal norms, would we?

Let's Talk About Body Hair feminism body hair taboos UK lifestyle blogger

You may be nodding along with me or you may be thinking who's this angry woman, man hater, feminist? I don't hate men. I hate the unrealistic, idolisation that women are forced to live up to. For all those men out who thinks it's a necessary for their ideal women to have 'Hollywoods' and 'Brazilians', I think you need to reexamine the situation. You need to get your head out of the clouds and realise what's really important, what you should be really looking for in girls, NOT the quantity of hair on her body! 

And by no means am I trying to say that women shouldn't shave at all. That we should all go around like cavemen. I am a big believer in women doing what they want with their bodies. It's your choice! But next time you are putting yourself through the pain of a leg wax, think about why you are doing. Hair removal should be for yourself. As a way of empowering women to be more confident and liberated NOT because they feel like they have to to be loved and respected as women!

You may also be wondering what's the actual point in this argument? ( if I didn't make it clear to you maybe you should re-read this article) Women can do what they want and that's the end of that. And yes I agree but body hair is a taboo subject and needs to be talked about more. When a woman is so ashamed of her body hair she doesn't go to her cervical screening test or she doesn't go to the doctors with her lump on her breast because she's in fear she will be judged because of her nipple hair? Does this help reinforce and highlight the fundamental importance of ensuring that women are NOT ASHAMED OF THEIR BODY HAIR and can talk more openly about the subject!

I would love to hear your opinions on this topic in the comments below!

Thank you for reading, as always X

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