“Why are you so hairy?” was a question from a pubescent male teen that I received at the age of thirteen while I was sat in class. It was enough to evoke me to shave every inch of my body until I was bare once I got home as the question repeated in my mind each time I glanced down at my arms. This boy’s comment resonated for years; it wasn’t only until recently, now that I am eighteen, that I have just stopped shaving all of the time. A routine sparked by a simple question suddenly stopped because I realized that being hairy, as a woman – isn’t bad at all. It is, in fact, merely natural.
It must be noted: If removing your body hair makes you happy, or if any woman desires to remove her body hair because it is her choice, this is fine too. Anyone must do whatever makes them feel happy and comfortable in themselves.
The problem is that there are young women loathing their body hair to begin with. Some young women are affected by this deeply, perhaps more than other young women. At such a young age when somebody is developing and growing as a person, this can be rather damaging in the long term to the self esteem of some people.
The way in which we are culturally conditioned in our society to have a dislike for our own body hair as women even from such a young age can create unnecessary insecurities. Nevertheless, this incessant need for women to shave their body hair due to ideals, according to Rachel Lubitz for Style.Mic, has existed since ancient times. Ancient Egyptian women used to use shells and beeswax to remove their body hair. Even in the Roman empire, hair removal was a sign of “cleanliness”. Pubic hair on women was seen to be uncivilized.
Overcoming this hate that has been embedded in our society for centuries may not be able to happen overnight. What must be acknowledged is that if you are a woman with body hair, your body hair is not unnatural or disgusting. Yes, adverts and billboards in the street may be using solely a woman shaving or waxing her legs for marketing purposes. However, it must be seen that despite all of this marketing, despite of all these beauty standards propounded upon women – there is beauty in non shaven just like there is beauty in clean shaven women. Loathing such a beautiful natural part of yourself and feeling obliged to remove your body hair not by choice but in order to conform can be rather exhausting after an extended period of time. It seems as though women have an urge to remove their body hair by default from an early age and the insecurities that some women feel due to the pressure to do so in order to conform to beauty ideals are not often spoken about.
We, as complex individuals – will all have our own ways of overcoming this hatred of our own body hair. The way I came to love my body hair was through realizing that the right person for me will love my body hair too. Over time, I felt as though not shaving every day felt like my own silent victory in overcoming an ideal I had held in my mind for so long. Of course I shave from time to time when I want to – it is my choice, (at least now) after all. It is just very freeing to feel as though I do not have to remove my body hair. This feeling takes time to gain. But, believe it or not: having body hair is attractive just like having no body hair is attractive. If you’re a young woman struggling with loving your body hair, consider that you may have just perhaps been culturally conditioned to think that solely no body hair is the most appealing. More importantly, remember there are lots of other girls out there feeling the same way as you are right now.
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