Normalizing Body Hair On Women
Let’s talk about body hair and how women have been told not to have any. It all comes down to being conditioned into thinking we have to be desirable to and for men and has wrongfully been a dictator of good/bad hygiene. If you’re hairless, you’re clean. If you have hair, you’re dirty. Which is weird considering this only seems to be directed towards women. Men are allowed to have an immense amount of body hair and are fine. But the second a woman has a speck of hair on her body, it’s considered unhygienic and gross.
My mom and sister have been blessed with having thin, light, barely noticeable body hair. You would have to look incredibly close to even notice it, otherwise you would think they shaved. I, on the other hand, take after my father, in the sense that my hair is thick and dark. I was bullied ruthlessly at school growing up because of it, to the point that I came home crying. To this day I still suffer through image issues caused by the bullying I endured. Like everyone else, I have peach fuzz. But because of how thick and dark my hair is, it looked like I had a full-on mustache as a kid. The teasing I got from it caused so much mental and emotional stress that upon reaching high school, I made the decision to shave it off and still shave it regularly.
For the longest time, I couldn’t wear a short sleeve because I was self-conscious about my hairy arms, or even more feared, underarm hair, and I can’t remember the last time I wore a swimsuit because I have a happy trail. Over the years, the ‘happy trail’ has exclusively been tied to men and men only. We’re being constantly told that it’s a characteristic of a man but in reality, women have it too. The only reason we think it’s unnatural for a woman to have one is because there is little to no representation of any sort that shows women with it or any body hair in general.
I am sick and tired of hating myself over physical characteristics that I have no control over (crooked teeth, body hair, thick eyebrows, being too skinny). In terms of body hair, those years in elementary and middle school where I was bullied relentlessly, were and still are the worst years of my life and those memories are still affecting me to this day. I look at myself in the mirror sometimes and I wonder why I feel like shit for something as natural as body hair - I can’t help that my hair is thick and dark, making it more noticeable. As I get older, I’m trying day by day to learn how to love and be comfortable in my own skin. I want to be able to look at my body and be completely comfortable with what I see. I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and not hate what I see. I want to be comfortable enough in myself and in my body that I can actually believe it when someone says I’m beautiful. And that means we need more representation of women with body hair in the media - whether it’s movies, TV, and/or commercials. We need to teach our boys/men that women have body hair too, and to encourage women to be unashamed of it. Shaving body hair is not necessary, and body hair shouldn’t be viewed as something exclusive to men.
I know there are women who choose to remove their body hair because it’s what they are comfortable with - that’s their personal choice. But on the other hand, there are so many women who feel that body hair removal is the only option to fit in socially and to be desirable to other people - that isn’t okay. Women shouldn’t feel forced to find something so natural as something disgusting while men are told it’s acceptable on them.
We need to start normalizing female body hair because newsflash: we have it! Women have body hair. I have body hair. And that’s fucking great.