When I first started writing this blog post I thought it would be a simple one. Short. Three pages later, however, and I am still questioning whether I think it is ok to shave, what it means to shave, why we do it, and whether not shaving has any influence at all on the world.
First off, I guess I will have to say that it most definitely, does.
The point is that if you publicly announce a hairy armpit, a bathe of horror is likely to ensue. It warns on the ‘hairy legs club‘ site, (a site where women can post their hairy legs and encouragement for positive body image and higher self-esteem), that any negative comments will be deleted.
Some of the reasons I think it’s such a big deal, are because:
- As women, we are likely to tell ourselves that if we don’t shave, we are … unsexy, unlovable, a gorilla, unfeminine etc …
- We fear judgement from other women (does anyone know of a high school experience where this hasn’t been discussed? Or even used as a rite of passage),
- from society,
- and from men.
- We fear the idea that men will no longer find us sexy,
- OR, that if we just shaved, we could get a more attractive mate, right?!
According to Eat Pray Love’s writer, Liz Gilbert, if we are to have a muffin top, then a guy will still be interested in you, even with that bit of extra pizza you’ve eaten, because, as Gilbert says, the guy’s won the lottery – he has a naked girl in bed with him.
Thus leads me to the question, if all girls had leg hair, (which, btw, I don’t think would ever happen now, because, when you think about it, there will always be those who don’t want to express themselves in this way, and who, even if they did want the freedom of choice, wouldn’t, because they would like the upper hand on all of the hairy mamouths that are now out there. Unless being hairy became the new sexy, in which case the people making products for consumers might begin making anti-veet products. Like: ‘grow your hair even thicker in just two weeks!’ kind of products, now wouldn’t that be funny?! And probably just as debilitating and un-empowering as the products we have right now that claim to turn you into a ‘goddess’, and to give you the free choice, to become sexier, and this is how) … So, as I was saying, the point is, if all girls had the fuzz, would a guy ever kick them out of bed? Probably not.
And why is this all about guys anyway?!
Then there’s the whole shaved bush phenomenon…
In fact there are so many levels and parts to this subject that I had not even considered, that I am going to split it up into these categories:
- The history of hair
- The psychology of hair – the pressure of culture, and the voice inside our heads telling us to shave, or not.
- Bushes and brazilians
- Armpit hair
- Leg hair
- Facial hair
I guess what I can say is that the one view I am sure of; it’s the pressure I don’t like. It’s not the hair itself. It’s the freedom to do whatever we want to do with our bodies and not have to feel any kind of shame or disgust with ourselves for not working on the constant ‘project’ that is our bodies.
What do you think? About hair, about the pressures we see from culture, adverts, society, people you know, and the choice to grow it out and still be cool? What is empowering to you and your body?
Share your stories, please do, I would love to know them.