Social norms create inequalities even on our bodies
I was a hairy child, especially for a girl.
I remember my arms being hairier than my female classmates. I was embarrassed, even ashamed. I did not think it was normal for girls to have body hair. So when I was 10, I went into my mom’s bathroom, stole her razor, and shaved for the first time.
I immediately felt better about myself, and have not stopped shaving since.
In middle school when I started growing armpit hair, a boy pointed it out and called it gross. That day I realized I had another part of my body to shave.
We sometimes forget that body hair on women is normal. We should not feel bad if we are hairy. Hair is not gross; it is a natural part of our bodies.
Having females remove their body hair is an ingrained practice in American society. Therefore, when we see body hair on women, it seems wrong while seeing men not have body hair is weird.
Project Body Hair is a video advertisement by Billie, a razor brand company. They have garnered fame as being one of the first razor companies to have a ad with women who have hair.
A featured element in their videos is that they do not equate beauty with hairlessness. In one of their videos they state, “Hair: everyone has it, even women. The world pretends it doesn’t exist, but it does.”
In all the films I have watched, I can not think of one that has shown women having body hair. Even when a film is depicting a time period where women would have kept their body hair, such as during ancient times, in all the shows and films we see, women’s bodies as hairless even though it is not realistic.
So when I do see women have hair, especially in public, it is a nice surprise. Seeing women who show off their body hair makes me respect their confidence.
Women should not feel obligated to shave and they should not feel embarrassed for the hair they have on their bodies. No one should feel forced to shave under the pressure that if they don’t, society will look down upon them as gross, dirty, and unhygienic.
If a woman wants to embrace her armpit hair, leg hair or whatever hair she has, she should be able to.
Society tells women to have long locks of hair on their head, but not a speck of hair on our bodies or we will be judged. This reveals society’s paradoxical standards; women can only have long hair on one acceptable part of their bodies, but anywhere else is not acceptable.
This makes women feel obligated to shave, get waxed, have laser hair removal or use hair removing cream. Some of these procedures are painful, and hardly seem worth the effort or the money.
The first step society has to take, is to stop telling women they need to shave to be beautiful. If you have a friend or see a woman with body hair do not point it out and don’t tell her she should do something about it.
Everyone has the right to feel comfortable in their own skin without feeling pressured to change who they want to be.
Shaving is a social construct and women do not need to be despising towards their bodies natural processes because of how other people make them feel.