During dinner at home it used to be a big topic. My parents just didn’t see why I should use a razor at such a young age. I argued that other girls in class were shaving too. And soon enough I was allowed to slide my new wet razor across my body and feel like the goddess I was supposed to be.
Hair is a political issue
At the age of 30, I became more relaxed about female body hair. However, our society still adheres to the beauty ideals of the immaculately shaved woman. If we were to correctly follow these ideals, we would only have hair on our heads – preferably a magnificent mane. Long eyelashes and bushy eyebrows are also idealized – just not like Theo Waigel’s of course. In contrast, any hair on the armpits, legs or intimate areas are a big no-no and women continue to be told so everywhere they look.
In recent years, there’s been some resistance to the social norm of female body hairlessness, but against its gale-force influence, the trend to let body hair grow seems more like a gentle breeze. As soon as women decide to grow their underarm hair, they are identified as eco-feminists or forced to endure awful, stock comparisons with Julia Roberts. Allowing one’s leg or pubic hair to grow requires courage – it still doesn’t fit into society’s ideals of beauty.
“With ass fold”?
The hairless-trend is actually absurd, because female body hair is what distinguishes a full-grown woman (in addition to other things) from a girl. The same applies to men of course. As a rule, hair growth doesn’t usually begin until puberty. But despite such knowledge, women find themselves visiting beauty salons and answering questions such as “with ass fold?” Not even that most intimate region is being spared – everything is shaved, waxed, depilated, epilated and lazered.
Does hair have a right to exist on the body?
Admittedly, one can survive rather well without body hair. Indeed, body hair has lost its meaning in modern society. It no longer protects from the cold. Down jackets do that now. And thanks to excessive personal hygiene, hair no longer protects you against bacteria. Nevertheless, male and female body hair has a right to exist, just like everything else on our bodies. Who among us has not previously thought about abandoning the stress of shaving and just letting nature run its course?
However, I have to admit, letting my armpit hair grow doesn’t last long for me. It just doesn’t feel that good. If I haven’t shaved for four days, the stubble growth starts to irritate me and I shave it off again. Having said that, I’d quite like to allow my armpit hair to grow freely. At the end of the day, I find myself subject to the same beauty ideals as everyone else.
And what about the genital area?
Arms, legs, armpits, upper lip, large toe: no doubt, everything has to be smooth. But the genital area remains an exception. Here, opinion divides about what is sexy, hygienic and still female. In The Other Woman, Cameron Diaz explains in great detail that women should leave a little something behind – a fig leaf. However, most of us are being told that only total hair removal would be acceptable for our sexual partners. Because who wants to inflict their own body hair on someone else? On that note, the classic piece of dating wisdom is: don’t shave before the first date, because nothing’s going to happen anyway. But naturally something does happen and the entire night has to be abandoned, because no one wants to reveal the existence of their body hair. How many times have I heard this story and experienced it myself!
Female body hair? The courage to fur
Incidentally, a few years ago the whole problem spilled over into the male domain. Now, men also don’t know what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to body hair.
Instead of spreading this nonsense, perhaps we should all just relax a bit. Nobody should be ashamed of body hair. We are all free to decide whether we like it natural, smooth, waxed, trimmed, dyed or in a heart shape – because ultimately we have to feel comfortable with our own hair. And that’s why I’m going to give my armpit hair another chance.
© Photo by Billie at Unsplash.com
Author: Victoria Van Violence