Hi, friends. Let’s talk about body hair.

I find it both fascinating and infuriating that my genitalia somehow dictate where and to what lengths I may let my body hair grow. If I have a vagina, I am expected to grow out the hair on my head yet shave my legs and armpits (and possibly my arms), pluck my eyebrows, and wax my upper lip. However, if I have a penis instead, I can grow my body hair as much as I want as long as I keep the hair on my head short. Why body parts I keep covered 95% of the time have any control over my outer appearance I do not know, besides the usual arbitrary rules of “polite” society.

I’m going to be blunt here – I am one hairy, hairy lady. My father’s genes blessed me with the thick, dark hair of a proper Italian girl, and this hair is in no way confined to socially appropriate body parts. My eyebrows connect in a solid line if I don’t pluck them; I have a moustache pre-teen boys would die for; my leg hair is as healthy and hearty as an old-growth forest. My mother even took me as a baby to the doctor to ask about the fine carpet of hair I was growing on my back, wondering if something was seriously wrong with her little girl. But no, nothing wrong, per say… her daughter just happened to be almost as furry as the cats she’d soon pretend to be. I plant these somewhat unpleasant images in your mind to establish the soapbox on which I stand. I am covered in hair. Healthy hair. Hair that grows thick, grows fast, grows constantly.

I’m also lazy. Very, very lazy. What to others looks like a stubborn feminist stance against makeup, leg shaving, and bra wearing is really just me not wanting to bother with such frippery. I have shaved my legs a handful of times over the course of my almost 28 years, and each time has been like the first time. If I don’t shave my legs on at least a bi-weekly basis, the hair returns like the thorns surrounding Sleeping Beauty’s castle – and is just as hard to hack through. My hair can dull a razor blade in a matter of moments and no matter how many times I shave, some hairs will always escape beheading to pop up mockingly.

If I sound bitter, it’s because I am – but not about my hair. I have nothing against my hairy legs or fuzzy arms, my downy lip or weirdly long eyebrow lashes. They’re just doing what hair does best, which is grow. No, I’m bitter because society has boxed me into a corner from which I can’t quite figure out how to escape. See, as a confident, stubborn queer girl living in a liberal state, I can get away with a certain amount of rule-breaking; I have a sidecut, after all, and let my eyebrows do their wacky thing. I’m quite open about not shaving my legs, too. But when it comes to showing off those legs in public? That’s where I falter. I wonder, what will my coworkers think? Will they talk about me behind my back? Will HR tell me I’m not being hygienic? Will I become “that girl”?

And then my inner feminist jumps in. You like being “that girl!” she says. You’re unashamedly “that girl!” all the time! And yes, that’s true. I do. I am. So why is this one rule so hard for me to break? Why can’t I walk into work in a knee-length skirt with the same swagger I felt when I walked in with my shaved head or new tattoos? Why, when I firmly believe that the only reason we vilify female body hair is because of societally constructed beauty standards, am I still so hesitant? I’m fiercely independent by nature, yet I allow myself to be cowed into covering a completely natural, harmless, inoffensive part of my body even in the hottest month of the year. My inner Luna Lovegood shakes her head in disappointment – but Luna was blonde, and I bet she wasn’t carrying a carpet around on her legs.

I’m not saying anything new and groundbreaking here, I know. Sometimes you just need to rant about the bizarre rules human society has constructed, rules with no basis in logic but which most people, even those who are highly logical, never question. I know we’ll get there one day – I just hope I’ll have been one tiny cog in that roll towards progress, and not one of the many wrenches.

8 thoughts on “#1788

  1. It is sad that we feel the need to somewhat conform to society, even though we’re confident about who we are. I’m weird. I know I am and I love it. But I just started a job last week and I found myself questioning just how much weird I can get away with at work. How weird is too weird? Is my full-on weird too distracting to clients and co-workers? Or would my quirkiness bring some sunshine into the place? What’s a witch to do? :)

  2. Eh, I don’t shave anything I don’t want to. At this point, why bother? I’ve never tried pairing my hairy tattooed legs with a short skirt though, but that’s mostly because I don’t like short skirts. Floor length and full, ok. Otherwise oversize men’s cargo shorts. For some reason the hairy legs, girl or not, look less shocking in oversize men’s cargo shorts.

    • I’m the same way – the only thing that has changed recently is that I got a tattoo on my thigh, which necessitated shaving my leg, which then necessitated the wondering of “do I like this? Should I keep it like this?” and then the spiral of “BUT FEMINISM”. :)

  3. I call myself a hobbit because I have hairy toes. And an insatiable urge for second breakfast right after the first one, and a lazy countryside life with lots of good food and drinks, but that’s beside the point.

    As you say, being a naturally hairy girl today sort of boxes you in. People tend to think it’s a standpoint you are making if you don’t shave/wax/pluck, when in reality it might just be laziness. Or not feeling like it at the moment. Or running out of time. Or just not caring. Why in the world it must be about politics I just… bah.

    Personally I wish I didn’t have hair anywhere else than on my head. I am seriously contemplating getting one of those fancy gizmos that are supposed to remove hair permanently! When you have this kind of rather heavy hairgrowth it’s a PAIN to keep away just by shaving. And waxing? Oh dear, I still remember the first time I tried it. I was going for a 1-week trip to Crete with my school class and I was terrified of them seeing my hairy legs, so… I waxed, thinking that should solve my problem. Only what it did was leave my legs full of red itching spots for three days, that looked just awfull, and after three days I got stubble. So… What was the point again? *shudders*

    Anyway, I don’t like my body hair and I want it gone. But is it a mark of oppression? Hell no. I just don’t want it. But neither do I want to keep plucking/shaving/waxing – because I am too lazy to actually do it and end up hairy anyway!

    Wow, this turned into a bit of a rant. Sorry! I suppose what I’m trying to say is that it really shouldn’t matter. Hairy or not, it’s just a matter of what you feel comfortable with. It doesn’t have to be about politics, it can just be personal preference. Anything goes!

    • Haha, I say that I have hobbit feet for the same reason – well, and they’re pretty big for someone who’s only 5’5″. :) But I agree with you on all points. I’m tempted to do the laser hair removal thing on my armpits, though… but it’s so expensive!

      • Exactly why I want to buy one of those gizmos! Doing it at a salon is too expensive, considering how many times you need to return to get it fully done. x) So if I can do the same on my own at home? Much better.

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