Have you ever had one of those showers where you shave one leg but can’t bring yourself to shave the other? When this happens to me, I find myself trapped in a sort of existential dread. I think to myself, what’s the point? It’s just going to grow back, and I’ll have to deal with getting rid of it all over again. If I switch to waxing, that’s just going to take even more money out of my pocket. Why is hair even there if it’s supposedly supposed to be removed?
Of course, I eventually get over the angst and get to shaving that other leg. The more I think about this though, the more I realize that I’m really not doing it for me. If it were up to me, truly, I’d let the hair grow freely. Not just on my legs, but my armpits and bush too. I don’t hate the sight of my body hair, but I have definitely conformed to the notion that body hair on women is unsightly. Well, I’m sick of thinking this way! I’m ready to let my hair grow freely and see what happens, and it’s all thanks to the rise of the body hair movement.
When we think of body positivity, we more often than not think of it as a movement geared towards self-love, regardless of body size. But another aspect of body positivity has a lot to do with self-love, regardless of body hair amount. Body hair acceptance is on the rise. This is due in part to social media but also just thanks to feminism challenging what it means to fit the mold of a “proper” woman.
BuzzFeed recently celebrated Body Positivity Week with a collection of content devoted to exploring and celebrating our complicated relationships with our bodies. Here are women talking about body hair positivity, with pictures. Ain’t no shame in their game at all. And if you feel like checking out Tumblr, the body hair love is endless.
The body hair movement is not intended to shame women who remove their hair, it merely calls for inclusivity towards women who do not want to do so. For decades, we have been raised to think of body hair removal as a part of becoming a woman. The moment puberty hits, we get our first period, our first bra, and our first lesson in shaving. Now, we’re challenging the notion that letting our hair grow freely without removal is somehow wrong.
So maybe you prefer your body being hairless, and that’s totally fine. It’s interesting thogh to think about why we may prefer it this way. At the end of the day, it’s about what you feel more comfortable and confident doing. In more recent years, a larger number of women have been banding together to bring sex appeal to body hair. Women have been dedicating months to going without shaving, such as “no shave November,” and even participating in trends like dyeing their armpit hair bold colors. It’s all a part of an effort to normalize something that maybe should have been normalized from the start.
And it’s not like people don’t like it. Like every other configuration of human beings’ self presentation, there are oodles of clients out there looking for models who embrace body positivity in this way.
At this point in my life, I am less stressed about whether or not my hair can be seen because really, who has the time to constantly stress over some fuzz and stubble? I’ll still shave my legs and armpits on some occasions, but the pressure that this is something I must do has been lifted. Honestly — I feel a lot more like myself. I personally love the sight of my armpit hair and seeing my pubes poke out of my underwear. I find it more appealing on my body and have found that others do too.
Personal preference are the key words here – and if your preference is to let them hairs grow, then I encourage you not to hold back!
Sonia Stevens is a writer-comedian who picks apart the absurdities women face daily. Email her at Sonia.Stevens@ynotcam.com.
Image © Carl Acreman.