I realized it’s been quite some time since my last content post, and I was just asked on QSE about body hair (specifically back hair) on “girls”—her word, not mine, hence the quotations. It got me thinking about body hair in general, and about social acceptance of different kinds of body hair.
So let’s start with the ones most people seem to be talking about—legs, pits, and pubes. Particularly on women. The societal expectation of women to shave their body hair is kind of, well…gross. For starters, it pretty much infantilizes the female form from the underboob down. The whole hairless thing mimics the appearance of prepubescent, assigned-female forms, inspiring an undercurrent of frailty, fragility, and vulnerability. Eww. Personally, I enjoy the company of women who are strong (and in every sense of the word.) So yeah…I’m down with the body hair.
Forget happy trails too, those are completely out of the question. Hair on the torso?! Unacceptable. BUT WHY? Hair growing in these places is just as natural as the hair on your head. So why is it OK for women to have long hair, but if you’ve got pubic hair like underbrush it’s totally repulsive? If it ain’t your bush, why do you care?
I used to shave my legs all the time. I started shaving my pits when I was 10. All because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. WRONG. As I got older, it was practically branded into my brain that body hair on women was gross. WRONG AGAIN. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman—or anyone, for that matter—having body hair. Hair is not disgusting. What’s really disgusting is society insisting that body hair has no place on a woman.
Now, before someone starts going off about how women shouldn’t have to have body hair, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying women shouldn’t be expected not to have body hair. It should not be expected that a woman’s legs are shaved under her jeans. It should not be expected that a woman’s pubes have been trimmed away. It should not be expected that her pits are bare. It should not be expected that she removes her body hair. If someone wants to shave, tweeze, laser, thread, wax, or burn away their body hair, that’s all fine and dandy. I would hope it was that person’s choice, and that they are not unwillingly participating because of social stigma. But even if they are, it’s not my place to dictate their actions. My point is, whether you like body hair on someone else or not, it’s their decision whether or not to remove it. And just because western culture says it’s nasty, doesn’t mean it actually is. And it doesn’t mean you should judge someone based on it, either.