Saturday, January 03, 2009

Diary of a Hairy Young Lady, Day 1.

Y'know what I'm sick of? Tabloids and gossip spreads going out of their way to find famous women with the slightest hint of body hair just so they can loudly denounce them for daring to ditch the razor for a day or two.
You know what pisses me off even more?
This. This shoddy, stupid, pathetic excuse for journalism which tells everyone that, not only is hair on a woman's body DISGUSTING, it's also UNHYGIENIC and DIRTY and makes you HIDEOUS. It's all true because a woman grew a little bit of pit-hair and, surprise surprise, some men were repulsed because they've been raised in a culture which shames women for daring to put even a toe over the line of conventional beauty rules, and have been trained to see such women as sub-human.
FUCK YOU, The Sun. TO HELL WITH ANY STUPID BEAUTY ARTICLE OR WOMAN'S MAG WHICH DARES TO TELL ANYONE THAT THEIR NATURAL HEALTHY BODIES ARE VILE. It shouldn't matter if you do or do not shave your pits and legs. Really, whatever you prefer. Cool, fine, awesome. What I want is for those who prefer less hair to stop picking on those who see nothing wrong with a fuzzy woman. That's all. Live and let live.

Of course, I can't just leave things at that, so here: my own little diary of hair-growth! Now, I'll admit, I'm cheating - my armpits haven't been shaved for a wee while, so I'm not starting from point zero here. This is what I look like after 2am on Day 1, having just decided to do this:

Those of a fashion-sensitive disposition may be shocked to realise that this unspeakably noticeable amount of underarm fuzz is NOT due to a momentary slip in a usually impeccable grooming regime, or due to a lack of razors - I usually shave under my arms about once a month, so my armpits are normally like this for about two and a half weeks out of every four. They don't get covered up unless I'm cold. They get flashed about, willy-nilly, all over the place. But just for you lovely people, I'm gonna let these babies grow free for a bit longer, and if I'm treated like mud then I'll be sure to tell you. But I can promise you this - such moments of unpleasantness are actually quite rare. Thing is, lots of men and women can actually accept that hair happens, and treat a girl like a human being even if she doesn't have the same standards as Zoe-from-the-Sun says she normally has. I think it's about time that people hear the story from someone who doesn't see womanly stubble in the same light as, say, cat vomit in one's slippers. It's just a normal aspect of most people's bodies, like fingernails and skin. Please, if any of you ladies have any stories, good or bad, about your own bodily hair then feel free to share them! Let's get some feminist voices out here.
So, my status on this first day - about half a centimetre's growth of dark hair, dark circles under eyes from lack of sleep, dark clouds swarming round my pissed-off lady-brain. See you soon with an update!


  1. I rarely shave my legs in the winter and only do it sporadically even in the summer (mostly because my life is way too busy for me to care). I am somewhat conscious of what I'm going to be wearing but if I haven't had time to shave my legs, I won't NOT wear what I want to wear. My little niece said something to me about it once and I just shrugged, said something about "everyone grows hair", and continued what we were doing. I remember a period in my life where I was ashamed of my freaking ARM HAIR, so I'm hoping my nonchalant attitude about body hair will rub off on her a little bit.

  2. While I support a woman's choice to shave or not shave as *she* sees fits, I agree with you. The other day, I watched a part of The Tyra Banks show -- topic was something about women's sex secrets, I have no idea really. They had four guys on panel to weigh in from time to time. At one point, pubic area shaving was mentioned. Tyra asked the men to rate if they preferred "natural," "bald" or "landing strip." None of the four men chose natural and one called it "scary."

    Which, right-- who cares?
    Accept I guess I do -- the idea that now the only place we're "allowed" to have hair is on our heads and eyelashes (and well-plucked eyebrows.)

    What's next -- plucking out our eyelashes, FFS?

  3. You girls don't like unshaven men. Yes you might like boys with stubble, but that takes more maintenance than a full set. Indeed Hirsute men are often portrayed as slovenly or untrustworthy in the media, especially if their beard is full rather than trimmed neatly.

    It's not just the girls who have to shave their secondary sexual characteristics so why make it acceptable to society, so it's not a feminist issue...

  4. On the contrary, Jackart, I think you'll find a good number of women who DO find full beards attractive, myself amongst them.

    The thing I guess I'm most annoyed about is the fact that men can have hairy legs, pits, pubic regions and arms but women, the majority of whom grow hair in exactly the same places, are portrayed as somehow unnatural if they don't shave in these regions. For some reason, only half the members of our society are allowed to have the same hair that grows on ALL the members. Yes, there is pressure on men to shave in areas too, but not to the same extent at women - while you may be pushed to trim those beards, you are still allowed to grow hair on your arms, your legs, your groins and your chests without too much complaint. I STILL have to explain to my own sister why I don't want to shave my legs, even as my brother walks around with bristling shins unchallenged. Having grown up exposed to a million images of bald-bodied women and knowing about shaving rituals before we got anywhere near puberty, normal hair that grows on everyone's legs has now become gendered.
    Hairiness should be allowed for EVERYONE without discrimination - men and women should be allowed to exercise their own shaving preferences, be that fully waxed, a bit trimmed or completely natural.

  5. There is one body hair taboo that men cross at their peril, back hair:

    Woe betide the man hirsute of back for he shall be cast out as a troll and have to go swimming where none shall see his shame.

    Here endeth etc.

    Load of flibble either way.

  6. I just stumbled upon your blog and I have enjoyed what I have read so far!

    Here are a few short stories about my bodily hair...

    When I was in high school I was a cross country and track athlete. I was known as the hippie/Native track star because I did not shave my legs. I went to cross country camp with what I felt at the time a lot of bourgeois/upper class runners in the summer. I kept an open mind and actually the friends I made who were from bourgeois/upper class backgrounds did not judge me for not shaving my legs. They actually really accepted for who I was. It was me that was worried about being judged for not shaving my legs.

    I don't shave my pits or legs now. I feel just fine and that I don't have to do this ever again. It just feels natural to me. Also I feel that it is a waste of time to shave as well as do things like paint my nails, dye my hair, and wear makeup. Its just my style - more natural, more Akki (Earth).

    Inawendiwin! (Peace in Ojibway)

  7. I don't think male back hair is *that* much of a taboo; it's seen as unattractive, sure, but it's just... unattractive. There's not the same amount of pressure and conditioning. Plus, if a man *does* shave anywhere below his chin, he's going to get flack for being a self-obsessed metrosexual / himbo.

  8. I don't know how relevant this will be, but I have a 7 yr old biracial daughter. I'm Italian, her dad, Black African. She has more body hair, or at least maybe its more noticable than many of her darker class/camp mates. She's been teased so much that I told her, you know, mommy is gonna just let her hair grow too, so now, its only been a week, but i'm pretty white and my hair is just about black. I am not sure if I give a rats ass what men will think of this (i'm not in a relationship at this time) but she's pretty excited about this new journey with me. I still want to slap kids around who want to comment on her body hair, I remember going through that teasing at her age and it made me SO self conscious.

  9. I too am a very hairy lady.Cruel teasing through out my childhood.Never had children cause I NEVER wanted to pass on this terrible trait.I'm so tired of people of all ages commenting on it.Sorry I was born this way.There is nothing I can do about it.I've tried waxing,bleaching,shaving.But safe to say I have the highest sex drive of any women I know.I don't shave my legs in the winter.