In a world of compulsive epilation and ridiculous beauty standards, I find myself pretty Pro Bush these days. I’d go so far as to say I’m pro all body hair, really. Because, like, who cares? I’m also in support of full bodily autonomy, so if you like to wax and pluck to dolphin-y smoothness, all the power to you. And if descriptions like ‘dolphin-y smoothness’ are triggering, just know that I’m mocking the greater system that demands hairlessness, not individuals who modify their body hair. Cool? Cool.
Okay, but also … just this afternoon I tweezed my upper lip and asked my boyfriend if he would wax my ass crack, so sometimes I do care. It’s hard not to. Harder than you think.
When I eased off the full body hair removal of my youth, I started with my thighs. I still shaved to the knee, I still did a fully shaved snatch, my armpits were immaculate, I even shaved my forearms. After the thighs, it was the rest of my leg, then the pubic jungle, then my underarms until I was pretty much au naturale. I still shave my forearms. It’s vain as fuck but I do it every other day. I can’t stop! My face also has it’s own rules and standards: my upper lip gets waxed and my eyebrows are finally, finally learning to behave after decades of waxing and plucking.
It’s so hard not to care. It’s so hard.
I don’t care, in the sense that I wouldn’t condemn someone else for keeping their body how they like it. But I do condemn the larger systems and cultural expectations that keep feminine presenting folks buying razors (more expensive pink ones, especially!) and enduring painful, costly electrolysis. The sting is the fact that while we technically have a choice in how we keep our body hair, that choice can intensely influence how we are perceived and it changes our social currency. When you start to realise how pervasive and intolerant the male gaze really is, its a bit sickening. I also think it’s bullshit that men and male presenting folks are expected to be hairy all over. What if they want to shave? Why should it be weird or questionable for a man to have shaved armpits? Why is manscaping just for backs, chests and balls?
A list of reasons I’m so over bowing to the patriarchy by making myself hairless:
- Policing peoples’ bodies is not only really tired and outmoded, it’s unnecessary and rude
- It takes time, money, and effort I don’t care to spend
- My body hair is accepted, and in some cases preferred, by my partners
- I don’t feel any better, there is no direct benefit to me beyond doing what I’m “supposed” to do to be an attractive woman, whatever that means
- I have sensitive skin that has already been scarred and marred by decades of hair removal
- The gender double standards make me mad – how are a masculine hairy armpits sexy or at least neutral but mine make me “a dirty granola lesbian” (that description is compliments of a random man in my DMs who was upset that I would not heed his recommendation that I shave)
So if you’re considering diverging from body hair beauty standards, you have my full support. If you want to toe the line and you feel at your best when you follow established beauty guidelines, all the power to you. But if at all possible, if it’s safe and possible for you, don’t do any of it if you don’t want to. You don’t have to conform. Be yourself and express yourself with your body how ever you want. Stay safe, have fun, and live authentically!