Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Hairy Maclary

'A Scene From My Life
Small child: Why do you have hair under your arms?
Me: Because when girls and boys grow up into women and men they grow hair under their arms
Small child: My Mum doesn’t have hair under her arms.
Me: She shaves it off.
Small child: She doesn’t
Me: She does. Ask her.
Small child: Mum, do you?
Mother of small child: Yes
Small child: Why?

Exactly, small child. Exactly.'
Through Twitter and Guardian, I came across an article on Vagenda Mag written by Emer O'Toole, where one woman defied society by not shaving for 18months. The article explores the reactions of people, including the above situation with a small child, as well people talking about her on the tube. 

'The official reason for this is that I’m still learning stuff about having body hair, and the unofficial reason is that, to my own sincere surprise, I actually really like it.'

We all know of the 1999 premiere of Notting Hill when Julia Roberts exposed her hairy underarms, with a great backlash from the media. However, what is wrong with being natural, and letting your arm, leg and public hair grow out? Today's society has grown to accept, even believe that women should be as hairless as possible, aside from on top of the head.
'I stopped shaving because there’s way too much pressure on people to conform to stupid arbitrary gendered bullshit.'
To go swimming requires preparation for women, I have had discussions with female friends about going swimming and having to sort out leg and public hair situations in advance. Woman are very conscious of a stray hair being spotted whilst swimming, but why should we really become so paranoid when for the majority of the time, you are submerged under water and busy swimming? No one in the swimming pool is on public-hair watch to catch that stray hair out or to stroke your leg to determine if you are too hairy to swim.
In February/March I was swimming twice a week at a pool near my workplace, and after the second week of prepping my legs the day before, I gave up my routine. There came a point where it had been a week since I last swam, or indeed since I had shaved, and I had just stopped caring about what anyone would think of my grown out hairs. I strolled through the changing rooms and down to the pool, sliding in with my fur lined legs on full show. Of course, the legs are hidden almost instantly and unless someone swims past me like an affectionate dolphin, no one would ever have noticed my fuzzy legs.

Emer O'Toole appeared on This Morning alongside a beauty saloon owner who always shaves her body, as it makes her feel more feminine. A very interesting discussion with two women who are both body confident in different hair states.
Watch here.

Another noteworthy article I discovered when looking into the hair-taboo, was an article written by the BBC in 2007 about Shazia Mirz, a carefree "hairy woman". The article points out that in 2007 'The female population of the UK is now estimated to spend £280m a year removing body hair.' Five years on from this article, I am sure that would have grown significantly, even with the odd celebrity hairy armpit endorsement.
"Body hair on a man is seen as rugged but on a woman it is viewed as sweaty and smelly," says Ms Toerien [Merran Toerien, researcher of gender and body hair]. "Women who have body hair are viewed as not taking care of themselves."
 And what Merran says is true. If women do not shave, they are considered lazy, unhygienic and disgusting. And yet men have no pressures to have the same smooth skin that women are reinforced by society and media to have. Actually, that is a mild lie. The 'Back, Sac, Crack' wax, amongst other procedures, has made it more accessible and acceptable for men rid their body of hair. Whether it is for vanity or not, lets put down our razors, wax, epilators,creams, tweezers etc and enjoy being a bit hairy for a while.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! And, me I've never shaved. :)
    I wish people would be less judging and just accept others especially natural people.