Let’s talk about body hair. More specifically, let’s discuss body hair removal… mainly, as it applies to women.
I’m actually seriously starving after my morning fight training, and usually I dash to my fridge for food the moment my post-gym shower has concluded.
But today was different because a thought struck me as I shaved my legs in the shower just now, a thought that made me run straight to my laptop to write this blog entry.
Why is it even a societal norm for women to be hairless [aside from their mane, eyebrows, and eyelashes, I mean]? Where did that idea even come from in the first place?
Men and women both have natural body hair, so how did it become such that females are
“supposed” to make themselves appear hairless at all given times while men get to keep their body hair all-natural?
Well, while dealing with the annoyance that is running a razor blade over my knees about fifteen minutes ago, I came up with a literal “shower thought” theory:
Forcing women to keep ourselves hairless was intended to make us more vulnerable than men.
Hear me out.
I think it’s safe to say that our society is built around a rather specific power dynamic – men are in charge, and women are not. Of course, the philosophy behind this is garbage, and there are plenty of strong women shattering glass ceilings, and amazing men playing a positive role in the push for gender equality. But the fact of the matter is still that our society is designed around a system in which men are in charge, and women are not.
Women – we’re “meant” to be
obedient, simple, fragile, lovely, passive, and, well… secondary to men.
Now, let’s take a moment to think about heterosexual “relations”. When a man and a woman who both have all of their body hair grown out undress down to their birthday suits, they’ll find themselves on an identical level of exposure, won’t they? They’ll be equally naked, and, in turn, equally exposed.
Traditional society dictates that it’s a woman’s duty to please a man in the bedroom, and be entirely subservient. Her pleasure isn’t meant to be a priority… she’s essentially there to make the dude happy, and she may be expected to get pregnant if child-rearing is in their immediate plans.
So, when a man and a woman are both naked and covered in hair, that’s an equal level of vulnerability. This doesn’t exactly work for a society that demands women be weaker than men in all scenarios [especially sexual ones], does it?
The obvious solution to this
“issue” would be to make women even more exposed than men in this situation of utmost nudity and close physical proximity. But how can you make someone even more exposed when they’re already completely naked?
That’s simple. Make them remove their body hair, the last layer of protection that stands between the world and their state of nudity absolute.
Having women make themselves essentially hairless is a way to keep male superiority alive when a man is at his most physically and sexually vulnerable. Furthermore, the fact that hair removal is a woman’s “responsibility” also adds an additional level of subservience to the dynamic, doesn’t it? It implies that it’s supposedly our job to make ourselves more vulnerable for males, since “we’re ‘meant’ to be
obedient, simple, fragile, lovely, passive, and, well… secondary to men.”
Those are my shower thoughts for the day – what do you think?
Before wrapping up this blog post, I also wanted to say that what you do with your body hair [and your body in general] is YOUR choice. This means that regardless of your gender, do what makes you happy (yes, I know I’m only talking about men and women in this post, but please don’t think I’ve forgotten about all of you who identify as other genders; needless to say, like folks within the gender binary, manage or don’t manage your body hair in whatever way works best for you).
If you’re a woman and want to shave, that’s fine! Just because female hair removal may [or may not] have been born from misogynistic intentions doesn’t mean that removing it makes you any less of a feminist, and that doesn’t make you a misogynist either. If that’s what works for you, no matter the reason, keep doing it!
If you’re a man who just lets all of your body hair roam free, that’s fine too! That doesn’t make you a misogynist, or diminish your feminist ideals.
The opposite also applies.
If you’re a woman who likes to let it all grow out, do it! But please remember, that doesn’t necessarily make you any more of a feminist or any less of a misogynist (not assuming you’re misogynistic) than a woman who prefers to keep her skin hairless.
If you’re a man who prefers to remove his body hair, keep doing that! But that doesn’t make you any more of a feminist or any less of a misogynist (again, not assuming you’re misogynistic) than men who leave their body hair as is.
Do what you want to do with your body hair, and respect other people’s choices regarding theirs.
That’s really all there is to it.
Personally, I love how smooth my skin is without body hair, but I still grin when I see women who love rocking theirs.
You do you, boo.