As society continues to evolve, beauty standards continue to be challenged by feminists everywhere. Body hair and the debate to leave it or shave it is being examined by women across the globe. But at the end of the day, whether you have it or not, body hair ultimately doesn’t determine one’s attractiveness. Here are a few reasons why it doesn’t matter nearly as much as you might think it does.
Why we feel the need to have smooth skin
Women have had the pressure of removing body hair for who knows how long. This phenomenon stems from the patriarchy and it’s demand for hairlessness, relating to men’s pre-pubescent and schoolgirl fetishes. Smooth skin directly correlates to marking the physical differences between women and men, as well as making women appear more “submissive” and “feminine” than men do. Women either genuinely like removing their body hair, feel pressured to by society’s beauty standards and normative femininity, or merely see it as another aspect of “self care.” Another misconception is that not shaving equates to being “dirty” or “unhygienic;” both presumptions that could not be any less accurate.
What you might experience if you choose to stop shaving
Making the conscious choice to forego removing your body hair may be because you simply like it, or could go a step further to challenge beauty ideals. If you choose to stop shaving, notice the emotions that may come up for you when you wear clothes that display your skin. You may feel shame, embarrassment, or regret, as well as be ostracized by people around you for your choice to not remove your body hair. And that’s all completely valid. Of course you’re going to feel uncomfortable, after years of society expecting you to remain hairless. It’s okay to feel weird and out of your comfort zone. But having body hair doesn’t make you any less beautiful than it would if you didn’t have body hair. You’re still you; just a little hairier than before. And that’s nothing to be ashamed about.
Body hair is a natural phenomenon that everyone experiences
What most people don’t think about is the fact is that not one person on the planet doesn’t experience having body hair. As we grow older, we develop more body hair as a result of becoming adults. Pubic hair in particular is actually one of our body’s natural defense mechanisms for protecting ourselves from bacteria. It provides a line of defense against dirt and bacteria and can help prevent skin energy and even help in protecting us from STIs. Aside from that, having hair that grows on our bodies is something that we all undergo; it’s part of the human experience and we shouldn’t have to experience shame for something so natural. Men sport body hair without any subjugation by society or the rest of the world, so why shouldn’t women get to experience that as well?
Why body hair removal promotes body dysmorphia
While most women view removing body hair as just another aspect of self care, body hair removal is actually a form of self mutilation in itself. We are trained from a young age to get rid of any and all hair that isn’t aesthetically pleasing, and if we aren’t able to do so, fixate on what we can’t remove. This sends us into a downward spiral of negativity and body shaming for something that is completely natural, as previously stated. We need less self-judgment and more self-love.