My Relationship with Body Hair
Guest Post by Mallory (Mal) of Hyper Feminism blog
If you’ve seen much of anything on my blog you’ll know how strongly I feel about period positivity – and that, for me is mirrored in all things girls are brought up to feel ashamed about. Periods, body image, sexuality and our body hair (among others obviously) are all things that we learn to surround with shame and silence, where they should be topics coloured with conversation and choice.
In year eight I was desperate to shave my legs, all of the girls I knew were doing it but my mum wasn’t having a bar of it. She tried to explain over and over again that my blond leg hairs would only grow back dark and spiky and I’d never be able to stop, but I was on a teenage warpath. Eventually it was decided that I could remove my leg hair, but only if I used an epilator, which in hindsight I’m sure was intended to put me off immediately (if you’ve never seen one, it’s basically a little device that you run up and down your skin and it grabs your hairs and pulls them out, it’s not at all pleasant). As you can imagine, I didn’t stick with this for very long and would only use it occasionally, never really doing a great job.
I’m not sure that I ever actually cared about leg hair, then it was really just a thing I wanted to do because everyone else was. Then as I got older and started to swim more and more competitively my leg hair became a thing I only got rid of when I had a competition I deemed important enough to sit on the edge of the bathtub and wax my legs with the strips you warm up with your hands. Pro-tip: those strips suck and take far too long to warm up to cool back down straight away, but don’t resort to warning them up using a hair straightener, you will burn yourself.
Swimming is when I started to pay attention to the other hair on my body. I shaved my armpits and bikini line constantly for a long time, I felt so self-conscious being in just my bathers and having hair there, like people would be constantly staring and judging me. Eventually, I stopped waxing my legs myself and started getting them done by a professional (which was much quicker and there were no hair straighteners involved) and only before a major competition like states or nationals. I relaxed toward my underarm hair but kept shaving my bikini line, always resulting in ingrown hairs. I also started shaving my pubic hair, as I’ve mentioned here before ya girl gets very heavy and long periods and I hated having hair down there for that time of the month, but also for competitions because I didn’t like how it felt under my racing bathers. My skin is super sensitive and prone to ingrown hairs and I never talked to anyone about shaving my pubic hair and I had no idea how to deal with it aside from layering on ‘bump eraser’ cream and riding out the itchiness.
I shaved my legs for the first time when I was in year twelve. I still rarely shave them, it’s not a thing that bothers me, and for the most part the vast majority of people could not possibly care less and I refuse to feel ashamed about it, even though there are still people (in 2018!!) who feel like it’s okay to try and make me feel otherwise. Last year I started laser hair removal for Brazilian and underarms and I haven’t looked back. I don’t like having pubic hair and I don’t find underarm hair comfortable, so I made a choice to deal with it. A lot of it is a laziness thing, I hate shaving, but mostly it is a choice I made because of my skin sensitivity. I don’t get itchiness and ingrown hairs after laser and it doesn’t take me three days to recover from removing my hair, at this point, I hardly get anything growing back. If you decide that you want to shave, here is a great resource on women’s razors.
But the thing is, I don’t have to justify my choice, because it is just that, a choice. And that goes for any choice any woman makes about her body hair (and her body for that matter), it’s all personal preference and that’s all it should be. Feel however you want to feel about body hair, do whatever you want with it, but don’t let anyone else dictate what you want to do. Body hair is natural, but you’re no less of a woman (or a feminist) no matter whether you let it grow, trim it or get rid of it altogether. And remember that body hair is not an all or nothing situation, do what you want with the hair where you want to.
If you are going to learn anything from my experience – especially if you’re younger, you’re going to get rid of hair in your private areas, ask someone if you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t just suffer from itchiness in silence. And to my sensitive skinned humans who don’t like to have hair, maybe look into laser, it really did help me!
What about you, tell me about your experiences! You can comment below or hit me up on any of my socials!
PS- we love Mal’s body positive attitude! Want to check out more about body positivity? Click here for another GirlSpring article on this topic, https://www.girlspring.com/healthy-body-image-why-its-important-for-you-and-others/