So…..body hair….?

** TRIGGER WARNING for Trichotillomania/hair-pulling**

How do you feel about shaving? Waxing? Hair removal cream? Plucking?

  • Do you enjoy having smooth legs and/or armpits?
  • Do you feel pressured into removing hair, by family, friends, or media representations of flawlessly smooth limbs?
  • Or do you feel shamed into not shaving by people who insist that you shouldn’t do it?
  • Do you feel judged for shaving/not shaving? Do you feel that you really have a choice?

We’re hoping to put together some quotes (from people of all genders) about experiences with body hair and hair-removal, for a stall we’re hosting at the Peaches Party on Saturday 27th June – and possibly for inclusion in a zine.

The aim of the endeavour is to get a broad range of opinions and experiences, with the overall message that personal choice is what matters, whether that choice is to remove some hair, all hair, or no hair. We’ve no intention of shaming anyone for the choices they make, or choices they feel that they don’t have.

If you’re happy to share your thoughts, ideas and experiences with us, we’d love to read them! Please post in the comments here, on our Twitter feed with the hashtag #hairysubject, or in a private message to our Facebook group. Please be aware that we might use your quote on a poster or in a zine – and if you’d like us to use your quote without including your online name, just let us know.

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5 Responses to So…..body hair….?

  1. Kate says:

    Yes I think we look to our mothers a lot for a role model, especially if we don’t have other close female relatives. My parents have very traditional views and so seem to interpret most things I do differently to them as some sort of political point or as part of my “odd” lifestyle. I’ve just had to keep reminding myself that I choose what is best for me, but it can be very difficult at times. I have a young son and the realisation that some times I just don’t have the time to shave, put makeup on or dress up was a big part of me stopping caring so much about what others think.

  2. C says:

    This is so interesting! I actually had quite the opposite with my mum growing up in that I couldn’t understand why she didn’t shave or use deodorant, and her reply was always that she simply didn’t need to! I guess it wasn’t one of her priorities trying to look after me and my sisters and dad and I think she probably does differently now she has more time. I always think back to her saying she didn’t need to, and have in latter years definitely taken that approach/attitude for myself. My partners have always been very supportive which may have helped. My only struggle these days is at work, feeling like I need to appear ‘professional’ and that this equals shaved legs. I get around this by just wearing tights all year round which also avoids chub rub in summer months 😀 but maybe one day I’ll take the plunge – I am freely hairy with friends and in my spare time!!

  3. H says:

    My god, Kate, mothers! I know it’s not their fault as they’re dealing with the pressures of surviving in a sexist society in the best way they can, like we all are, but so many of my anxieties about gender, including my body hair ones, came from my mother. I suppose it’s also that mothers are the adult women to whom we grow up in closest proximity. I remember being told I wasn’t allowed to shave my legs even while I was being bullied for it in school P.E., and begged my mum to be allowed to do it (ok, so maybe a lot of my anxieties came from P.E., too – my GOD, the nightmare, etc). Thinking about it now, I have the lightest blonde leg hair, so these girls were pretty strict in their enforcement of appropriate standards of maintenance for female-gendered bodies. Most frustrating, though, was the lack of explanation. I’d seen home waxing kits in my parents’ room, and bikini wax appointments on the calendar. So why could my mum do it and I wasn’t allowed? Like the reasons why I supposedly needed to hide my sanitary towels away from my dad and brother, I was never told why this was the case, just that it was. Inevitably I just ended up using her razors, or when I was older and allowed to go shopping with friends, covertly buying and hiding hair removal cream.

    More recently, my parents have really got into swimming (triathlons – serious stuff), and they’re always trying to get me to go to the pool with them when I go home. I don’t want to because I’m pretty lax with body hair removal, but not brave enough to go all out at the pool – especially not with my parents around, who would be mortified and assume I was trying to make some sort of feminist point, even if they wouldn’t explain this to me, because it’s not the kind of thing ‘decent people’ talk about (do decent women just get on with removing body hair at all times, so that we can all just pretend it was never there?). I don’t tend to take my hair removal cream home with me for the weekend, and there’s no way I’m cutting myself up with my underarm razor, and anyway, I wouldn’t have time to do it in the ten minutes they usually give from mentioning it to heading out the door. So I just have to let them think I don’t like swimming, and get teased for being ‘lazy’.

  4. Kate says:

    I enjoy having smooth legs and armpits some of the time, It can be a nice sensation. I have in the past felt obliged to remove the hair, however have decided to only remove it when it is for my own benefit now. I’ve found the main critique of me having body hair has been my mother, who has the very traditional view that it will make me unattractive. This caused me to always remove all body hair throughout my teenage years. However now I have lovely friends and an amazing partner who couldn’t care less what I do or don’t change about my body. I respect their choices and they respect mine equally.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never met a man with less armpit hair than me and I don’t even care.

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