Monday, August 22, 2011
Learning to love my hair
As you can probably guess by the pictures that I have posted, I'm not referring to the hair on my head. I'm referring to that obscenely unfeminine hair on our bodies that we feel compelled to shave, wax, laser, tweeze and depillitate off. Back in grade seven, I was sitting in my school's library and one of my male class mate's commented "wow, you have really hairy arms". Those seven words started a 15 year downward spiral of hating my arms. Many people don't realize how much girls (especially young ones that just started puberty) take critique about their bodies to heart. A short time later, I begun shaving my arms. If not freshly shaven every couple days, I'd get prickly hairs sprouting. I was just as ashamed about shaving my arms as I was about them 'being hairy'. About a year ago I finally stopped shaving them. I was very self conscious as the hair began to poke out from my skin. It was prickly, it seemed dark and coarse. I fought myself not to give up and just start the cycle again. I bleached the hair, so it wasn't as noticeable growing in. Roughly twelve months later now, my arms are back to normal. I can now acknowledge that they are normal. I'm human, humans have body hair. I don't even have an excessive amount of it. I spent years hating something that wasn't even real. The same time I started letting my arm hair go natural, I stopped shaving my arm pits too. *Gasp* I've only shaved once in the last 12 months. Most of the time, instead of feeling ashamed like I thought I would, I feel rebellious. There are moments I let negativity get to me though. After spending a hot day walking around, I was feeling hot and sweaty, so informed my friend that I planned on showering once I got back to her place. Her response was 'you wouldn't get so stinky if you shaved there' - looking to my arm pits. I gave serious thought to shaving again after that. I find that other women are often the greatest participators in policing what feminity is supposed to be. Ever noticed that the biggest insult you can give a man is to call him feminine? That guy's a pussy, he's acting like a girl, he's a sissy. As well, one of the worst insults to a woman is that she's butch, she's not feminine, she's hairy. Why is there this need by society to stick to these self constructed gender roles?