It’s no secret that modern society has come full circle through matters pertaining to womxn’s* rights, particularly around how they choose to let their body hair grow. Initially in history and certain cultures we saw body hair on womxn to be that of a beautiful occurrence. However, particularly so in Western society, we have been indoctrinated to shave, pluck, wax, and laser off our natural body hair. In so many hair removal campaigns we literally watch a model shave their already hairless legs! It’s so crazy how opposed the world can be towards womxn and body hair, and the question of men and their body hair has never come up. More recently however, we’re seeing a lot more brands supporting the choice womxn have around removal of hair. Brands such as Billie really illuminate on their platform that it is a womxn’s choice, and even though their company is based around hair removal, they want it truly to be up to the womxn, and to show womxn with body hair.
I’ve written and shot plenty of series around the topic of body hair on womxn, and to help empower womxn through it. However, there is something to be said in the case of our partners, our family members, and our friends, and how they showcase their thoughts, opinions, and feelings around body hair on womxn. If, for example, our parents conditioned us to believe that we should shave our arm pits, and that perhaps by their own fears around us getting bullied at school for having hairy legs, we were constantly told to wax, it would elongate our process of self-care and self-love towards our bodies in the realm of hair. Constantly hearing that there is something “wrong” with the natural state of our bodies, even if indirectly told, naturally our beliefs and the way we see ourselves, will shift towards always trying to “compress” our natural state. Likewise as such, whilst we have a closer reach towards our inner circle vs huge media companies pushing out razor marketing schemes, these companies are hugely the reason for womxn thinking there’s the need to “fix” something in the realm of again, our natural state.
As I aged, I began to really become at one with my body hair and realise that it’s no one’s decision but mine in terms of what I wish to do with it. Middle school was hard, as several boys would bully me and yell “hairy Mary Clairy” (my name being Marie Claire, but they deemed it suitable to adjust it to that.) Whilst all the girls in my class had begun shaving already, I just wasn’t really bothered to do so. However, after such bullying, it really did push me towards finally exploring hair removal options – electric razors, hair removal cream, wax, real razors, etc.
Once I began dating, a whole other arena arose – intimacy vs hair. My almost first experience with intimacy – regarding cuddling – extended to the guy phoning my best friend and explaining I was “just a bit too hairy” for him. Naturally, that left a scar on me, as such a small natural thing such as hair (which both men and womxn have) bewildered me that that was such a deciding factor in breaking something off. Moving forward years later, I began “protecting” my energy by asking guys their opinions around body hair, and explained my side in terms of not wanting to remove it. Usually I had good responses with them acknowledging it was my choice and that they didn’t mind. It was refreshing seeing older guys responding positively, whilst the vision from middle school bullying had been ingrained on my brain.
Essentially, progressing with romantic / platonic relationships, and progressing with my connection to my body hair, I found that finding partners who shared the same outlook as me towards body hair really helped me in supporting myself personally and giving myself more self-love. Without the questioning as to “why I don’t remove it,” or the prodding to remove it, I was able to see the importance in surrounding myself with loving, caring, gentle, and supportive people.
It’s like nurture vs nature; to be brought up in a natural environment where without question body hair just is present – one can grow and live without being a topic of discussion. However, that really is not the case in modern society. Many of the topics around body hair revolve around nurture, as growing straight away within a natural environment that supported body hair wasn’t so common. So many of us were brought up to believe body hair was bad and were conditioned by advertisements to remove it. So nurture became so prevalent for many of us – as we had to unlearn these potential harmful thoughts towards body hair. As so many of us are bullied, scorned, and teased for having body hair, it sometimes does take more than just ourselves to uplift and support ourselves once more. We need to nurture an environment that supports us for who we are and in turn that pushes for the environment to have supportive, open-minded, and kind individuals to nurture us. Through all that, it really builds the foundation for stronger self-esteem and longer lasting connections between us and others.
We preach so much that self-love is a one person job and that it must come from within – and I totally agree that it does start with us and from within. However, think of it in terms of plants: if we plant a seed and put the pot in a dark cupboard, it most likely still will grow, but at a slower pace & maybe not as healthily as usual. But if we plant a seed and put the pot in the sun and water it as necessary, there’s more of a chance it will thrive even more. There is so much importance around a nurturing environment, whether that’s at school, at home, in our friend group or closest circle. This is not to say that if we have none of those things that we can’t build our own, individual prisms of nurture & self-love, but rather, if all the factors are helping, that can only push for a stronger, healthier and more positive experiences. Many of us have grown from hardships as children, gone through difficult upbringings and trauma, but moving forward so many of us want to eradicate that chain and never have our children or loved ones experience any of that. It really does begin with ourselves, who we allow in our circle, what we spend our good energy on, and how we choose to move forward – nurturing the nature we’re in.
*This spelling has been modified from traditional spelling norms, to make the word inclusive of Transgender individuals, and individuals of colour.