The Policing Of Women’s Body Hair

In contemporary Western society there is a widespread notion that women and girls must protect themselves from the lingering leery lustrous stares of men. That they are unable to control themselves and their sexual prowess. Women must be pleasurable to the male gaze. Women’s bodies have to adhere to different norms compared to men. Women’s bodies should be normalised, not automatically sexualised…a woman should decide at what point she wants to be sexualised, to be deemed sexy.

Women face a tremendous amount of governing concerning their bodies, how voluptuous they should be, how much hair they should have on their body. How many sexual partners they should’ve had, apparently there’s an invisible limit and then you’re a slut. The list is endless.

There is an extreme amount of stigma around a woman’s body. The level of beauty standards in society becomes indoctrinated into young girls from an extremely young age. Yes, I am aware there are social pressures on men, I’m not ignorant to that. But there are some serious double standards when it comes to body hair.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

For many decades, the idealised woman has changed countless times. The standards are hard to meet especially since women come in all shapes and sizes and groom however they want. That should be celebrated. It’s almost like different body types and ideas of women go in and out of fashion. We are more than a style or a trend, we are human and not here to simply be a primped and plucked for the male gaze.

Hair is deemed a taboo topic, culturally in society there is a lot of pressure for women to remove their body hair and the same pressure isn’t instilled in men. Again, to those in the back …hi! I am aware there are beauty standards for men to adhere to and pressure, but for this convo we’re talking about women and our policed body hair.

There was a fabulous Channel 4 documentary, Bring Back the Bush: Where Did All the Pubic Hair Go? Which offered amazing insight into this issue, it highlighted the pressures women feel to dehair. It also looked at different male perspectives as to why hair is deemed unclean and looked at how pubic hair and how the acceptance of it has changed over time.

It’s not okay that as women we can feel dirty or unfeminine with body hair, (what does that even mean?) when its purpose is to protect us! Being raised to believe that removing hair was the only option, bare is better. Feeling unclean and like you should hide your body hair is living shameful and unseen and as women it is our duty to stand up, to be seen and heard!

I dare you to find the documentary and decide whether you keep or remove your body hair for you, is it truly your decision? If it is, power to you and if it isn’t why don’t you challenge that and hold off with the wax strips or shaver for a couple of weeks and see how it makes you feel.

Do as you please, whether that’s rocking hair or going bare. But for your own self-worth make sure that whatever you decide that it is for you and that it is your choice.

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