Hello my lovelies.
Here it is again, the TMI of the Month! Now, if this is something that interests you, then you may consider yourself part of the TMI fanbase, and we welcome you with open, slightly sweaty hugs. The more of us who discuss and indulge in the less glamorous aspects of the human body, and are partial to a cheeky spot-squeezing story or two, the more we can embrace these grim details as something to be marvelled at and applauded. Let us not flee in revulsion but grin maniacally at each other as we share this common disgustingness. Beautiful, magical disgustingness.
In today’s edition, there’s not a vagina in sight I’m sorry to say. In fact we will be talking about HAIR REMOVAL, which in hindsight is kind of vagina-related in parts, so let us put a pound in the vagina jar anyway. So what is there to talk about – in short it’s a rundown of how I’m feeling about the whole hair-removal game and how I go about tackling it, from the perspective of a woman in her 20s, living largely in the modern world.
Without delving too far into the past, it’s certainly interesting to monitor the ever-changing trends of our natural bodily decoration. Elle Magazine did a canny little article on the history of hair removal, which is definitely worth a flick through. (See below)
It made me think about the many motivations to rid ourselves of our hair. Some for practicality, some to shape our assets in various ways, or to draw attention to or away from our body parts. The over-arching message from vintage advertisements however, seems to be one of pure shame.
Curiously enough, this particular shame seems to be gender-neutral at certain points in history, and for various reasons. As women’s hemlines become shorter and their sleeves disappear, what lies beneath is labelled as “unsightly”, and for a gentlemen to be dapper and respectable, a clean shave is the only acceptable option, if he wants to please his lady. Have no fear though, for as chance would have it there are products available to buy continuously, which will fix this natural unsightliness!
And so, in the dips and peaks of what has essentially become a fashion industry, what kind of ideals are established now, in 2017? Well, looking at how far we’ve come…
…you can argue that the messages are the same. If you follow the current rules then you will be MANLY AS FUCK (or womanly/goddessly as fuck), and you will most certainly get laid. Sexuality and hair maintenance go hand-in-hand.
Having looked at this, I find that I am part of the marketing system. Since I was 12, I have opted to remove a lot of my bodily hair. At 11, I was aware of adverts for razors and waxing kits but considered them “Woman’s Business”, and something not to be trifled with until one’s 30s, surely. But it suddenly became a part of my life following a hockey lesson at school, during which one of my female classmates looked at me in horror after we’d crashed into each other, and declared: “How hairy are your legs?!” I felt red-hot with shame, and immediately sought about acquiring a razor (hastily acquired from a pack of disposables, also known as handy flesh-slicers.) How could I have let this slide? I was incredibly behind in the pack. I recall a maths lesson a year on, in which one of my male friends started joking about my arms, saying I was as hairy as a grizzly bear. I threw my school photo in the bin, as I looked in despair at my humongously bushy eyebrows. With my new shame-lenses on, I looked monstrous. My shame-razoring soon branched out to my entire arms, my bikini line, that middle seam at the back of my thighs that I find so hard to reach, the tiny little patch at the top of my feet that would please the locals in Hobbiton. It all had to go. There were standards to be met, and I had many more years of schooling to endure.
Since then I have had a strong love-hate relationship with hair removal. I considered it necessary then, to avoid mockery, and now I consider it as part of my cleaning routine. I don’t question its relevance. I am not aiming to prove a point to someone by adhering to their standards, because these days I feel like I have opened my eyes to a new level of acceptance. There are many women campaigning nowadays for hairiness to be entirely optional, and I hear their statement and think that it’s certainly empowering, but not one I have adopted as mantra. Many years on from my hockey lesson, I have certainly had days, or weeks, when I haven’t bothered or cared enough to shave my legs, in relationships or out. Sometimes it’s too cold. Sometimes I have eczema flare-ups on my ankles and I can’t bear the thought of taking a razor to damaged flesh. Sometimes I’ve sliced open my knee and then considered myself unfit to wield such a weapon. But generally, most-of-the-time, I feel the need to remove this hair, despite it being a massive annoyance, often painful and added shower-time.
Not being parts of my body that are on display consistently (barring deep summer days), who am I trying to please? Am I trying to evoke sexual openness? I hope that as a 27 year old woman, I am not being horrendously naïve in saying that nowadays, I am doing it for me. Perhaps I am simply brainwashed by the media, but by-and-large, I enjoy taking care of myself. I consider it a calming indulgence to smooth on Dream Cream and Lush dusting powders onto my legs after a shower. I find it oddly satisfying to pluck my eyebrows, granted they’re not particularly neat. I epilate my legs and wax my bikini line – not at all fun at the time, but it’s a standard I have put on level with a haircut. It’s my choice to do it, I don’t feel obliged, but I feel regimented and calm with it. My partner has never criticised my fuzzy arms or occasionally prickly legs as he has never criticised what I choose to wear; it is my body, and this is how I’ve deemed it to be decorated. I’m lucky enough to have the time and tools to do so. All entirely superficial isn’t it? Well perhaps, but anything we can reclaim is something to be celebrated. If your fuzz is your armour, by all means fuzz it up. If you like to shave your bikini line into the coastal pattern of your local beach, or a Chinese dragon, then by all means, do it. I’m not sure what I hoped to accomplish in this post, if only to offer a friendly hand to my former self, and say that everything’s okay.
This post is dedicated to the little soft hair that I found the other week, near the side of my boob. It’s not quite under my arm, so it’s definitely in boob territory.
Until the next TMI of the month!