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Hair and Lack Thereof

What is it that is so terrifying about the idea of body hair on women? The majority of advertisements for hair removal products, such as razors, show already hairless legs or armpits. Is it that what they’re trying to sell us is just that bad that they can’t risk shaving actual hair in the commercial for fear of no one buying their rubbish products?

For that matter, why are women’s razors marketed so differently to men? They’re usually so much more expensive, as well. Certainly, some have moisturisers and what have you, and certainly all those accoutrements would add to the cost. Although I know many women who would gladly buy men’s razor’s. Not only is it less expensive, but they’re usually more durable, and offer a closer shave.

Truly though, what is it that terrifies people about body hair? Why is it that we can only have hair on our head, and when we let hair grow anywhere else we get looked down upon because of it?

Speaking of hair on a woman’s head, I recently rewatched Michael Gracey’s The Greatest Showman. Now, I love this movie. It’s lovely, a wonderful story, with such beautiful songs. The biggest thing that gets me every time, however, is Lettie Lutz. Keala Settle is absolutely stunning, and she plays the bearded lady well, but when she raises her arms, it’s clear to see that her armpits are shaved. So it’s fine for her to have a beard, but not armpit hair?

Wouldn’t it make far more sense for Lettie to shave her beard, to have stubble upon her face while she tries to fit in, and that is how she is first discovered by P.T. Barnum? All of that’s just ignoring one simple fact. Razors weren’t initially marketed towards and sold to women, until 1915, a good fifty-sixty movies after the movie is set, during the first World War. Which also makes me raise an eye at Anne Wheeler, played by Zendaya, with her obviously smooth body, clearly seen in the majority of her costuming.

It’s a problem that exists in so many movies. Heaven forbid that a movie show a woman in the middle ages with hairy legs or armpits. How on Earth did men manage to survive in those times, before women felt compelled by society to part with their body hair?

I was staying with a friend recently, and she told me that she shaves her armpits, because she’s not a feminist. Now, I am a feminist. Which I mean in the true sense of the world. I am not behind a lot of the people who call themselves feminists these days. My friend claimed she was an egalitarian, and I agree with that. Which is why I do still call myself a feminist as well as an egalitarian, because feminism, true feminism, in the first and second waves when it was most crucial, wasn’t about women being better than men, but simply about women getting the same chances as men.

As I mentioned, I call myself a feminist. I don’t believe that women should feel compelled to shave their armpits because society is terrified of women with hair on their bodies. Though that’s not to say that I don’t think every woman should burn their bras and throw away their razors. In my mind, everyone should choose what they want to do for themselves. I choose not to shave my legs or armpits, because I simply don’t see the point, and it takes too much time and effort. There is no way, however, that I will ever condemn someone because they choose to shave theirs.

The same goes in my mind for men. I will never look down at a man because he chooses to shave his arms, legs, chest or back. So why is it that so many people feel the need to criticise others based on their choice of whether or not to keep their body hair.

I could go on and share my opinions on other such choices which people make in regards to their bodies, which might cause others to look down upon them. I think, however, that I shall leave such a discussion for another day, another blog post.

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