As I was outside this morning for my morning coffee, I caught a glimpse of my leg, covered in hair. I caught myself thinking ‘Jesus I’ve let myself go’. I then immediately went upstairs to shower and shave with thoughts like ‘has my boyfriend seen them, ‘how does he still find me attractive’ circulating through my brain. As I grabbed the razor and started lathering the conditioner on my legs, I started to think of where this all began.
I was in first year, in the P.E changing rooms and the girls were talking about how they could never wear a skirt out without getting rid of their leg hair. I remember asking why and they replied with something along the lines of ‘em, because it’s disgusting’. Next thing I knew I was at home on wiki-how, following instructions on how to shave my not even noticeable blonde hair.
I remember walking downstairs afterwards with razor cuts all over my legs feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment, hoping someone would notice. From that day on, I was always conscious of my body hair. I even left school early one day pretending to be sick because I had put on short socks with my skirt that day, without realising how hairy my legs were.
My dad found the razor one day and asked why I had it, and I lied and said it was a friend who had left it in the house. I did not want him to know I naturally grew hair on my legs. I was embarrassed. Looking back now I am more embarrassed that I did that to myself, but I cannot help but wonder why girls at such a young age have this mentality that body hair is ‘disgusting’.
Since the 1910s, razor advertising has always followed the same formula. The woman shaves her body hair, and then every man finds her desirable. The brand Gillette especially are known for their ads to have always had slogans advertising that ‘shaving is sexy’. The use of emotional advertising has made women feel embarrassed and ashamed of their natural body hair. We are told to shave to make ourselves more desirable to men.
More and more women have, in recent years, started to rebel against this ‘social norm’ and leave their body hair alone, and unshaven. Much to my disgust, campaigns, ads, and social media posts showing these women thrive in their natural bodies, are left with so much hate and cruel comments.
Society might not yet be ready to see women comfortable in their own bodies but forget about society. Do not let yourself fall into old fashioned and outdated ways of thinking.
Grow out your leg or armpit hair, plait it, dye it, throw some glitter in it! It’s your choice what to do with your own body whether you want to shave or not. Thrive to love the body that carries you through life, not conform to what society wants you to look like!