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Life > Experiences

Coming to Terms With My Body Hair

Updated Published
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

Ah, body hair. The bane of the existence of many. The arrival of summer comes with sunshine and hot weather, prompting me to wear tank tops and shorts. The other day in my chem lecture, I glanced at my arms and noticed the hair. A flood of memories comes rushing in about how I used to be so self conscious about it, but now it’s nothing but a passing thought. 

Self love can be a fickle thing and freeing oneself from the impossible beauty standards of today is no easy task. It took time for me to come to terms with my body hair and the fact that it was perfectly normal. 

In middle school (ugh, the ABSOLUTE worst time of my life) , I loathed my body hair so much that I can safely say I’m an expert in all techniques of hair removal, from Nair, wax strips, sugar wax, to the good ol’ razor. I was obsessed with the appearance, or rather disappearance of hair on my body.  

I never felt like a “real” girl. I never saw myself as feminine enough. Not pretty enough. I had broad shoulders, sparse lashes, and hair on every part of my body. The very cliche saying is true: comparison is the thief of joy. I hid my hair with long sleeves and leggings underneath my PE uniform. I was jealous of white girls and their smooth hairless arms and legs and wondered why I couldn’t be like one of them!I even had more hair than my own brother, who would call me a yeti (I shot back with: “Well at least I’m more of a boy than you are” ). Wearing any sort of  clothing like dresses, short sleeves, or shorts was out of the question. 

As I was complaining about my leg hair one day in PE, my friend in a serious tone tells me, “Evelyn, you don’t have a lot of hair. It’s just dark. I have the same amount but it’s super light.” She shows me her leg and she was right! Although it didn’t completely change my mind yet, it made me recognize how normal body hair is and that I wasn’t the only one. Being bombarded by models and actresses with smooth hairless skin on billboards, movies, and TV shows warped my perception of beauty. I fell victim to those unrealistic beauty standards they presented. 

Being exposed to different perspectives allowed me to alter my own perspective about my body hair.  In high school, I was surrounded by friends and other women of color who had noticeable body hair like me, something I never really saw in middle school. I felt less alone and actually normal

What I deemed as a flaw, others deemed as a luxury. One girl told me I had nice eyebrows, saying they were thick and well defined. Girls were jealous of my hair??? I was shocked. I used to hate my bushy eyebrows.

Girls wore tank tops despite having arm hair. They wore shorts too. If they weren’t afraid, why was I?

Realizing my obsession with the Western beauty standards forced me to confront my own internal struggle about my cultural identity and what it truly means to be beautiful. The differing perspectives around me helped me realize it was totally normal to have hair and that beauty standards, like always, are misogynistic and wildly unrealistic. 

Eventually I started to slowly wear short sleeves and shorts. It was so liberating to not care about my body hair and how people would perceive me. I finally embraced my body hair. 

Occasionally, I admit, I still feel a little self conscious, the thoughts creeping up on me: “Are people looking?” “Do they think I’m really hairy?” But those thoughts are quickly swept aside when I notice other women on campus embracing their body hair. 

Aesthetically, perhaps body hair may be unappealing to some, but women shouldn’t be seen through the lens of aesthetics. We’re human. Not some perfect object to be ogled at. 

Be proud. Whether you choose to not shave or shave is up to you. But know being a hairy girly is perfectly normal. 

Evelyn is currently a first year Cell Biology major at Davis. While she is not stressing over her classes and suffering in lab, she loves to bake, play piano, read (fantasy novels especially!), and binge watch shows (she recommends Community).