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Hide Your Eyes: A Word on Body Hair and Women

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

Men have it and society accepts it. Women have it and we’re publicly shamed for it. What changes when the genders switch? Girls grow up to resent their body hair, to be ashamed of it. Yet young boys are praised when their facial hair comes in, for it’s a sign on manhood. It’s such a taboo thing to see a female with any unaccepted body hair; even women’s shaving commercials show a woman shaving her already hairless leg. It’s ridiculous that society still has these unrealistic double standards–it’s 2016 people! Is it because hair is associated with masculinity? Or maybe it’s tied to women having to uphold this societal expectation of femininity. Whatever the case may be, this mindset continues to reinforce the concept of traditional gender roles and sexist ideals.

Everyone has body hair, yet only women are condemned for it. In 2014, Instagram banned the account of Sticks and Stones, an Australian based magazine, for posting a picture of two women with pubic hair peeking from their swimsuit. Yet there have been many Instagram posts that go on inconsequently, of males that expose their pubic hair. This double standard is not only absurd, discriminatory, and unrealistic, but it’s also extremely sexist. It’s reinforcing the traditional gender roles of femininity and beauty and encouraging these sexist ideals of what a woman should look like. Body hair is something so irrelevant and insignificant, it shouldn’t even be this huge, controversial social construct. At the end of the day, we all have to come to terms with the fact that there are literally people on this planet that care more about our armpit hair than we do.

This issue of women’s body hair needs to be put to rest. On an individual level, it’s unfair to put this extreme pressure on women to wax, shave, tweeze, and laser off their body hair. Additionally, it is wrong to publicly scrutinize women for choosing to rock the bush. And on a societal level, it is problematic to advertise things like the Venus Embrace ad that says, “You’re a woman, shave like one.” Imposing women to “shave like one” isn’t at all progressive and is downright sexist. Don’t feed into the patriarchal society that is keeping us down and forcing us to shave our legs.

Support a fellow gal pal in her choice to shave or not to shave. On the flip side, support men who choose to shave or not to shave. Respect people and their personal choice in grooming–how ridiculous does that sound–and you too can help build a more accepting, tolerable society.


Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor