By Yasmin Gasimova – Being hairy isn’t scary. In a society where women are expected to shave, I’m not ashamed to admit I don’t. I might trim my pubes if I’m going on holiday, but catch me on a normal day when my armpits are bushy and my legs furry, and you might be surprised.
As someone of Turkic origin, I don’t remember ever not having hair. In fact, as early as 10, boys were making fun of my moustache and I was trying to shave my noticeably hairy stomach. I was never not self-conscious of my hair, but now I embrace it. I stopped caring when I was 11, as having naturally thick, fast-growing hair meant I’d need to waste an hour just to get prickly dots on my legs, which would grow back in a week. It’s a huge inconvenience for me, as it never made me feel comfortable, gave me loads of ingrown hairs, and my hairless legs wouldn’t match the rest of my hairy body. So why bother?
Love your body
Witness the fitness
I admit, I tame my eyebrows so they’re always on fleek, trim my pubes for practical reasons and occasionally control my facial hair. But this takes a lot less effort, and I feel like I’m doing it for myself, instead of only doing it to avoid social suicide.
On nights out, while all my girl mates will roll up on Concert Square in their minis and hotpants, it’s far easier for me to just wear 80 denier tights and sleeved tops. If I do shave, which is very, very rare, it’s for absolute necessity. If I’m going on a beach holiday, having swimming lessons, or if I’m trying to pull a one night stand, I’ll shave. I still unfortunately prefer the inconvenience of shaving to the inevitable dirty looks and rejection.
I swear by the hairs on my chinny chin chin
I’ve had my share of negative reactions. My mum thought it made me look unkempt, my friends thought it was unhygienic, and of course an ex boyfriend didn’t think it was sexy, and even asked me to shave my stomach. But as I grew older, my peers became more accepting and understanding, and even though they would probably never make this decision themselves, they knew how ridiculously unfair it was to judge.
Nobody should be ashamed of their natural body. Thinking I need to hide it is only perpetuating society’s messed up expectations of women, and the only thing which will help is a public exposure to the reality of women’s body hair. Most of you will be shocked, of course. Many will keep thinking I am gross, but hopefully many will also question why you think this, especially if you say it would be acceptable if I had a Y chromosome.
Sexy snail trail
Most girls feel better about themselves when they’re without hair – but they’re perfectly fine rubbing against the body hair of their boyfriend. Likewise, I know men with a surplus amount of hair on their body who shudder at the idea of a hairy woman. I dream of the day I can walk around in the summer in shorts, without being conscious of people judging me. It will, however, take many of my sisters joining me and ridding the public of the shock.
If you think the au naturel look is gross, it isn’t – you only believe that because you’ve been conditioned to see it that way your entire life. If you genuinely find it more comfortable then fine, but when was the last time you tried being really bushy for a long period of time? You’re under no obligation to be sexy, and you can still be sexy and hairy at the same time. If you’re trying to pull, there ARE guys who appreciate a hairy woman. I’m speaking from experience.
I am a sexual being
Long enough to floss with
We often associate hairy women with being lazy, unclean or an extreme feminist-cat-loving-lesbian. Body hair is seen as a typically masculine feature, and we often, wrongly, measure a man’s “manliness” by his ability to grow chest and facial hair. Although women have just as much body hair, albeit generally thinner and lighter, as a society we have decided they have to be completely hairless in order to be seen as truly feminine.
But nothing about a woman’s natural body should make her feel like less of a woman. There is also nothing dirty or unclean about body hair: washing once a day will pretty much solve any hygiene issues you have with sweat build up. Besides, we shouldn’t hold women to a higher standard of cleanliness than men. This is the reality of a woman’s body, and it shouldn’t be hidden away.
Yasmin Gasimova, 19, is Computer Science and Philosophy student at Liverpool University. You can follow her on Twitter.
This article previously appeared on The Tab and is republished here with express permission.