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There are several things that we can all agree are disgusting about the human body: snot, dandruff, urine, faeces, and body hair on a woman?
There’s something unsettling about seeing a woman with hair in non-preordained places, something perturbing that kicks at the back of the throat and brings the gag reflexes into play. Hair is for men and the head of a woman. Period. Indeed, those of us that know the true pains of that particular word (womankind, the 52%), will know that hair-removal (henceforth known as ‘deforestation) is no easy feat. Hair sprouts, and you can cut it down but it will be back with a vengeance. This is no small battle, women and body hair are waging war, a full-on gruesome, strategic, bloody war, and unlike our monthly bloody war, we undertake it optionally and continually.
Then one day you might sit down and ask yourself ‘why?’ Why do I have to wage war with my body? Why do I find these natural tufts so alarming and revolting? Who am I shaving for? ‘For myself!’ I hear you cry? Maybe. But if you’d been brought up in some far distant civilisation where the issue of body-hair had never been raised you would never have even contemplated removing it. Female-deforestation is clearly a social norm, not something that we all individually dreamt up and perceived to be beautiful, but it is something we have learnt to appreciate, like an Apple mac, or high-top trainers.
When I first decided to let my hair grow last year because I could not remember what I removed it for, I did not think I would be confronted by such a public reaction. No-one had ever judged my body like that before. No-one had ever told me to cut my hair because the split-ends were making them want to vomit, or that I should probably lose/gain some weight because the political point I was making with my size was attention seeking, or that the colour of my eyes was radically unfashionable. Indeed, I did not know my body was a public exhibition.
My body isn’t for the public, it’s for me. Ultimately, I’m not a product. I’m not for sale. I’ve got no barcode on the bottom of my foot and you won’t find in small script at the small of my back ‘we’re sure that you’ll be happy with the quality of this product but in the rare instance that you are dissatisfied then please contact us’. My body is not for sale, it didn’t roll off of a production line, so ultimately why should it matter to you if I’m not the same as the other bodies? If you order a pink applique cushion and it comes in blue then complain away. If you find a worm in your lettuce packaging then please feel free to be outraged. But please don’t be outraged at my own decisions of what I’d like to do with my body.
But that’s just it. The sad reality is that women are products. Hair-removal isn’t viewed as a personal choice, it is a personal choice between being viewed as a fully-functioning model (normal) or as a faulty one (a hairy weirdo). There must be some deeper forces at work. This stinks of sexism. Men aren’t craning their necks in the shower to shave the backs of their legs and running their hand admiringly up their ‘smooth, silky’ thighs (‘hairless‘ in layman’s terms). I chose to not deforest my female rainforest. Yet female deforestation is not a personal choice, it is not a fashion. It is a ‘beauty routine’, AKA ‘I am ugly’. It is ‘taking care of oneself’, AKA I am feckless and incapable. It is being ‘sexy’ AKA ‘No-one will want to bed me as I am not attractive to other human beings’. It is ‘feminine’ AKA ‘I am a man?’
Well, I have body hair, it grows without my explicit consent, I don’t remember signing any forms, and I still consider myself feminine. In fact, I have a vagina and ovaries and a womb and breasts; pretty much the full collection. These are quite ‘feminine’ appendages I believe. Ultimately, women have to be hairless because this is the product description. Women are objectified. Women are the gender of sex, of attraction, of appeal and of allure and of seduction. We don’t see adverts of men grinding on white beaches in tight white pants with a burger hanging provocatively from their lips. Men aren’t products.
Let’s take our bodies off the market! It’s high time we women threw down our weapons, called for peace and ended the eternal battle against hair. Make tufts not war! Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no way suggesting we should just stop female-deforestation. Simply, that I do not believe that it is possible that 100% of the British female public independently decided that hairlessness is the fashion trend that expresses their individual and personal preference. After all, if every single woman wore their hair in a bob and sported red court shoes we would be nothing more than drones. Mindless, indoctrinated, socially-conditioned drones.
So wake up and smell the coco, or that putrid smell of sexism. Wind back the ball of weave to find the loose end. Did you only really buy Pokémon cards because all the other kids had them, although you secretly realised it was a highly successful market-ploy to exchange paper with pictures of creatures on for papers with pictures of the queen on? We’re not immune to social pressures, but it’s important to recognise them. We will have an awful long time to think inside the box when we are six feett under the ground. So I beseech you, if you love deforestation for the right reasons, then go ahead. Pluck every hair-molecule red raw and marvel at your body-baldness. Just be sure that no social pressure or conditioning is stomping on your individuality and freedom over your body and accept that other people’s bodies may not perfectly configure with yours, and that’s OK too.