Body Hair

It’s a great debate, of sorts, and one that makes for interesting bar talk. Sitting there, considering the implications of unshorn armpit and leg hair in the age of neatly preened, high gloss Photoshop images of hairless models lying around languidly in bikinis. The double standard for men and women is keenly noted, seeing as men are allowed to walk around looking like hairy beasts throughout their lives (unless, of course, they’re gay men in Miami, or that’s what I was told). Women, however – we’re expected to shave our entire bodies from the eyelashes down. While some of my friends have taken on the body hair debate (and this doesn’t even include the pubic region) as a feminist cause, refusing to shave their legs and armpits, I, as a feminist who shaves her legs and armpits, feel a bit stuck in between. While I understand that it’s “our bodies, our choices,” there’s still this part of me that has been conditioned to obey the American Media Standards of Attractiveness as enforced by television ads and my innate desire to want to be desired by another human being. It’s a natural instinct, really, and while I realize that just because I don’t feel oppressed doesn’t mean that I’m not actually oppressed, as an ethnic woman with coarser, darker body hair, there’s something a bit comforting, a bit pampering about shaving and/or waxing (as the case may be). Sure, there’s also that part where several of my male friends have rather vociferously and rather consistently expressed their disdain – nay, disgust for women who don’t shave their armpits, but I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I don’t really have a philosophical crusade quite as lofty as feminism with which to justify my need to remove my body hair. Really, I’m just reveling in the fairly shallow argument that I’m still willing to spend an extra twenty minutes a week shaving my legs and armpits if it marginally increases my sexual attractiveness to the opposite sex. Shallow as that may be, I respect my feminist counterparts who refuse to shave, and, also, it’s worth noting that they still get laid all the time by really attractive men, so maybe my argument that it makes me more attractive is null and void. Therefore, maybe I’m just doing it out of force of habit, as has been impressed upon me by American culture, and, at the end of the day, the misperceived boost in attractiveness is just a boon to my sexual self confidence. If that’s the case, so be it. I like feeling self confident.

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