I just saw a headline about a student who decided to stop shaving and waxing her body hair to rebel against the social pressures she felt were inflicted on her to divest herself of her natural coat of body hair. And she's correct. There is pressure on women to a ludicrous level to make sure that they are groomed within an inch of their lives. But also, and I don't know if this means I'm a shit feminist, ewww.
There's a picture with the article and she's sitting there - extremely groomed in all other ways I might add, makeup, shaped eyebrows, blow dried and dyed hair, pretty dress - with her arms up and there is a veritable forest of hair sprouting from under her arms. I mean she's got more there that most boyfriends I've had. I'm sure she's making some kind of valid point but I can't help thinking that to carry her argument to its natural conclusion she would also be letting her moustache grow wild and free, and not wearing make up or doing anything articifical to her hair? I dunno. Maybe she likes hair. But I have been thinking about the pressures on women to conform to norms of attractiveness that do seem to have been set by men.
I'm pretty lazy on the grooming front. I don't wash my hair every day; I don't straighten or curl my hair; I don't wear makeup every day and I never wear foundation or fake tan, partly because I can't be arsed and partly cos I like my natural colour. I find that goth pale works for me. I do cover the shadows under my eyes lest they scare people into thinking I have a problem with some kind of class A substance. And I do shave my armpits every time I shower. I don't, however, shave my legs very often (I don't need to - one of the few blessings my genes threw in there for me is a naturally relatively hair free body. I felt I needed to say that in case anyone thought that I was just going around like a German lady I saw when I was 7. She had long, curly dark hairs on her legs that you could see through her tights. Even at my tender age I knew that ladies didn't do that at home. My mum's legs were always glisteningly perfect - she had amazing legs in her prime. It's a source of great sadness that I inherited my dad's sturdy efforts. I mean it'd be great if I had an interest in playing football but I mostly just want to look nice in high heels.)
My point, and there is one, is that even for someone as lazy on the grooming front as me, it would seem incredibly weird not to shave my armpits. I hate the feel of any kind of stubble there, it makes me feel icky. It's too masculine. And it's dirty. Surely, it's dirty?
Is this social conformity or is it just because I don't like it? I was once half bullied into getting Brazilian waxes every month by an ex-boyfriend. He practically fell about laughing at the fact that I only sort of shaved the edges a bit. He couldn't believe I didn't wax it all off. So I trundled down to the beauty place where they made me wear paper knickers and then I had to get on all fours while a scary Thai lady ripped the hair out of me. The after effect is neat, I suppose. And clean. But there is something odd about getting rid of one's pubic hair because it's somehow considered sexier to have none. More importantly, perhaps, it cost me £40 a month for the privilege. As soon as that awful relationship had shuffled off this mortal coil I went back to au naturelle and bought more shoes. In retrospect I don't think he was anyone I should have listened to. He once told me that the reason he cheated on me was : "You don't dress like the girls I normally go out with. Sometimes you wear hoodies." Yes, really. What a cocklord.
But if I was entertaining a gentleman in a bedtime manner I wouldn't feel comfortable with hairy legs (although this has happened plenty of times, I've just pretended it hasn't) and I always have a flash of concern that maybe he won't like a non-waxed lady part. Can't say it seems to have bothered anyone so far. Apart from aforementioned cocklord. And besides, it's pretty much a moot poing these days. Am thinking of becoming a nun. I mean, I don't believe in god, but they feed you regularly and leave you alone most of the time don't they? And I bet god doesn't give a shit if I've got hairy legs.