I was 12 years old when my friends back in Colombia started talking about waxing.
We’ve all heard the stories: allergic reactions, burning of the skin, and pain that kills. I was terrified. But when I went to my mom and told her that all my friends were waxing, she replied, “Let me teach you how to use a razor.” Luckily, my mom didn’t impose waxing on me, but I would eventually try it once I turned 15.
Not going to lie, it was a little scary at first, and it was very painful, but the aftermath felt rewarding. Not only did the wax leave my skin feeling smooth, but it was nice to know that I didn’t have to worry about my hair growing back for the next three weeks.
My experience with waxing was going smoothly while I still lived in Colombia: my skin was reacting perfectly to the hypoallergenic wax, my esthetician was professionally trained, and I wasn’t paying a lot for this five-star service. But everything changed once I moved to the US for college.
[bctt tweet=”We’ve all heard the stories: allergic reactions, burning of the skin, and pain that kills. ” username=”wearethetempest”]
Let’s face it, getting anything beauty-related done in the States is incredibly expensive (at least compared to what I was used to back home). I eventually learned how to do my own waxing but still resorted to venues with questionable hygiene and overpriced spas when I was tired of making the extra effort.
No matter how much I was paying, however, no service was as good as it was back home. I occasionally got burnt with wax because the esthetician was in a rush, got rashes from low quality wax, and (perhaps the worst one) they sometimes didn’t do a good job and left some hairs behind.
Anyhow, my experience with waxing was about to change after a summer in Colombia. I don’t know how it came up into the conversation but my friends started talking about Brazilian waxing. This meant that now the level of pain had stepped up to another level; it was no longer enough to get the traditional bikini wax, it was now “in style” to wax everything down there.
[bctt tweet=” I occasionally got burnt with wax.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Since I’ve always been a curious person, I decided to try it while I was still back home, and to be honest, it wasn’t as bad. So I kept getting a Brazilian when I went back to Boston. Everything was fine for nearly a year, until I had one bad experience at one of those spas with “questionable hygienic practices.” It was honestly horrible. Ho-rri-ble. Not only did they burn my skin, but I got a mild allergic reaction to the wax.
It wasn’t until that moment that I asked myself, “Why am I even doing this?” I don’t know why I hadn’t raised that question to myself before, but that horrible experience got me thinking, why do women have to go through all this pain? It didn’t make sense at all.
Unfortunately, it’s something that society expects from women, and whoever doesn’t adhere to this norm, becomes a weirdo. It makes me remember how my friends back home refer to those women (those who don’t shave or wax) with disdain, with disgust. Why is it so ingrained in our culture that women have to be hair-free in order to be “proper” women?
[bctt tweet=”It was honestly horrible. Ho-rri-ble. ” username=”wearethetempest”]
The fact that men don’t have to remove the entirety of their body hair and we do, instantly draws the connection between body hair and masculinity, and the lack there of with femininity. If this is so, however, why is it so terrible for a woman to exhibit “masculine” qualities? If hair is supposed to be “masculine,” why can’t women be it as well?
I reflect upon all of these questions as I look at my online banking and try to explain to myself why I’ve spent so much money on a procedure that’s so painful. But putting this aspect aside, I still don’t understand why we even have to remove our body hair in the first place, be it painful or pain-free. After all, men don’t have to worry about it, so why should we? It might be a matter of personal preference, but it doesn’t change the fact that demanding a woman to be bare is expecting her to make an extra effort to fulfill a man’s ideal of what a “proper” woman should look like.
[bctt tweet=”After all, men don’t have to worry about it, so why should we? ” username=”wearethetempest”]
From this moment on, I’ve decided to stop being horrified whenever I see a woman’s armpit hair, and to stop making so many sacrifices to accomplish what society expects me to be.