In fourth grade, I looked at my armpit one day in the shower, and to my horror, discovered small dark hairs. My mom later handed me a razor and told me it was time to start shaving. I started plucking my eyebrows in fifth grade because another student pointed out my unibrow. I began shaving my legs in sixth grade because an older girl laughed at me for having such hairy legs.
Ever since I hit puberty, I’ve been trying to manage my body hair, and as any hairy woman, it can often be expensive, time consuming, and frustrating. I am blessed to have thick, dark hair on my head, but unfortunately, I got it everywhere else too. If you’re a woman with a lot of body hair, you’ve probably had the following experiences.
1. Looking forward to winter because you can let your leg hair grow free!
No Shave November is for women, too.
2. Then spending way too much time shaving when winter is over
It’s like cutting through the rainforest. You almost need a machete.
3. Dealing with dreaded facial hair
Is it my imagination, or do I actually have a hairy mustache?!
4. Deciding to ditch shaving and venture down the waxing road
Is smooth skin that lasts longer really worth the pain?
4. Feeling self-conscious about all your hair
I haven’t shaved anything in a week, so please look away from my armpits and legs while I wear these shorts and a tank top.
5. Realizing, with sadness, how quickly your hair grows back
I just shaved yesterday! Why am I all prickly?
6. Knowing that the expectation to shave is a patriarchal construct and feeling conflicted
Am I a bad feminist if I still wax and shave? Nobody has the right to tell me body hair isn’t acceptable, yet I feel embarrassed by it.
7. Suffering several waxing mishaps before deciding to go to a professional
Waxing is not really a DIY type of task. Too much can go wrong. Think extreme burns.
8. Dreading summertime because it means having to wax and shave much more often
It’s way too much upkeep just to avoid being judged at the beach.
9. Rolling your eyes when men don’t believe how painful waxing is
If you’ve never been waxed and try to tell me it’s not that bad, you can F yourself.
10. Feeling unbridled irritation at the amount of money you’ve dropped over the years for hair removal
Razors, shaving cream, waxing appointments, laser hair removal…you’re basically just throwing money at the patriarchy.
11. Being bullied for your excessive body hair
Both men and women can be cruel and try to completely destroy your self-esteem by making fun of your hair. Not cool.
12. Stressing when your thick eyebrows start growing back in after waxing or plucking them
It’s amazing how society teaches women that something as dumb as bushy eyebrows are undesirable and slovenly.
13. Finally having enough of society’s hair shaming
It’s perfectly normal for women to have body hair, so stop making us feel bad about it!
The hair removal dilemma is a real one; women invest extensive amounts of energy and money in waxing, shaving, laser hair removal, and threading. We do this all because our culture perpetuates this ridiculous double standard that women should be hairless but men can grow out full beards and somehow be sexy.
Interestingly enough, there seems to be a trend of women reclaiming and proudly displaying their body hair. A growing number of women refuse to be a slave to hair removal because it’s exhausting and it’s a practice that is born out of misogynist culture. Obviously, there’s no one correct way to deal with hair, so keep doing what you’re comfortable with. If you prefer to wax any part of your body because you don’t like shaving, keep waxing! Hair removal, although heavily influenced by culture, is also a very personal process.