Body Hair. Lets discuss.

Body hair. You might think it’s a matter of personal taste. But really it’s not. It’s not. I’d like to know when it became the case that if a woman doesn’t remove her body hair she becomes an object of revulsion for Joe Public.

Since when and why? Why should we be compelled to remove our body hair? Quite frankly its a pain in the arse.

So what do I do?  I epilate my legs, but prior to the last year I have always shaved  them, and in winter I might have let it slip a bit from time to time (I don’t let it slide now I epilate because starting from scratch is far too painful). Armpits, I’d never ever dream of letting that grow. Other areas? Well, if I can be be bothered I do, but generally speaking I make an effort to keep tidy, particularly if I’m going swimming, but I’m never ever going to be a brazillian kind of a girl.

But you know what, all these things I do, I don’t do them because I dislike body hair. In truth it doesn’t bother me. But what does bother me is the thought of being seen in public with any kind of body hair. I realised how much of a problem this was when I was thinking about my outfit for a forthcoming Christmas party and pondering removing the tiny blonde hairs from my toes so people don’t call me a hobbit.

I’ve known people shave their arms (who weren’t excessively hairy), and god knows what else. It’s just awful that we feel we have to remove our hair in order to be socially accepted.

Who can forget Julia Roberts looking beautiful…but all anyone spoke about was her armpits?

A pretty grim state of affairs, and I don’t mean the armpits.

Obviously there are people who find body hair revolting, which is fine if that’s their personal preference, they are of course entitled to feel that way, but in my experience it’s quite often it’s those same people who loudly complain if anyone does have body hair. My immediate reaction upon seeing a lady with any kind of body hair is “ewww”…but on reflection, I’m not revolted at all, it’s social conditioning at its finest.

There seems to be some kind of myth that body hair is a dirty thing. In fact it’s quite the opposite, our body hair serves several purposes, protecting against friction, cold and germs.

So I’ll continue to remove mine when I can be bothered, and I’ll continue to keep myself neat and tidy and I’ll continue to keep myself hair free when getting my legs out in public or wearing something that exposes my armpits…but just so you know, it’s not because I find it revolting, it’s because I don’t want to be ridiculed.

And just so you know, if you choose not to shave your legs or shave your armpits, I’m going to make a massive effort not to have an involuntary shudder because I’m not actually revolted by you, I’m socially programmed to find it revolting and from now on I’m going to fight that.

I am so glad I’m not single these days, because whilst it was always the done thing to keep your bikini line tidy I’m not sure I could brave having sex for the first time when I get the impression that the norm these days is absolutely no public hair. And its out of my comfort levels to get on all fours for a beautician.

And what of my daughters? We all know what teenage peer pressure can be like…and things are so much harder than they used to be. It’s not okay to be pale, it’s not okay to have body hair, it’s always been a source of torment for teens that they might not have big enough boobs, it’s just all too much and its all too much too young.

I’m not in any way saying we should all just go mad and let all our body hair grow wild, but I’d like to see a shift in trends to be more accepting, so all women have a choice to do what they like without fear of ridicule.

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  1. I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH. I am EXACTLY the same as you – particularly with the down there hair thing. Sure I keep it neat and tidy because a rainforest can’t be enjoyable for anyone, but I have never ever seen the appeal in total baldness… it looks like a little girl’s bits. Gonna get a bit personal now – my first ‘proper’ boyfriend when I was 15 used to make me shave and I HATED it. Before the first time I slept with Colin I had to tell him beforehand that I had hair, and I understood if he didn’t want to blah blah blah but he didn’t care one bit and thinks the same as me that if it’s bald it looks like a little girl. I just don’t get it.

    • Thanks Leanne. Sounds we are lucky to have our menfolk and your first proper boyfriend is what scares me to death about my kids in the future :( xx

    • Crikey, i wonder what happened to him? The nutter! I did have to tell one male friend that being completely hair-free down there isnt the norm, he genuinely didn’t know. Which was funny at the time, but really questions where they see all this misleading crap! (cough porn cough).

    • I read quite a long time ago that boys are growing up now with no idea what is normal because of porn, hair wise (but not just hair wise!). I must confess I shied away from going down the porn route with this post because that’d be a whole post in itself!

  2. Love love love this post. I remove body hair as well just to become accepted. I curse the first person who started to make it trendy and obligatory for women to remove hair. I really do. Why can men let it all hang out and why can’t we have hairy pits. To be frank, and this is because i live on my own, I only ‘maintain’ underarms when I am wearing either very short sleeves or sleeveless. Legs I couldn’t care less and bikini gets done when i know … erm, that it’s going to get exposure. I was lucky that in the past my boyfriends used to be ok with not so perfect legs but on hindsight, maybe that’s one of the reasons why they cheated on me. I don’t know. I like to use my Frenchness to try to account for the fact that I am ok with body hair.
    I have been epilating my legs for years, and this helped the actual hair which grows back: thinner and less of it but it took 10 years to get to that stage. xx

    • Thanks for commenting Liloo, I just knew I couldnt’ be the only person out there that feels this way! xx

    • Your leg hair just DOESN’T come into why they cheated on you. It was because they were scum, and had NOTHING to do with whether or not you have perfectly smooth legs all the time.

  3. I absolutely agree with you. It’s all about society and what it makes us think and say. Body hair is not bad and for me it is extremely painful to wax. But i do wax. Just because that’s what we’re “have to” do.

  4. Wow, Charlie. Thanks for this post. I was just thinking about this when my oldest daughter asked me why women use razors (a friend who works in marketing gave me a big lot of them). I struggled to give her the “right” answer since I’m not trying to teach her social conditioning. I tried to tell her each woman has preferences for cutting hair and this was just one other thing to use. What IS the right answer anyway?

    • I think I’d just say some people don’t like hair on their legs so they remove it but say also that plenty of people don’t mind it so they don’t bother! But I don’t suppose really is there is a right answer. xx

  5. Beauty Daze says:

    Love this Charli!!
    I feel similar to you on body hair, I shave my legs, pits and lady but more because I I should then because I truly want to. I’m am a lazy girl so I tend to shave quite irregularly. I wish I was brave enough to just.not bother.

    Steph xx

  6. Great post. Luckily my husband isn’t at all fussed if I don’t shave my legs for two months (which can happen in winter). I shave my pits when I remember (every couple of weeks) and my lady garden gets trimmed when it starts to annoy me. I’m dark haired and have a bit of a tache, and I also have peach fuzz on my jawline, so I wax. Hair removal is a pain in the arse and there are things I’d really rather be doing instead. I spend hours stopping my brows join in the middle. It’s just…ugh.

    I’m glad my hubby is laid back about it, because if a fella treats a woman like she’s a she-beast because she’s a little stubbly he has real issues, IMHO! I would worry how to raise the subject if I had kids. It’s a sad state of affairs when hairiness equals bad/ugly/unworthy. xx

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