Posts Tagged: body hair

Reader Request: On Body Hair

An anonymous commentor dropped this one into the suggestion box:

Wondering if you’ve ever thought about/written about body hair. I’ve noticed that, despite my inclination to be completely fine with it, I’ve changed what I will/won’t wear in the summer to hide the fact that I don’t shave my armpits. Last year, I bought several short sleeved sweater/shrugs to wear over sleeveless dresses even though I usually internally bemoaned the fact that we’re an anti-hair society. Also, I go back and forth about leg shaving and if I’m supposed to hide it or own it. read more

Originally posted 2011-06-21 06:20:58.

Reader Request: Bodies and Decency

Reader Leah sent me this question via email:

Views on body hair seem to me like part of a larger trend of regarding certain secondary sexual characteristics of women as obscene or inappropriate. Here are several examples:

“Bikini area” – The top 6″ of my inner thighs grow pubic hair rather than leg hair. I don’t think I’m allowed to wear a bathing suit that shows this hair. Showing leg hair might be seen as icky or unconventional, but I’d be concerned about being reported for indecent exposure if I showed pubic hair. I’ve never seen a woman wearing a bathing suit that showed this type of hair in this location. (Incidentally, shaving gives me terrible ingrown hairs, so I eventually started wearing board shorts when I swim. I’m quite satisfied with that solution, but it makes me “weird” and people ask why I don’t wear a standard bathing suit.) read more

My Thoughts About and Experiences with Laser Hair Removal

I’ve written about my body hair challenges quite a bit, and they’ve been some of my most popular posts. First, I talked about body hair removal, feminism, and body image. Based on your feedback, I wrote about my own body hair removal strategies and practices. And then later revisited the topic when I chose to have my bikini line lasered. Body hair is an incredibly personal but also unavoidably political topic, since its presence is natural and its removal is tied to socially reinforced beauty ideals. But even though I know many disagree with me, I don’t believe anyone who chooses to shave or otherwise remove her body hair is a “bad feminist” or a pawn for the patriarchy. I respect those who shun hair removal, but also know plenty of women who have dedicated their lives to the battle for equal rights, respect, and pay for women and also choose to shave or wax or pay for laser hair treatments. If the argument is that feminist bodies should be loved exactly as they are naturally and left entirely alone, other related hypocrisies include deodorant, haircuts, bras, cosmetics, belts, shoes that aren’t 100% flat, and absolutely any article of clothing that alters the appearance of a body. Everything we do to change how our bodies look, feel, and smell is a nod to societal norms. And I’m willing to nod occasionally. read more