The Taboo: Body Hair

All genders hate body hair on women; the female body should be infantalised. Female body hair, should we want to be standard, must be removed at the least. It is awfully strange considering the labour of energy women execute on the hair on their head, that we rid that found anywhere else – there must be reason. Why, we come to question, does the hair on any other part of our body make for any difference?

Adolescence brings about a diverse array of exceptional insecurities for girls regarding our bodies and their space. Years of internalised misogyny only produces a girls hate girls culture that sees us simply fulfill that of which we have been involuntarily socialised into, and then begin to assemble these beliefs into the minds of others. Misogyny, in essence, functions as a sub-component of patriarchy, that continues to subordinate women, describing their existence as no more than Otherness. Womens’ access to professional and worthy position inherits difficulty and social limitation regarding how they are, in such occupancy, deviating from standard established tradition. As we grow, girls undoubtedly believe these myths regarding gender – influenced heavily by the postmodern media industry, our bodies are culturally sanctioned for ever-so slight deviation from expectation, eventually leading to an epidemic of eating disorders and fierce attempt to fulfill unattainable images of perfection. Body hair is just one way women’s bodies are controlled.

As far as can possibly go, patriarchy slowly ignites looming myths and falsifications regarding the female body. Body hair is gross, dirty, flagrant, scandalous, disgraceful, unvirtuous, defiant and utterly, a political statement often deserving of ridicule, stares and a sight for the camera lens. Without the context of global saturation of the female body, such effort to shame one body and not the other seems quite ridiculous – but, as are the very pressures that exist upon the female body. Without doubt, the way the female body holds it self and is represented is ultimately down to social conditioning. Women do not inherently hold themselves small and compact; they do not choose to be taciturn; they do not wish to succumb to the cruel combination of male hegemony and capitalism to consume the very many depilatories that offer to make bodies perfect, but can never succeed. The removal of body hair is one mere way the female body is controlled and manipulated; this is proven in the very reaction you are certainly subject to, should you abstain from shaving and simply allow the hair that is meant to be there, remain.

Most of all, however, much of the conversation on body hair is now in the arena of choice; this means, girls admit to shaving because of choice. Choice, choice, choice. It is ironic because should choice really be an effective option to all genders equally, we would see just as many men shaving for some of the reasons women admit to. Take the very fact that women, generally, shave leg and armpit much more frequently than pubic hair, which flaws the ‘choice’ option to me. In reality, shaving is committed as a standard act to ensure normality – to make sure you are seen as regular and ordinary and conventional and usual because we, as women, are taught not to be too obscene, not to be immoral or loud. The act of shaving therefore becomes a necessary habitual and quotidian task, with no more thought needed as to why we do it in the first place. Do not get me wrong, choice is the paramount to feminist movements over time and across cultures; but choice is not choice if it never came freely, and external to restriction and limitation. It is between shaving and achieving a sense of normality, or abstaining and committing a cruelly political act of which you may well be the subject of conversation, and the leading light of comical images.

Evidently, the taboo that is body hair will exist as long as patriarchy decides it is best for the maintenance of female subordination. When new satisfactions induce men, their libido will direct the cause-and-effect onto women’s bodies. Providing we combine female efforts to overturn the patriarchal, social conditioning of our time, we will soon see the sanitized, hairless commodity as more of a human, than that of a monopolised devise.

Now, I suggest you watch Emer O’Toole on This Morning.



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