Sunday, January 17, 2016

A hairy issue

Reading this really resonated with me (warning: NSFW doodles). I have an uneasy relationship with body hair, too. I had my underarm hair lasered so I wouldn't need to spend mental energy thinking about it or worrying about it. I was getting my upper lip lasered too, but kept breaking appointments with the beauty centre because I couldn't get there in time after work. I only remove my leg hair for special occasions, like when I have to stand in front of a crowd of strangers and lead a workshop.

I have had friends, colleagues, and acquaintances tell me I should do something about my leg hair.

They are invariably female.

We swallow society's ideas of what is or is not beautiful, and then we internalise these ideas to the point that not only is body hair not beautiful, it is unacceptable.

It is unacceptable for a woman to have leg hair. Imagine that.

I am unfortunately blessed with a bit more hair than most, perhaps a side effect of applying steroid creams to control my eczema. When I was in university, and complained to my dad, he went into Doctor Mode and sent a sample of my blood to be tested for hormones that affect hirsutism. Everything came back normal.

For the most part, I forget about my leg hair, but when someone mentions it, I am reminded of it. People say this in such a helpful way. They sound so reasonable. They just want me to make the most of myself. Because leg hair is so damning and has the power to suck all a woman's attractiveness away. Yes.

The last time I waxed my legs I ended up with some kind of reaction -- I always assume it is eczema because I am used to the itch which accompanies eczema flare-ups, but my dad took a look at the photos and said it looked like folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles), which made sense, too. I ended up going to bed with a calf slathered in medication, wrapped in cling-wrap to prevent me from further damaging the skin by scratching it. Seriously, all that to have socially-acceptable legs?

I need to come to terms with my hairy legs, as that author says, and love them, and stop thinking they are ugly. Stop allowing others to influence me into thinking that they're ugly. Of all the things that we could be worried about when it comes to hygiene and grooming, we're focused on hairy legs?!!

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