When my now grown up son was a little boy, I remember reading a book about animals to him, and it explained how, way back when lions were emerging as a species, male lions grew manes as these made them look bigger and more powerful.
There is an ad on TV at the moment that is promoting a hair removal product. It zooms in on the crotches of two girls who look about twelve years old. (At what point in our development as a society did we become okay with this?) I for one felt extremely uncomfortable as I watched with my teenaged daughter and son. My girlie and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes, and I thought I had to say something, so I offered a feeble, “real women don’t look like that” to my son.
At the beach recently, my darling husband, noticing that a certain area of my body was overspilling, commented that some grooming was needed. I know his heart so I didn’t feel offended, and just said that I didn’t really care, why should I be itchy and uncomfortable for the sake of others, and, turning to look at him standing there in all his hairy male glory (which I adore), said, “God forbid that I might look like … that!”
Being the over thinker that I am, I then spent the rest of the day worrying that in my efforts to enlighten the males in my life about how hurtful and burdensome some of the expectations put on women are, I just sound like a dreaded feminazi (see aside), and anything I say is therefore immediately disregarded as ridiculous.
Aside: The reason I try to avoid disparaging labels – they immediately turn the person from a thinking, feeling human into an ‘other’ that you can then ignore or hurl abuse at without shame, and then of course point out the worst examples from the labelled group – who always get the most press – and use them to justify your refusal to listen to the reasonable arguments the majority are putting forward. Why let the media, or those with another agenda, influence you? THINK FOR YOURSELF!
I have no problem being identified as a feminist and am sad that this word is so misunderstood nowadays.
But anyway, back to body hair. To my straightforward thinking man, it is simply fashion and if you choose to go against it you will be considered weird. I sometimes wish I could see things the way he does, it would be easier.
However, my brain works differently, and I resent the time, money, anxiety, discomfort, and insinuation that my natural self is disgusting. Not to mention the slightly creepy feeling that a female in her prepubescent state is the preferred look (with boobs stuck on, of course).
Don’t worry, I ‘take care’ of the bits that are on show on a regular basis. But aren’t we all glad that amongst the farms, cities, and industrial zones, we have patches of wilderness?