I am going to make a radical statement. Sit down, lie down, buckle up and check your emergency exits. Here goes… are you ready? People have hair.
It’s a revolutionary concept. Next I’ll be telling you that rain is wet and the Earth is not flat. Women also have hair because women are people. Let that sink in. Tiny follicles rooted on our skin, catching the light and travelling across our bodies, darkening like a curfew on more vulnerable areas; starting from our heads, arching over eyebrows, rolling along our armpits, towards regions confined in cotton underpants.
There is nothing foreign or strange about body hair. Quite the opposite: it is natural and, evolutionarily speaking, an indispensable survival trait. That’s why we haven’t lost the genetic information telling us we need hair. Some people find it more hygienic or aesthetically pleasing to manage this hair. Others recoil at the thought of plucking even a single eyebrow hair. Wherever you sit on the scale of one to Rapunzel, you should expect to be accepted for the choices you make concerning your own body.
Perhaps people do things you find positively grotesque but, with this judgement, you must understand how subjective the terms are; shaving hair is not an exclusively female standard either – or am I just imagining that not every man I see sports a fine beard upon his chin?
If you want to shave, that’s fine. If you don’t want to shave, that’s also fine. Letting hair grow out can be one of the more liberating experiences vis-à-vis appearance: keep your razor in hibernation and realise that no one cares as much as you do about your hair. Despite my highlights and groomed brows, I am able to let my armpit hair reach the length of European athletes seen on the first televised Olympics and wear a skirt when my legs are more bear than bare. I take pride in my appearance, which isn’t a notion reserved for females, but the length of my hair in no way proportional to my attractiveness, confidence or political preference.
Grow out your hair or don’t grow out your hair, but never make someone feel lesser than anyone else because they are in control of their own body. It should not threaten you. People have hair! Understanding this is a revelation that shouldn’t be off-limits for men or women, teenager or pensioner, European or South Asian. Leave the removing and the restrictions to the razor.
By Claire Sosienski Smith ; @claireyes19
Illustration by Ines.