Originally published: 03.09.14
Am I a bad feminist? For over a decade now I have been battling body hair with razors, creams, wax, tweezers, epilators and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments. Of course, hairy legs and armpits are the ultimate cliché of the 70’s feminist, a stereotype that still hangs around. The image works quite well for people who oppose or misunderstand the concept of feminism. It’s repulsive, or ‘unwomanly’, some would say. (An interesting argument, given that most women do have body hair naturally). So are my half-hearted efforts at body hair removal offensive to the Sisterhood?
It’s not like I haven’t thought it through. From a personal viewpoint, it’s time-consuming, expensive and, depending on the method used, painful. Equally, from a feminist perspective, it is sapping me of productive use of time and disposable income that a man would take for granted. I don’t want to think about how much I’ve spent on the thankless task of dissolving, ripping out from the roots, plucking and bleaching, only for the forest to spring up again overnight.
Now, I don’t want to distract you with a discussion on pornography here. I don’t personally object to it per se. I do, however, have some specific issues with its development on the internet over the last decade. One of these is that regular women are now expected to perform a porn star-level of personal grooming. The really annoying thing about this, aside from the associated crazy pain and expense, is that nobody even asked us if this was okay. As Caitlin Moran puts it: ‘It is now accepted that women will wax. We never had a debate about it.’ She makes a very good argument when she writes ‘I can’t believe we’ve got to a point where it’s basically costing us money to have a fanny… This is the money we should be spending on THE ELECTRICITY BILL’. It really is quite ludicrous.
Read more TAKING ON THE ULTIMATE CLICHÉ OF THE HAIRY FEMINIST by @thewritinghalf