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Let’s Talk Body Hair And Women!

"Gorilla", "Aadmi Hai Kya?", "Aye Bhalu", "Jungle on the legs"

Women also experience hair growth and that is natural.

Harmaan Kaur, Body Positivity Activist (Source: asiavoice.com)

You may have come across ridiculous memes, videos and WhatsApp forwards of men and women looking the ‘same’ post the lockdown. The word, ‘same’ here signifies how women will have body hair more in growth due to inability to access salons and parlours to ‘groom’ themselves hence, looking the ‘same’ as men. We have grown up hearing that body hair is only something that is made for a man’s body and has to be waxed off a woman’s skin. The lockdown period called for a lot of content where creators made parodies of people working in parlours and their reaction to the immense hair growth. It is rather funny to understand how we crib about hair fall and at the same time are uncomfortable with women having hair on other parts of their body.


Hair growth is natural and varies in degree from the body to body. It depends on various factors like genetics, growth hormones and medical conditions. Women with PCOD and PCOS have more hair growth than others due to the imbalance in hormones. So it is nobody’s fault for having more or less hair. The system of patriarchy has made us receptive with the idea that women with hairy legs or hands or any other part of the body with hair are ungroomed or ugly.


Advertisements and media promoting hair removal products make off money this discomfort which surrounds women. They promote ‘painless’ products which in reality are time taking and still very painful! It makes women more conscious of their bodies. They feel shame in walking out in short sleeves and hairy underarms. These advertisements also show women sexually appealing with a smooth hair-free body and the opposite as a ‘man’.


Growing up, young girls exposed to this environment feel conscious in their body covered with hair. They feel shy in their school tunics and skirts which display their legs and choose to remove hair from a very young age.


Hair removal is time taking, a financial burden and a painful process. Marginalised communities and women belonging to economically weaker sections are unable to afford this beauty procedure and hence are subjected to personal as well as societal discomfort.


The relation between beauty and hair is wrong. Women are seen as figures with smooth clear plastic-looking skin as beautiful. The human body goes through various changes over its course and hence, amidst that process beauty does not fade. It remains constant in every form.


One such woman tackling this issue with body hair is Harnaam Kaur, who stopped fighting her beard caused due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and is now using the very media and fashion industry to change perceptions.


It is wrong to reduce women to policing over body hair whereas men stay free from it. Women are not mere bodies of the society to be ridiculed over their own bodies. The body is one’s sole right and whatever they may choose to do with it unless harmful should be accepted. The stigma around body hair is born out of casual jokes which actually have developed into a whole new prejudice.

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