I think I had a plan to move this blog back into the realms of parenting but unfortunately I want to write about something non parenting that's been bothering me for a while so sorry about that!
The thing that has triggered today's rant was posted into my facebook timeline by a group I follow called Woman Against Non-Essential Grooming (WANG for short- fab!). The link in question is this one from a website called Girls Talkin Smack which seems to be one of those lovely websites where woman go in for the patriarchy big time and start bashing each other over the head with perceived short falls This post in particular was a gallery of shame of celebs who hadn't been quite so diligent in their hair removal as they should have been. Ew, it's unsanitary, etc etc.
The things I noticed in the post were that there was very little hair on show so apparently it takes only tiny amounts to be unsanitary and for many of the photos it didn't appear to be hair but natural skin discolouration (which may be caused by constantly removing hair) so not only can you have no hair but you must have no sign that hair was ever there. Great stuff.
The thing is that this view isn't limited to some crappy website half buried on the internet, it's a view that is so prevalent that even if you want to stop thinking like that it's hard to do so. The internet and magazines are peppered with the circle of shame giving us permission to point at someone showing evidence that they are human and be disgusted by it.
For years I religiously shaved my legs and armpits, despite the cycle of stubble- shave- lovely silky smooth skin- appallingly itchy skin- scratching my legs to ribbons- stubble etc etc. I decided enough was enough a few years ago when a shaving rash under my arms was made a million times worse from cycling in the summer. I know, I sweat too, grim. The pain was just horrible and for what? So I stopped, then I stopped shaving my legs. And I hated the way it looked and felt, it seemed unhygienic and looked "unsightly" however much I told myself that these views had just been pummelled into me from a young age by the society I live in. But not having to deal with all the itching and pain was such a breath of fresh air. Now I shave my legs occasionally in the summer and the armpits even less and while I couldn't really give a monkeys about the hairy legs, I have to cautiously admit I quite like the armpit hair. It looks nice and it feels liberating and to be honest is absolutely no ones business whether or not it is in existence at all. But it took so bloody long for me to get over the ew factor even though it was my own body.
I now I come to what is probably my most shameful confession, I find writing this post a little embarrassing, admitting that I am a bit hairy is embarrassing. And while I like my hairy armpits I very rarely wear clothes that expose them because I don't want it to be a thing, I don't want to be looked at and I don't want to swim against the tide and "make a point". What I want is to have hairy armpits and no one bat an eyelid, I want to see other woman with hairy armpits at places other than the anarchist bookfair (there were a lot there and it was great!). I don't want everyone to feel that they can't shave because that's not the point, a nice smooth bit of skin is also very attractive and if that is someone's choice then go for it. I just don't want to feel like a freak for my choices.
I don't need to point out the obvious thing that hair on a woman is no less hygienic than hair on a man because anyone with half a brain can work that out, it is just a shame that it is so much part of our collective psyche that we subconsciously think that.
Maybe I can turn this back into being slightly about parenting... I love the fact that my daughters don't give a crap that Mummy is hairy (one is admittedly only 8 weeks old) but I do hate the fact that one day they'll grow up and think I'm strange, that makes me very sad. I highly doubt I'll be parading the hairy pits around the school gate as there is no way I'd want them to be bullied for being the hairy lady's girls.
Some days I wish I had more courage....