For the past year I have been growing my body hair; learning how to love and respect it rather than dismiss and despise it.
The experience of being a woman with dark hair in places to be expected and then some, has been the pubescent insecurity that followed me into adulthood. The hairs which persistently grow from my chin down to my neck, across my chest, my cheeks, my upper and lower arms, the bottom half of my back and expanding warmly over both buttocks has held me back from going on trips to the swimming pool, climbing in and out of bed with people and resulted in a generally damaging effect on my confidence as a woman. The options seemed to be that I either invested a monthly sum into waxing, bleaching and controlling the growth or I could save up my money to afford laser hair removal. Around 18 months ago, mid money-saving moment, I changed my mind. I decided that instead of wishing to get rid of all my hair and never have to worry about it again, I could keep my hair and learn to like it.
Why did that decision feel like such a big deal? I could ask this question to the many advertisement companies selling hair removal products. I could ask the women who brought me up, placed razors in my hand aged 10 and insisted I keep my body “in check” on a daily basis. I could point a finger or two at male figures who teased, provoked and pestered me into feeling bad because, shock horror, I had pubes.
I will continue to love my ever-growing beard and natural nipple hair tassels as a way of celebrating my femininity
But instead of moan, I’d rather be celebrating my new and improved hairy uniform. For I am the proud owner of 4cm long thigh hairs that aren’t dissimilar to my thicker woven carpet of pubes. I have around 35 nipple hairs that are long enough to plait into a wreath and my beard is becoming thicker, fuller and shapelier. By finally giving up the waxing, throwing the tweezers away and conveniently losing my epilator, I have forced myself to let this body of mine be in its natural state, the way it was born to be.
And you know what? I feel good.
I have fought my fear of what my mother will think, I have worn a bikini in front of my most maintained and manicured friends and I have had sex, doggy style, with ass hairs all aglow. The compliments I have received, even when delivered with a hint of nervous surprise, have outweighed any negative reactions, and I’m allowing myself to realise that the more we accept ourselves as we are, the easier it is for others to do so too. I believe I’m suggesting that we can live in this world as hairy women and love it.
Reminding myself that my former insecurities were born from the encouragement to treat my body harshly, to make it look a certain way to fit in with social expectations, has helped me say “screw that” loudly and proudly. I will continue to love my ever-growing beard and natural nipple hair tassels as a way of celebrating my femininity, instead of torturing it, encouraging others to do so along the way.
A Story Written by Bethany Burgoyne