super sleek: poisoning myself for the sake of my femininity
Every month, your ovaries produce a cyst. Mine produce a lot of them and with it a bit more testosterone seeps into my system than it would in yours. No, I do not have super-womanly strength or the physique of a body builder. Rather, my polycystic ovaries make me more susceptible to terminal hair growth than the average woman.
Whilst I am not yet a yeti, I have encountered a number of sandy brown hairs that cause me to panic on occasion. My heart skips a beat and my throat swells to see sparse curls sluggishly trailing up my abdomen. Slowly, my mind distorts to believe my clitoris will grow and my ovaries will drop to hang between my thighs.
Women are shaving, waxing and lasering virtually every square inch of their body to appease men. Gone is the leg and armpit hair, and perhaps by the next generation’s pubescence pubic hair will be extinct. With such normal places as the forearms and face becoming follicle-free for the sake of looking super sleek a la Kim Kardashian, my snail trail is not welcome in the land of idealised womanhood.
Power to those who don’t practice hair removal, but seeing my Italian father in a Speedo has further developed my mantra ‘hair is manly, hair is bad’. I need it gone. But I don’t want to use typical methods of hair removal in case it grows back thicker and darker. I consulted my GP about my perceived problem, the internet rendering me unable to differentiate between severe hirsutism and a little extra hair.
‘The hair growth has extended a bit more than what we’d consider normal’, she said, indicating above my navel and under my arms. ‘But it’s very minimal and not dark – you could just ignore it.’
Very minimal, but it exists. Almost unnoticeable and situated in locations I can hide, but it exists to mock my second X chromosome. The thought of it spreading, plaguing the rest of my body disturbed me so much I begged my GP to fix me – that’s right, fix me.
I am poisoning myself to kill maybe two dozen stray hairs on the whole of my body to fit an increasingly high standard of “feminine”. For months I have taken birth control with an added chemical to trim back the growth. Cyproterone acetate, which blocks male hormones in the body, is the champion of transgender women. But in such a small dose it has done little for me.
Cyproterone can cause liver toxicity, osteoporosis, and combined with the pill it makes one more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis. One side effect I have already encountered is the decrease of my formerly raging libido.
The recent move by French authorities to banish my pill, Estelle-35, and her many sisters is no cure to my image sickness. Apparently the impending blood clots of doom were the final straw for the French. In response to the Hexagon’s move, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration has released a warning to those taking contraceptive pills with cyproterone to consult with their GPs. But fortunately for me, it is still legal. I can still poison myself to my heart’s content because of my susceptibility to communal attitudes that hair is unfeminine.
This is an issue of beauty and one of identification. It is not because I want to look 100% Kardashian-grade smooth, but because I want to be seen as womanly that I down my chemicals every morning. The scars of my father taking me to the pool combined with the thought that I’ll be mistaken as male in my own swimmers make me sick beyond the pursuit of sex appeal. I know there is something wrong with me, but the true ill lies with our society.