the lip crew on body hair
‘Body hair on women isn’t unattractive to me, and I wish I was strong enough to rebel against the “standards of beauty” and leave my hair alone – my sensitive skin would definitely thank me for it! But I am ashamed to say I feel self-conscious with even a hint of stubble or a single eyebrow hair out of place. Mum managed to delay any hair removal until I was at least 14, which felt embarrassing at the time but I thank her for it now. I’m not sure exactly where the pressure to remove hair comes from – men, maybe? Women? Both? I used to date someone who asked me to leave my hair alone because he was worried about me hurting myself. He used to hide my razor. I suppose I wish everyone saw hair removal like this – unnecessary rips and cuts and chemicals and red bumps that really aren’t “beautiful” at all.’
– Ruby Mahoney, Editorial Assistant
‘Every now and then, I hear a female friend bemoan the fact that she can’t wear a skirt or dress because her legs have sprouted a terrifying forest of fur; bikinis are a no go, too, because she hasn’t waxed recently; singlets are also on the banned list because she has a single day’s growth (how embarrassing!) Even though I shave my legs and armpits, I’ve never understood the absolute panic that arises when – gasp! – hair is found in an unwanted location, and I certainly don’t bother to shave every day. I wish more women felt comfortable with showing that they have hair – and not just the hair on top of their head.’ – Alexandra Storey, Writer
‘The ideal that a female needs to be completely hairless from the waist down and under her arms is not a natural one, but rather one that has been constructed through time by society to constitute the “feminine”. This is just one of many of these types of constructs, which also includes an inherent maternal and homely instinct, as well as which sorts of clothes to wear – the list goes on. When it comes to body hair, this is just how we’ve been conditioned – it is not something that would necessarily have come naturally. Hence, there is still something of a social stigma around a female who chooses not to conform to such ideals. Ultimately, both males and females have complete agency over their own bodies, rather than feeling pressured to shave their legs, grow a beard or get a Brazilian wax because society tells them it’s how they should look.’ – Alexandra Van Schilt, Writer
‘Body hair. I have a bunch of it. It just grew there – fancy that.’ – Audrey K Hulm, Writer
‘I don’t know the exact history of the change in attitude toward body hair but I know that its existence is a source of anxiety for a lot of people. That something natural and useful suddenly became such a sensitive topic for some (I once had a serious debate with a friend about male chest hair and the impracticality of bikini waxes) is sad because honestly: it gets cold, sometimes. I often wonder, as I’m walking down the aisle at the department store looking at all the grooming possibilities, why bother? And then there’s the money and time spent on waxing and laser hair removal which, I’ve been told, can be painful. I respect that it’s an aesthetic choice for women and men but so many of our aesthetic choices are gendered. A woman can’t be hairy or even prickly and a man can’t be clean shaven (anywhere) without having to defend their sexuality. – Shannon Clarke, Writer
1. Let it grow. Let. It. Grow.
2. How do you feel? Why?
3. Do you wear/not wear certain things? Why?
4. Do your friends laugh at you? Why? Or do they give your armpit hair awesome names like Odin’s Beard?
5. Does your partner yelp at an overgrown ladygarden? Or will they embrace a hairy minge? Why?
6. Shave it off. Do what you like. Always question: Why?’ –Louise Heinrich, Writer
‘The first time I ever experienced concern about my body hair was in a sports class, when I was 12. I remember sitting with my legs outstretched in front of me, clad in blue basketball shorts. My legs were covered in springy, dark hair, but I was admiring the way my calves curved and the colour of my skin. A girl sat next to me, took one look at my legs, and snorted. “You should really shave, you know,” she said. And that night, I stole a razor from my sister and started what would become a lifetime journey of shaving my legs – one that I resent, but can’t seem to end.
Women are subjected to constant scrutiny when it comes to our bodies, and our body hair. The biological functions of said hair are generally overlooked in favour of an aesthetic preference held in our society. Whilst I think women should have the ability to choose how they present their bodies, I hope this is done with a certain amount of awareness and critical thought – it might be the norm to shave and wax our body hair, but that norm is based on a construction of what women should look like.’ – Zoya Patel, Editor-in-chief