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September 23, 2018

Beauty | Society's problem with body hair

While gabbing with acquaintances recently, one took a pointed look at my exposed ankle and suggested that it was time for me to visit the salon. The reason? To her, a few stray hairs peeking from beneath my trousers meant that hot wax was a necessity. Almost immediately, I remembered the numerous instances of exposed body hair from the likes of Gigi Hadid, Madonna, Penelope Cruz and Drew Barrymore. Of course, I laughed it off but it sparked something within.

What's the problem with body hair? Nothing, really. Scientifically speaking, the functions of body hair are wondrous; other than to annoy you during summer. Body hair is meant to protect the skin, regulate the body's temperature and facilitate the evaporation of sweat. So why are we so averse to seeing it on a woman's body? That answer isn't quite as easy. Women removing their body hair dates back to ancient Egypt and Rome. Through the centuries, methods evolved and fuzz-free areas grew larger and larger. Today, almost every part of women's bodies are completely free of hair. From shaving and waxing to lasers and depilatory creams, the methods are many to achieve the same hairless result.

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When you think about it, the problem with women's body hair is entirely based on how we've been conditioned. The second we see a strand, we immediately deem it unsightly, masculine and unattractive. Not because of the fact that women have just as much hair as men (okay, maybe a little less) but because we've been conditioned to think that way. Although it's deeply rooted in society and probably won't change for a long time to come, if each one of us changes the way we perceive body hair, that's a start.

By no means am I suggesting you toss your razor away and follow no-shave November like your man. Neither am I saying to strip every follicle of hair. I do and will continue to wax and shave my body hair whenever I deem necessary. But when I choose not to, that's my choice and even if it doesn't fit with society's idea of what is unsightly or attractive, that's okay. Maybe one day the generations ahead will be conditioned differently but till then, let's remember that keeping or removing body hair is a personal choice and there's absolutely nothing wrong with either of the choices.

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