As someone who grew up in a culture where the 'perfect' woman had soft, pink and hairless skin and every time an actress came on screen, she was waxed head to toe not a strand of hair on her body. Now, think about the 'macho' man as we have always known him, tall, dark, handsome with a chest full of hair. For years, body hair was considered to be the ultimate sign of masculinity but for women, body hair is considered somewhat of a sin.
When we get closer to our teens, we start to see hair growth on our once barren skin. We start to realize we have started to grow up and see it as a sign of maturity. It is not until we go to the parlor and experience the pain of waxing that we understand how unlucky we are. I stopped going to the parlor for waxing a long time ago, that pain just isn't worth it. Another reason is the irritating business of threading our eyebrows and upper lip, the pain that threading causes is enough to discourage me from waxing.
Women have to go through 5 days of bleeding every month and on top of that, visit the parlor where the workers make sure that they shame you for the overgrowth. Wearing a dress when you have hair on your legs or flaunting your arms in a tank tap when you haven't waxed your underarms is considered to be very shameful in a society where it is okay for men to pee on the streets.
Women feel conscious of themselves as soon as they notice any hair regrowth on their body. In the hottest summer months, we choose to wear long sleeve shirts to hide our hairy arms lest anyone see it. We torture ourselves with hot wax, Veet wax strips, and shaving just so we can look 'acceptable' in the society. Most of the time it's not even a question of hygiene and more so of 'log kya kahenge.'
It's not completely clear if our craze for ripping out hair from our skin was a westernized idea or it developed along many years as civilization became highly materialistic and relied on outward appearance as a mark of a respected person. How many of us would go on a first date without waxing our entire body? Or Go on a holiday without taking a trip to the parlor first? Or attend a wedding with our fur puppies by our side? The simple answer is not many.
Many traditionalists believe that women who refuse to wax their body hair are either stuck in hippie era or are slowly taking shape of a feminazi. Feminism means equality between man and woman hence if a man can flaunt his body hair with pride why can't a woman? I can hear the bells of patriarchy remind me that we live in an unequal world where a woman has to alter her form to fit into the shell created for her by society.
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