Hairy Situation: Is Body Hair Really That Big of a Deal?

Back in middle school, someone called me “Chewbacca Arms” in math class and I immediately went home and shaved my arms. I became obsessed with shaving. I shaved my eyebrows (way too far apart, might I add) and when someone mentioned the “baby hairs” that appeared when I pulled my hair back into a ponytail, I went home and shaved the front of my head. It didn’t work out very well, obviously, and I had to wear a huge headband over the top of my forehead for like 6 months. Middle school was a weird time.

But why, oh why, are we as adult women obsessed with being hairless? We’re humans. We’re made with hair, just like men. You may not know this, but back in 1915, advertisers in Harper’s Bazaar started to promote a cream that would remove women’s underarm hair, as many sleeveless dress trends were emerging. These ads for creams and razors only increased over time as more and more women were wearing shorter skirts and dresses in the 1920’s and beyond. These companies convinced us that we needed to be hairless to be attractive so that they could sell their products.

Now, I’m a firm believer in grooming yourself however you feel most comfortable, but if you’re just shaving to appease others, here’s some reasons why it’s really not that big of a deal to have hair on your body.

We’re not in an online sex movie. Traditional online sex has become so incredibly unrealistic, it’s insane. The plots have always been fake (I know, who watches online sex for the plot?) but now even the bodies of the stars are completely fabricated. Tanned, oiled, hairless beings pretending like they’re having a good time and that this isn’t the 16th take. That’s not real and we shouldn’t be pretending it is.

Your body hair traps pheromones which attract partners. Through perspiration, we release pheromones, which are chemicals that stimulate arousal, sexual desire, fertility, and hormones. Our bodies subconsciously detect these chemicals and can cause us to become more appealing to a potential lover. Your vagina and armpits both secrete these pheromones and your body hair is there to lock in those chemicals.

Hair does not increase the amount of germs on your body. I’ve seen a ton of comments lately about this, but let’s get it straight: You’re more likely to get an infection from shaving than from having body hair. I personally had a staph infection caused by shaving and trust me when I say that getting your infected armpit cut open and drained is way more painful than a sideways glance at my pits from a basic dude at the grocery store as I’m reaching to get mac and cheese off the top shelf. Dr. Emily Gibson states, “Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds. Rather than suffering a comparison to a bristle brush, frequent hair removal is necessary to stay smooth, causing regular irritation of the shaved or waxed area. When that irritation is combined with the warm moist environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture media for some of the nastiest of bacterial pathogens, namely group A streptococcus, staphylococcus aureus and its recently mutated cousin methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA). There is an increase in staph boils and abscesses, necessitating incisions to drain the infection, resulting in scarring that can be significant.”

If body hair is so unhygienic, why are we okay with guys having it? There’s that good ol’ double standard again. Guys have hairy pits and chests and legs and we don’t bat an eye or call them “unclean” or “germy.” Why are we doing it to ourselves?

Your body hair regulates your body temperature. Through thermoregulation, which is our body’s internal thermostat, we are able to alter our body temperature to adjust to changing climates. Our body hair helps keeps us in check when we need to sweat to keep from overheating.

Ingrown hairs and razor burn suck. Let’s face it: Dealing with an itchy vag the second day after shaving is super annoying. Even worse is when in your attempt to look sexy, you nick yourself or give yourself a nasty red rash all along your hoo-ha. And don’t even get me started on having to dig out ingrown hairs….

Having body hair doesn’t make you less of a woman. Being feminine doesn’t make you a woman and you can still be feminine without being completely hairless. Identifying as a woman makes you a woman and you don’t have to justify your personal grooming habits to anyone. Do whatever makes you most comfortable but be kind to one another also. We’re not in middle school anymore.

Love, Chewbacca Arms

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