Women, Armpit Hair and Fat

I know, the title grabs you. If you’re not already curious about what you will be reading in a few seconds, you’re certainly feeling pretty darn uneasy about even mentioning such “taboo” subjects. It can literally be a hair-raising experience (yes, pun intended).

What is it about these highly unreasonable expectations of women? We were born with body hair (at least most of us were) and body fat in, may I say, all the right places. I am a staunch believer in the Divine Creator – Jesus Christ. Yes, I am being morally, if not politically, correct. I do believe that whatever body parts an average and “physically complete” person may have were given for a reason. I mean, seriously, mother Eve may have had more body hair and fat than we care to know!

Going back to the subject of body hair, it irks me sometimes that society (in so-called “civilized” nations) dictates that women should shave. The key word here is “dictate”. Why should women feel the pressure to shave their armpits, legs, bikini lines, etc.? They sure don’t feel that pressure in some parts of Europe and Africa!

I remember watching a TV show about actors’ bloopers. While I did agree that some actions or words were indeed embarrassing and highly inappropriate, I felt irritated that Julia Robert’s unshaved armpits at an awards show were considered horrible. It was as if she committed some serious crime instead of a social faux pas (again, a dictate of society) and must be punished for revealing a tuft of brown hair underneath her arms!

Don’t get me wrong – I know the benefits of shaving. But I would do it because I want to, not because someone tells me to. I would do it because it is more hygienic and because I would enjoy the sensation of smooth legs. But I will not be so quick to judge a woman who decides to do otherwise.

I do wish that society would be more forgiving of body hair. A woman with a shaved head or pink hair would be given more slack than a woman with hairy underarms or legs. Shouldn’t we be free to choose what we want to do with our body hair, whether it’s on the head or elsewhere?

And what about fat? Everyone should have a good and healthy amount of fat in one’s body. And even a little more fat (again, only when it’s still healthy) on some of our body parts should not make us or others feel like we’re committing the unpardonable sin.

There has been a lot of hype about women suffering from Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia – and there should be! The incessant and obsessive desire to be thin has brought many women in the brink of death. And it doesn’t help when other women (and some very insensitive men) drop lines like, “You’ve gained weight”, or “You’re bigger now than when I last saw you.”

I have had my “heavier” times in the past and comments like these add to the pressure of wanting to be thin. So, in my desire to fight this ever growing trend, I bravely donned my bikini in one of the more popular beaches in the country. This was two years ago and when I saw some of our photos taken at that time, I had to agree that I was several pounds heavier than I was comfortable with. But, I never regretted wearing my bikini and I certainly felt good that my husband always loved and appreciated me despite my weight fluctuations.

The reality is that most men are forgiving of a few extra pounds here and there. Maybe they are not as forgiving of body hair in women, but we ladies should certainly try to be more forgiving of ourselves and of others. Learning to tune out crass comments and answer appropriately will also ease the unwanted pressure from the less educated masses. But being confident of who we are and where we stand in the overall scheme of things would help much more, hair or no hair.