A guide to loving your natural fuzz—or bush—or forest—or jungle. You get the picture.
I’m mostly Indonesian and Dutch, but I am part Arab from my maternal grandfather. In case you didn’t know what state Arab’s body hair is in: it’s “a lot”. I’ve got hair on my knuckles, my arms, the back of my neck, my back, my arm pit, my legs, my face (cheeks, moustache, between the brows, below the brows, temples, forehead, above the brows, chin, jaw), i’ve even got extended sideburns. Yeah, I get thick brows, hair, and long eyelashes, but I’ve got hair in every place society says I shouldn’t.
In a society where “beauty” is defined by European features (blonde hair, blue eyes, small waist, fair skin, hairless except for your head, eyebrows and eyelashes), I’ve struggled with loving my body hair. My parents introduced me to razors, shaving creams, waxing, threading, plucking the minute hair started growing from my underarms.
I’ve struggled with crazy dry skin, sensitive skin, ingrown hairs, bumps, nicks and cuts since middle school. However, as I entered high school, I began exposing myself to feminists who were pro-hair, I had friends who came from cultural backgrounds that caused them to have just as much hair as I do, and the new generation of girls were starting to realise just how ridiculous it is that we have to get rid of parts of our bodies that naturally grow.
Whether you have excessive body hair or not, whether you want to get rid of your body hair or not, I’m not here to preach or force my opinions on you. I’m only here to help you learn to love the hair that you have, if that is what you choose to do.
Here are a few steps that you could take to help you accept your ~human features~
1. Realise That Your Body Hair is Natural
This step is something that I still struggle with. As girls, our brains are wired to think that our body hair is excessive. The media and society (which interweaves) slowly convince girls and women around the world to erase themselves little by little. Get rid of body hair, you’ll finally be allowed to wear tank tops and skirts! Get rid of acne, you’ll finally be allowed to show your face in public! Get rid of scars, you’ll finally be allowed to call yourself beautiful! Get rid of cellulite, you’ll finally be allowed to love the dents on your body! Get rid of stretch marks, you’ll finally be desirable! Get rid of body fat, you’ll finally look like the girls that everyone wants to be and be with! Get rid of clothes, you’ll finally have something to offer! Get rid of your opinion, because we will brainwash you into buying all our products.
We are literally being sold this idea of beauty, and none of these things apply to a real, fully functioning human being, but we keep buying it over and over again because that’s what everyone does. Even the hair removal commercials feature women shaving hairless underarms and legs. Hair is so obscene that these ladies are shaving nothing!!! We need to deprogram ourselves so we can accept our bodies the way they are. Its super cheesy and way easier said than done, but it’s the first step.
2. Think about how much money you’ll save on hair-removal products
The American Laser Centers did a survey on how much the average American woman spends on hair-removal. The total was more than $10,000. That’s like 130 million in Rupiah. That’s insane. Consumerism is bad enough, but when it’s for something that’s so unnecessary, it just seems downright ridiculous. There are people out there who do not have homes, kids who don’t have access to education, families that starve, and we’re spending thousands of dollars on hair removal!! Something that is natural to our biological growth!! What the heck?!?!?!
3. Learn to get used to your hair
Once you’re mentally comfortable enough to grow your majestic strands, learn to get used to them physically. Instead of feeling like you’ve got unfamiliar extensions of your body awkwardly sticking out, make them feel like they’re a part of you. Look at them when you’re naked, with underwear on, with sleeveless shirts on, with dresses on, in the mirror, in public, touch them, feel them, take care of them the way you do with the hair on your head instead of alienating them and yourself.
This goes for other parts of your body that you may not exactly love or adore. Touching them, taking care of them (cleansing, moisturising, etc), is such an important step for body acceptance.
4. Learn to get used to other people’s reactions
Everyone has different opinions, and we should all know that we must respect everyone. Traditions and societal dogma are not necessarily bad, and being progressive or radical isn’t necessarily good. Whatever you feel comfortable with, you should do. It’s easy to be super empowered when you’re in a space with open-minded people who are open to things like body hair. However, sometimes you run into people who are a little less than respective towards you IRL. In a society where representation of hairy girls are ultra rare, you may run into some /clashing/ opinions. It’s important that you don’t let it affect you or make you question the validation of your values. You’re just as fabulous with all that hair.
4. You do you g/b/etc
Whether you choose to go with the flow because you just personally like how post-shaven-smooth-as-a-baby’s-bottom-skin feels, or you want to brave the anti-furry world with your pits/legs/etc, then you go, you brave you!
© Selena Soemakno. All rights served unless stated otherwise.