I was feeling quite proud of myself, I had woken up before the sun had risen, prepared my daughter’s lunch for school and my own lunch for work, packed my work clothes to get changed into post workout and walked into my 7am pilates class (across town) with five minutes left up my sleeve.
My pilates instructor came up to me while I was using the reformer, checking to make sure my uncoordinated body was doing what it was supposed to. That’s when I looked down and saw the black hairs spiking out of my legs, contrasted by the pale white skin that sat behind it.
The feeling of embarrassment wasn’t too bad but then it dawned on me, if my legs looked like that, what did my arm pits look like? And the answer was, hairy. “I’m sorry” I told Georgina*. “I totally forgot to shave.” She laughed and told me, “Don’t worry about it, I didn’t even notice”.
Why would she care? Why should I care? Why was I apologising? It was a 7am pilates class, I was here to strengthen my weakened abdominal muscles post-children, not to show off my hairless body.
Don’t shoot me for the generalisation but women (not all, maybe not even most but definitely quite a lot) seem to apologise for their appearance if it isn’t quite up to what they consider ‘acceptable’ standard.
The countless times I have seen or heard a woman (myself included) say “sorry” for their outfit, state of their hair, lack of makeup or any other variation of their appearance have made me not only question why but more importantly, how is this impacting on the next generation of females- our daughters? Our nieces? Our girls? And maybe even more importantly the next generation of males – our sons? Our nephews? Our boys?
The sponges that our children are make it imperative that we as parents, uncles, aunts, adults in general, are aware of our behaviour; even the behaviours that come inadvertently to us, because it all, good and bad, gets soaked up.