All images courtesy Yasmin Gasimova/The Tab
In a society where women are expected to shave, I’m not ashamed to admit I don’t. I might trim my pubes if I’m going on holiday, but catch me on a normal day when my armpits are bushy and my legs furry, and you might be surprised.
As someone of Turkic origin, I don’t remember ever not having hair. In fact, as early as 10, boys were making fun of my moustache and I was trying to shave my noticeably hairy stomach. I was never not self-conscious of my hair, but now I embrace it.
I stopped caring when I was 11, as having naturally thick, fast-growing hair meant I’d need to waste an hour just to get prickly dots on my legs, which would grow back in a week. It’s a huge inconvenience for me, as it never made me feel comfortable, gave me loads of ingrown hairs, and my hairless legs wouldn’t match the rest of my hairy body. So why bother?
I admit, I tame my eyebrows so they’re always on fleek, trim my pubes for practical reasons and occasionally control my facial hair. But this takes a lot less effort, and I feel like I’m doing it for myself, instead of only doing it to avoid social suicide.
On nights out, while all my girl mates will roll up on Concert Square in their minis and hotpants, it’s far easier for me to just wear 80 denier tights and sleeved tops. If I do shave, which is very, very rare, it’s for absolute necessity. If I’m going on a beach holiday, having swimming lessons, or if I’m trying to pull a one night stand, I’ll shave. I still unfortunately prefer the inconvenience of shaving to the inevitable dirty looks and rejection.
I’ve had my share of negative reactions. My mum thought it made me look unkempt, my friends thought it was unhygienic, and of course an ex boyfriend didn’t think it was sexy, and even asked me to shave my stomach.
But as I grew older, my peers became more accepting and understanding, and even though they would probably never make this decision themselves, they knew how ridiculously unfair it was to judge.
Nobody should be ashamed of their natural body. Thinking I need to hide it is only perpetuating society’s messed up expectations of women, and the only thing which will help is a public exposure to the reality of women’s body hair. Most of you will be shocked, of course. Many will keep thinking I am gross, but hopefully many will also question why you think this, especially if you say it would be acceptable if I had a Y chromosome.