Monday, 4 June 2012

Leg Hair. I've got it.

Hello. Against my better judgement, I'm about to overshare quite a lot here. But there seems to be a lot of chatter about female body hair right now. 

I am a girl, as well as the artist and co-creator on what is essentially a feminist comic about an all-girl super group, and as such I often (among other things) think about the way girls look, how they are "supposed" to look, how they actually look, and how they might look if they didn't feel like anyone was watching or judging them.

Anyway. Little known fact: I haven't shaved my legs in well over a year. My pits are pretty fuzzy too, but we'll leave them out of this for now.

To be honest, my relationship with razor blades has always been distant at best. Being fair-skinned means my dermal layers are kind of sensitive, and shaving usually just leaves me itchy, razor burned and cursing myself for being female and therefore apparently obliged to shave large areas of my body. Still, up until recently I've always done a token shave if I've ever had to get my legs out in public (very rarely and always avoided if at all possible), or if there is some prospect of, um, sex on the horizon (rare, but it has been known to occur).

Here's a couple of pictures of my hairy legs so you can see what I am on about: 
Click for extreme hairy detail. You know you want to. 

So how did it come to this? Nutshell: I broke up with my long-term boyfriend about fourteen months ago. Fell out of the habit of shaving because, frankly, the prospect of canoodling with anyone seemed alien and unwelcome. As I was settling in for some heavy singledom I didn't really see the point in that sort of limb maintenance. I was also far too busy with work and drinking with my mates to be bothered about silly things like body hair. I mean, come on. Seriously. What would you rather be doing? Drawing, making up stories and partying with fun people or taking an evening off to shave your body hair off? Dour.

Of course that eventually wore off and I started wanting to get naked with people again, but I'd sort of come to the conclusion after a few months of solitude that I'd rather meet someone who liked me for me, rather than making myself cookie-cutter "sexy" and worrying about how I looked and so on. So the leg hair stayed. Yeah, so it got some raised eyebrows. Not as many as you would think though, and the rather wonderful man I am now shacked-up with took it to be something of a positive (not so much on the aesthetic side of things ... he tells me he's fairly neutral on that ... more how it reflects on me as a person or something ... personally I'm just pleased he doesn't care).

Thing is, being hairy around someone else who loves you isn't really such a big deal. I think most girls have had times where they just can't be arsed with shaving and (big surprise) it turns out their boyfriend couldn't care less. No. The big test, in my opinion, is getting those furry muthas out in public. At least for me. In fact, it turns out I am more scared of the judgement of other women than I am of any bloke. Obviously it was time to sort that out, so here is a picture of my pale, hairy leg sitting on a wall in Venice last week, where I spent the entire holiday in shorts; a garment I have avoided wearing like the freaking PLAGUE since I was about 14.

A picture of my hairy leg in Venice. Land of bronzed, toned Italians and bare skin.
So yeah. That happened. Turns out no one really cared. It really wasn't as scary as I thought it was going to be and since then I've been wandering around London quite happily in varying lengths of skirt, shorts and whatnot. I think I have officially broken the giving-a-shit barrier.

Is it some kind of hardcore feminist statement I am trying to make here? Well, no. Not exactly. I don't have a problem with other girls shaving their legs, each to their own and all that. My argument for being fuzzy - and I've kind of shot myself in the foot here for writing about it at all (sort of defeats the point) - is twofold:

1. Being comfortable in your own skin and accepting yourself as yourself rather than bending to how other people think you ought to be is very important. For me that involves not having painful, itchy legs (among other things, of course).

2. Not thinking about this sort of stuff leaves me more room to do and think other things. My spare time is precious, and this way I've freed up an extra hour or so a month (possibly more) to learn how to play chess, learn (some) Mandarin and read books about the possibility of intelligent alien life. Okay, so it's not a huge amount of time, but if you also take into account all the time I used to waste worrying about how other people see me that I've managed to regain ... well, I guess I'm just able to focus a lot more on what I want to do rather than what I feel I should be doing. 

Agh. Basically, who really cares? I don't anymore. Job done.

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