It is I, the infamous underarm hair girl on Facebook.
In my late ‘teens, I had one of the greatest revelations of my time. During one of my beautician appointments I realized that I am happily paying her to feel pain. I did this because I wanted to feel pretty again. And I thought to myself, is this life?
Needless to say, I am not the monthly wax kind of girl, nor am I the weekly threading appointment person (as of late). I have begun carefully tweezing the parts of my face hair that I feel needs grooming. Being careful not to over pluck or grow a unibrow. But, that right there is the problem. Beauty has become a pre-conceived construct that is already decided for us. Perhaps our brown grandparent’s pre-conceived idea of beauty was to be modest. Our construct follows a path of pain and anguish. What if I wanted to grow a unibrow or overtly messy brows?
And so, in the 19th year of my existence, in an attempt to cultivate an identity that belongs to me, I began questioning everything. My appearance does not belong to any other narrative but that which I was granted by my parents. And so, on the topic of hair removal, I have resolved to only remove hair as a means of self-pamper.
As I sit infront of my lamp, with my magnifying mirror and a tweezer, I shape an eyebrow that is to my liking, not to the conventional ‘fleeky’ eyebrow. I put aside every image of how my face should look and I look at my own face. This is how it is. Would it not be the most cool thing ever if I liked it enough to enjoy it.
I have to admit something, I do run some pomade and a spoolie through it in my make up routine, but by and large- I am interacting with my own eyebrows. And, I think one of the most important lessons a girl can learn is to illustrate her own idea of beauty.
Allow me to elaborate. There is a worldwide construct of beauty that is leading us further away from individiuality every single day.
In the context of hair removal, dear brown girl, it is important to know that pain is not beauty. Questioning beauty standards surrounding hair removal is a challenging, rewarding risk. Ask yourself if this is a pain that you have to endure and if you answer yes, ask yourself, why?
The issue arises when the mainstream idea of beauty encourages some hair as attractive. Eyebrow hair needs to be bushy, in accord with the high fashion models – but not unruly.
Moustache hair needs to be removed, weekly. So, as not to look like a boy. But, boys can have hair everywhere and it’s perfectly okay. Except if he has no hair and then, he is a baby.
It’s like the general media perceptions is for us to hate ourselves and their ploy is to play genders against each other. I stand for gender-fluid humans (I’ll save this for another post).
As post-modernist females, we ought to let go of the notion that pain is beauty. With the ‘pain of beauty’ comes a stifling self-esteem, as you stand in front of the mirror, hating on your decision to not wax your legs. And so, you take to the bathroom to shave the hair off. But, I challenge you to continue looking in the mirror until you see beyond your physical, into your soul. Your soul does not care about hair on your body, neither do other souls. The only soul that cares about hair on your body is your beautician.
The worst kind of beautician you can get is one that encourages you to wax your whole face, which covers everyone. They just want to wax because they like waxing. Don’t you get it, the waxer is passionate about waxing. Are you passionate about pain?
Supermodels go as far as waxing their whole body, so we think that we are being moderate by only waxing our arms, legs, underarms, moustache and eyebrows. But removing any hair for the purpose of beauty buys into the international hair removal campaign that pain is beauty. Instead, I propose the plan where hair is normal.
If we view our bodily hair from a survival perspective, skin is meant to have hair. On a fundamental level, our hair is warmth and protects us from sunburn. The only reason we would have to remove hair is for hygienic purposes, and by all means go ahead.
Well, one of my aims in life is to break this construct wherver possible. I go as far as encouraging male make up. I also wear shorts to the beach, and parade my luscious underarms by waving at strangers. It is the smallest acts of rebellion that can make you feel liberated. So, I have decided that I will partake in Movember.
Self-image is one of the most crucial elements to our existence and I can assure you this much, dear brown girl, you are not a trend. You do not have to fit into a mould of beauty. A mould that could very much be photoshop and plastic surgery. Because, even if you wanted to, you couldn’t live up to it. And, we do not need these extra ‘anxieties’ when we are trying to battle of wrath of 21st century patriarchy.
The plan, henceforth is to exist, in your frizzy hair, normal hairy legs and moustache. And, most importantly, do not stop yourself from wearing the clothes you want to wear and doing the things you want to do because of a few (many) hair follicles, sticking out of your limbs and face. If anything, it adds character to your existence. And, I am talking to you (me) grow that moustache! Show it off to the world and be exactly who you want to be.
I call my underarm hair my wings because it is the most realistic wings I own, and I am not always a fan of realism, but on this topic I have to be. Because the media’s narrative is sometimes the most unrealistic tale ever told.
– Sauda Haffejee