Following on from my recent blogpost about my daughter’s hair, I’ve come to realise that we are living in a moment of time where the topic of hairy autonomy makes everyone a little bit bonkers.
It seems that everyone has an opinion on:
Facial hair, underarm hair, leg hair, pubic hair, head hair…
And the opinion flips depending on what lies between your legs.
There are so many nuances with gender, religion and culturally-based head etiquette that it’s hard to know whether to shave or not shave.
Balding Western women suffer greatly and go to great pains to maximise coverage. And yet, in some places, a woman’s head is shaved when she is married so that she is no longer beautiful. (Oh yes, there were tears when I read this one.)
A man is told his balding is a sign of high testosterone, and yet it’s practically compulsory that he shaves his head.
“No-one trusts a man with a comb-over” they are told.
A woman’s facial hair is not to be grown out, under any circumstances. Unless it’s bleached.
A man should really shave, but he can grow out his facial hair whenever, or just on occasion. In other places, it’s legislated that men must wear a beard.
A man can shave his legs, so long as he owns lycra, plays basketball, or generally looks sport-worthy.
Women mush shave their legs. Always. Unless in Europe.
Outside of Europe, it seems that women should be aiming for a bleached, shaved, waxed and plucked body, completely exposing her vulnerability and therefore maximizing her potential for acceptability in society.
Anyone else getting a mental image of chickens on a production line?
I figured there must be other truths out there…
I asked my dear friend and wise seer Grandmother Google about such things, and found way too many forums packed with anxious hair-centric souls, asking permission and guidance whether to shave or not shave.
While combing through their angst, I learnt something new – European men now shave under their arms.
And I became fascinated with the social media circus demonstrating that many European women don’t.
Personally, I’d really like to grow out my leg hair and after that 3 week challenge, not be frantically apologising to every person I meet outside – anyone who happens upon the 2 metre radius of my hairy jungle.
Deliciously, the recent trend of the one-sided Viking Woman look is smashing the taboo of head shaving – you can have a shaved head now and not be accused of being a man-hater.
Overall, this hairy nonsense is keeping us all small – talking about and thinking about tiny, 4mm sized-topics.
Meanwhile, summer is here and I’m getting hot…
And so, after many months of contemplation, angst and wondering about what other people might think of me, I made an appointment with my stylist Serena, and she shaved my head.
Oh the sweetness of the air whispering past my stubble on a hot day…
Oh the shocked silence as I stroll past people and they get an eyeful of the back of my head…
Oh the jubilation that I have freed myself of yet another social norm…
Oh the letting go of what I think other people think I should do with my hair…
And with that letting go, comes such strength and gratitude that I live in a place where I can exercise my hairy autonomy.
And this dear readers, is why I must exercise my hairy autonomy both for myself, and in honour of all those who can’t.
I need to hear more stories about strong women leading beauty-filled and spiritual lives, and so I created Empress Crow and Rabbit. It’s a forum to showcase the inspirational stories of women in uniquely feminine careers. It's also a bridge between what we think we know and what we feel is right. Thank you for joining me – let’s all learn, grow and celebrate the feminine together.
Photo credit: Lucy Spartalis