Why adverts give body hair a dirty name: BANG, and the pubes are gone!

Can you believe I’ve had this blog for several years and I haven’t ONCE written a post about body hair? I’m a bad bad feminist blogger and should probably be made to do a naked walk of contrition like Cersei Lannister. The main reason being that I don’t wish to be told either way what I should do with my body hair. I don’t buy into the whole ‘grow your pit hair or you’re a slave of the patriarchy’ thing, but I also think the people who say ‘body hair is dirty everyone should look like a bald otter’ are talking out of their perfectly waxed bum holes.

A case in point, I saw this advert on Instagram:

 

waxwax2

They really, really fucked me off. How unbelievably patronising to be told that hairy legs, or armpits, or, GOD FORBID, WHISPER IT SO YOU DON’T SCARE THE CHILDREN, *vaginas* can only be the result of letting yourself go. You poor single sod, with no one to shave your legs for. Or maybe it’s because you’ve gone to India and turned into a dirty rain stick waving hippy with dreadlocked pubes, who stinks of tofu and who doesn’t care about their attractiveness to men now that they’ve ‘found themselves’ in an Ashram. Which is insulting to hippies, Ashrams, AND vegans.

hairy

Let’s take these two ads down shall we? SmoothSkin, I challenge you to a barney. And I’m a feminist killjoy so you’d better believe I’m going to win.

Firstly, saying that women stop shaving their legs after a break up is saying that women only shave their legs to make their partner happy. Which is bollocks. Plenty of women shave their legs because they like the way it looks and feels. Yes, your attractiveness to your boyfriend/girlfriend (although these adverts were definitely hinting about women and men, which is why I’m focusing on the patriarchy and hetero couples) plays a part. People want to look good for their partners, that’s natural. But they also remove body hair because it makes them feel good, regardless of who sees it. Yes, many of us have been tricked into thinking it makes us feel good because of society, but bare legs do look nice and shiny and smooth, and that can boost a gal’s confidence. The same can’t be said for bald genitals, which resemble pre-pubescent chicken skin porn fannies, but that’s an argument for another day.

 

wax

Secondly, plenty of women in relationships don’t remove their body hair. You don’t have to be single to stop shaving or waxing. And GUESS WHAT, SmoothSkin? Many men couldn’t give a single solitary shit about some errant leg hair or a luxuriant nest of pubes. Weirdly, they generally fall in love with the person, and not the regularity with which they rip out all their hair. Any man that says ‘Darling, I love you, but I saw 1mm of armpit stubble therefore I’m leaving you as you’re obviously some kind of sick delinquent’ is not worth your time. John Ruskin was a Victorian art critic who was so disgusted with the sight of his wife’s pubic hair that he divorced her. He was so used to seeing classical sculptures with bald bits that on his wedding night, his wife’s beautiful hairy body revolted him so much that he couldn’t consummate the marriage. The story of John Ruskin can easily be brought into the modern day, where classical sculptures= porn and John= all fuckboys. And the moral of that story is that it’s worth growing your pubes even if just to weed out the fuckboys.

shave1

I feel like Jess is going to last 5 minutes in India if she thinks travelling to a developing country is all about having smooth legs and pouting and only taking one tiny impractical bag full of hair removal devices. But this advert is basically saying that hairy legs= weird, hippy, unkempt, dirty. And FYI SmoothSkin, there is nothing wrong with any of those things so stop trying to create a massive divide between those who do shave and those who don’t. There is no ‘other’, or wrong way.

This is the main issue: it is only women’s hair that is seen is gross and dirty. This advert would never exist with a picture of a man. Yes, men shave and get waxed but it isn’t expected; it isn’t demanded of them to show what is, for women, a ‘basic’ level of grooming. All men need to do is wash their hair and brush their teeth and they’re good to go. I went absolutely berserk when I saw that razor advert with a woman saying ‘I was worried about being beach ready *DOWN THERE*’, pointing to her vagina as if it was the mouth of Hades. There is no such thing as being beach ready. All you have to go is get up and go to a beach. Or be a man.

 

shave

Whether you choose to whip everything off or to let it roam free so you look like a Dulux dog, do it because it’s what YOU want to do. Ultimately, what you do with your body hair is a personal decision and don’t let any ill-thought-out, patronising and sexist advert tell you otherwise.

 

2 responses to “Why adverts give body hair a dirty name: BANG, and the pubes are gone!

  1. I actually took the ads the other way, until I realised that they were still shaming women for not shaving. I took the ‘not-the-reasons’ given as being supportive of body hair, silly me! Now I have idea what the hell they were thinking.
    I’ve been wearing shorts at work, legs all stubbly (I shaved my legs for a wedding to wear a flapper dress a few weeks back) and not one person of any gender has noticed or cared. Maybe it’s because I don’t do a typically female-gender-role job? Maybe they talk behind my back? I give no shits either way.

  2. Oh and no damn way am I shaving/waxing my bits. Yuck. Not unless hubby does his at the same time, so we both look like plucked chickens and can suffer equally with ingrown hairs, etc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s