Bonnie Support Services

Bonnie Support Services

Get Hairy February

When I was 13, my friend and I wanted to shave our legs. Our mums said no.

But all the other girls at our new high school were doing it. So I stole my mum’s Bic and we shaved them, at school, in an empty stairwell, dry.

Over the next decade and a half, I shaved, waxed and dissolved my body hair with creams and sandpapers. I even once submitted to threading on a beach in Vietnam, in which my leg hairs were individually lassoed and yanked out using a length of sewing thread!

But 20 years ago, I stopped. I still occasionally wax my legs and bikini line – once or twice a year in the summer. But my armpits have remained hirsute. Now, I am not a hairy woman, relatively speaking, although my armpits are of the bushy variety. At times, I’ve felt somewhat self-conscious about that. But mostly I’m proud not to conform to society’s expectations.

This is who I am. Why should I have to alter my body to be socially acceptable, professional, clean, when men don’t?

In Australia over 95 per cent of women shave their legs and underarms. According to the Get Hairy website, they will spend between $10,000 and $20,000 over their lifetimes, ridding their bodies of hair.

The war on women’s body hair has reached extreme proportions in recent years, with the impact of porn. Many young women are now removing all of their pubic hair and reporting that their male sexual partners find it disgusting, and won’t go down on them, unless they take it all off.

But hundreds of Australian women embraced the fuzz last month, with Get Hairy February – a campaign that encourages women to hang up their razors for the month of Feb and raise money for programs aimed at stopping gendered violence.

Last year Get Hairy raised over $40,000 for the Full Stop Foundation, which supports the work of Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia. This year funds will also go to Empowered Together, to teach high school students about sexual assault and consent.

My eight-year-old son came home from school yesterday with the news that his teacher hasn’t got any hair under her arms! “I think she shaved it off!” he said. I imagined the conversation that took place over the lunch table and laughed inwardly.

To my son I simply said, “Yeah. Some women choose to do that.”

He thought about that for a minute then went outside to play. I hope one day he will be the kind of man, like his dad, who appreciates women’s bodies in all their (hairy) glory.

Written by guest blogger Kate


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