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The beauty standards when it comes to body hair for women is one that goes unmentioned. Body hair on women right from time has always been seen an unnatural and unattractive. This stigmatization somehow flies under the radar as there is barely any awareness being raised on this issue.
We spoke to a young Nigerian woman on her experiences being a hairy girl in today’s society, hair removal horror stories and advice on how she is learning to love herself for who she is.
Tell Us About Yourself.
I am a confident and beautiful *if I do say so myself* young adult who is insecure about her body hair. I am also currently a student and I am presently based in Lagos.
Have You Always Been Insecure About Your Body Hair?
While growing up, I noticed that I had excess amounts of body hair and by that, I mean I was clearly hairier than girls my age. I had started developing pubic hair earlier than the expected age we were told in science class and my mum was worried and forced me to see a doctor. After that visit I automatically labelled my body hair as a bad thing because in my childlike mind, you only go to the doctor when you are sick, and that experience has stuck with me till now.
Trust Nigerian Mothers To Overreact. Has That Belief System Changed In Any Way?
It has to an extent, my dad actually encouraged me to accept and love my body hair and see it as part of what makes me unique, and as small as it might sound it really shifted my mindset on how I viewed my body hair. I started affirming myself with ‘my hair is my beauty’.
That Is Amazing To Hear. Would You Say That External Opinions From Others Also Influenced The Negative Way You Viewed Your Body Hair?
Definitely! People can be so cruel. Secondary school especially was difficult for me because every single person always used the fact that I had a lot more body hair than guys, to torment me. I would receive comments like “you are a man”, “you have moustache” and they would laugh at me.
Looking back, what hurts is the fact that I would laugh along with them even though their comments were hurting me. My body hair is literally a part of me, I cannot change it and there was nothing I could say to them that would make them stop so I just had to laugh the comments off.
We’re So Sorry You Experienced That. What Does Your Relationship With Your Body Hair Look Like Right Now?
Honestly, it is not the best. It irks me a lot. Personally, I do not feel good about my body hair, especially my facial hair. I can manage my body hair but not my facial hair, because of how obvious it is makes me uncomfortable. People stare at me and I instantly feel insecure.
I genuinely believe that I am beautiful, but I feel like my body and facial hair has suppressed my beauty.
That Is Far From The Truth! However, Do You Believe That Society Plays A Role In Pushing The Narrative That Hairlessness Equates To Beauty For Women?
Yes! Women are being stigmatized for having something as natural as body hair. We see it in commercials, the women are clean shaven, and they associate it with beauty and vitality. It has messed up our minds in such a way that even if we begin to see the introduction of women who decide to keep their body hair on tv, our minds automatically deem it as disgusting and dirty and that is wrong.
How Do The Associations Of Body Hair Being Strictly For Men And Not Women, Especially Considering That Women Also Grow Body Hair, Make You Feel?
As a woman who grows and has body hair, it makes me feel bad. I’m hairy and there is nothing I can do to change it. Does that make me a man? It makes me feel bad. We are expected to live up to these beauty standards for women and it is unfair. People stare at me simply because I have facial hair that they can see. Some are even bold enough to call me names and make rude comments all because I am a woman with body and facial hair.
There Definitely Is A Double Standard When It Comes To Facial And Body Hair For Men And Women, But Considering The Fact That Body Hair Is Genetic, Has Being Picked On Ever Made You Look At Your Parents Differently?
I have blamed them in the past for the negative experiences I have had surrounding my body hair. I looked at both my parents who are very hairy and I would ask myself why they got married. I would wonder why they could not have saved me the trouble of being made fun of everywhere I go because of my body hair which I clearly inherited from them.
It even shaped my spec when it comes to guys. I avoid guys who are also on the hairy side to protect my future daughter because I cannot bare to watch her go through what I have had to.
Would You Say That Your Body Hair Shapes How Attractive You See Yourself As?
I am not proud to say this, but yes it does shape how attractive I see myself. Apart from my body hair, I genuinely believe that I am beautiful, but society has made me feel like a beast. It makes me forget all the other features about myself that I love and focus on my body hair which automatically makes me feel less attractive.
Considering How Pressed Society Is About Women’s Body Hair, You Would Think More Affordable And Easily Accessible Hair Removal Options Would Be Provided. What Are Your Thoughts On Hair Removal, And Can You Share Any Hair Removal Horror Stories You May Have?
Hair removal is very inconvenient, I have researched on every hair removal method in the world. What I have realized is most of these treatments do not even give permanent results, only laser hair removal can do that and it is extremely expensive and requires you to keep up with regular appointments which can be inconvenient. Waxing helps but is also expensive to regularly keep up with appointments, and shaving is just stressful.
As far as hair removal horror stories, Youtube almost cost me my life. I tried a DIY and I had to mix tooth paste and tomato and all I can say is, don’t try it at home kids!
What Is Something You Would Tell Your Younger Self About Confidence In Relation To Body Hair?
I would tell her “baby girl, rock your body hair and do not let anyone ever make you feel unattractive because you are precious and beautiful just the way you are”
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