Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Cheers for non-shaving/waxing women

Posted in Women and body hair by sheelanagigcomedienne on February 19, 2014

I was recently sent a utube link about a young Irish women who made the most momentous decision not to shave her armpits. OMG.

Now if a geriatric women , like myself, made such a proclaimation it would be NO news at all. This is yet another sexist/misogynistic/ageist issue over women’s bodies and their appearance –  body hair, make-up, pre-pubertal and anti-ageing obsession, female genital mutilation,  foot fetishism – stilettos, chinese foot-binding, ballet en pointe, shoe collections, female fashion, body shape/anorexia/permanent dieting etc….

The Daily Mail online asked

Can it EVER be socially acceptable to have hairy armpits? Woman who gave up shaving debates prickly subject on This Morning

I have never shaved, waxed or used creams to get rid of any of my NATURAL  body hair from my legs, armpits or pubic hair. I HAVE plucked a few facial stray whiskers over the last few years. Body hair reduces with age except for those strange, straggly hairs giving us a laugh in old age as they appear on faces/eyebrows.
The first thing I learnt from Wikipedia was that body hair is called androgenic hair as opposed to vellus hair which is the lighter downy hair which covers most of the human body. So, such hair is natural and normal.

According to Wiki  Pubic hair removal occurs in certain cultures; for example, it has long been practiced widely, if not universally, in the Muslim world due to a religious injunction. In Western culture, beginning in the 1980s, there has been a trend among women to remove or trim pubic hair, either partially or completely; the trend later spread to men as well.

Most mammals have light skin that is covered by fur, and biologists believe that early human ancestors started out this way also. Dark skin probably evolved after humans lost their body fur, because the naked skin was vulnerable to the strong UV radiation as would be experienced in Africa. Therefore, evidence of when human skin darkened has been used to date the loss of human body hair, assuming that the dark skin was needed after the fur was gone.

So there is a significant evolutionary link to humans shedding fur/hair becoming bipedal and people in hot climates becoming dark skinned.

Here is the link, from the London Irish Women’s Network,  to the utube video clip of the young Irish women,  Dr. Emer O’Toole who now lives in Canada.

It’s the year of the bush – time to rediscover all female body hair

Emer otooleHere’s a piece from the Daily Mail online.

Like it or not, there are few sights more arresting than a woman with a hairy armpit. The unfettered growth of female underarm and leg hair is considered one of the ultimate social taboos, dismissed as the kind of eccentric behaviour that should only adopted by hippies…and a staggering 80 per cent of the viewers agreed with her, as a live vote carried out during the debate saw an overwhelming majority of those calling in say they were horrified by the idea of a woman with hairy legs and armpits…..

Ms O’Toole mentioned a recent scandal in Dublin where salon owners were accused of offering ‘virgin hair’ waxes to 11 and 12 year-olds, claiming that such early action would ensure full adult hair never developed…..
It is this kind of irresponsible behaviour that Ms O’Toole claims is adversely affecting young girls, adding to the already growing pressure they feel to remove all their hair from a young age…… but insists it is generally women, not men, who are most offended by her armpits and legs…..
Men are utterly unfazed by the hair, she says, citing the fact that they too have hairy armpits as the reason for their acceptance. 4th May 2012 Daily Mail

On the one hand, we applaud Emer for taking a stand against what she believes is the unfair expectation that women look a certain way, but on the other hand — and we’re being totally honest here — all that furriness is really freaking us out. And we suppose that’s the whole point. To recondition our understanding of beauty.

But we just don’t know if we could take that plunge ourselves. Sure, it’d be nice not to have to deal with the daily monotony of whipping out the razor, or the awkward experience of getting our below-the-belt follicles ripped out by a total stranger, but there’s just something about smooth, fuzz-free skin that makes us feel slightly more well-kept and — we’ll say it — hygienic. That can probably be attributed to some deep-seated gender conditioning regarding how a woman “should” look, but that doesn’t change the fact that we just feel better after we’ve jettisoned all that extra fuzz.

That said, we don’t think Emer deserves any of the vitriol that is being directed at her. Scrolling through the harsh comments, it’s really depressing to us that the majority of the detractors appear to be female. Can’t we all just get along? (The Daily Mail)

The negative responses and remarks, often from women, are depressingly full of self-loathing and plenty of misogynistic comments and blogs too.

Here are some women who don’t shave, wax etc but accept their bodies.

I Don’t Shave | Paloma Goñi – Huffington Post

woman who wont shave

It’s My Body, and I Won’t Shave Unless I Want To | Empowering Girls

On Shaving: It’s MY Body | BlogHer

The Straight Dope: Who decided women should shave their legs

If life was too short for superwoman Shirley Conran ‘ to stuff a mushroom’ surely Shirley would agree that it also too short to shave, wax etc to satisfy men or to demonstrate  their revulsion with their natural state.


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