Body hair conundrums

(Photo by Katerina Kotsaftis/SAIT)

Body hair can be embarrassing to women, but it doesn’t have to be. (Photo by Katerina Kotsaftis/SAIT)

Women often feel pressure to remove body hair and the practice has benefits to personal life and health.

For 22-year-old Tanisha Kirby this stigma is true.

Kirby has been removing her body hair since she was 13.

At age 15, removing pubic hair and other body hair became a normal part of her everyday hygiene routine.

Kirby feels that individuals should have the right to make the choice on whether or not they need to remove their pubic hair.

“Sexual partners and society should have no say in the matter,” said Kirby.

As for comparing women’s body hair and men’s body hair, Kirby said that the expectations are different.

“I think women are definitely expected to shave their hair more so in comparison to men. It seems to be almost frowned upon to be a woman and have armpit hair or leg hair,” said Kirby.

“For men it seems more acceptable because they’re men and men are hairy.”

Kirby finds it interesting that women are expected to be hairless especially because women naturally grow hair the same way as men.

Society has strong influences on women and hair removal.

Kirby says society has created an expectation that women are supposed to be basically hair-free everywhere except their heads.

Kirby removes hair both for personal reasons and because she has a significant other. She added that women typically don’t remove hair if they don’t have to.

“Personally, I shave my vagina for the sake of my mister, my armpits because I find I perspire more with hair, but my legs, well, they haven’t been shaved since September. I am not joking,” she said.

Melanie Whitehouse, 33, of Calgary works in a salon where there is high volume of women getting all sorts of body hair removed.

Whitehouse sees many women daily for sugar waxes.

The sugar wax is preformed in the salon in a room secluded from everyone. Whitehouse believes that men are beginning to have the same stigmas as women.

“It’s not clean and can be very dirty and full of bacteria, there are more men nowadays removing hair like women,” said Whitehouse.

Whitehouse feels that removing leg, armpit and pubic hair is sexier, cleaner and personally more comfortable.

She agrees that it’s very much a sexual thing to remove pubic hair but she removes her hair for a more personal reason.

Whitehouse has a skin disease called psoriasis and using a sugar wax helps prevent the disease from having flare-ups; it removes problem skin and allows skin to heal, she explained.

Using a sugar wax prevents razor cuts, and for Whitehouse, that’s really beneficial.

If she gets a razor cut, she risks a major infection from her skin disease.

For Whitehouse, hair causes her to have breakouts that are hard to clear up.

She said she definitely promotes the act of hair removal.

“Hair removal is a great thing, once people start they won’t stop.”

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