There was a research report released today saying that men and women who regularly trim their pubic hair have a higher risk of of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The report was conducted by doctors at the University of California, San Francisco, where they explained that this higher risk may be linked to micro-tears in the skin that happen after shaving, trimming or waxing. Regular groomers, according to the report, were more likely to be engaging in sexual activity.
It seems that western cultures have become obsessed with hairless bodies, which makes me question the ways in which society shapes our ideals of beauty. When you actually stop to think about the idea or removing body hair, whether it be from you arms, legs, pubic area or face, it is a very unnatural task.
We all know that hair is a form of protection for our bodies. Hair keeps us warm and even cools us down (through evaporation sweat), and it can protect our skin from sun damage and ultraviolet rays. Also, according to the report, it can protect from bacterias or infections.
The question then becomes, do we (men and women) shave our body hair because we actually enjoy hairless bodies, or were we taught to find hairlessness more appealing and beautiful through societal norms?
In my opinion, I go with the latter.
Centuries before our time, women did not feel a need to shave. Now, if you take a look at billboards and advertisements with models and celebrities, for the most part, they all tend to be hairless and smooth. And somehow even though we know that these advertisements are are photoshopped and edited, we still (consciously or subconsciouly) aim for these beauty standards. The fact that the study reported that groomers tend to be more sexually active, signals a link between hairlessness and sex appeal-before sex, hair must be tamed or removed in order to be sexy.
Now, that's not to say that there is anything wrong with shaving. That's the beauty about beauty-it is entirely subjective. But I think it is important to stop once and ask yourself if you shave because it makes you feel beautiful, or because you are taught to believe it is beautiful and/or feminine?
However, more and more women are embracing their bush and letting their body hair grow as it may. Each gal has her reasons for why, whether it be for health reasons or a middle finger to gender roles, or maybe even pure laziness. I have many friends and have met many ladies who flaunt their leg and armpit hair, and feel even more beautiful that way. Even many of those who still personally prefer smooth skin, show their support for their fuzzier mates.
There are even 'How-to' grow your armpit hair websites:http://www.howtohairgirl.com/category/body-hair/page/2/
All in all, I think this article is important in getting people to think about why they do the body and beauty rituals that they do, even though it puts their health at risk. Hopefully, it gets the audience to question what beauty really means, and to be able to define it for themselves.