May 26, 2009

Great Expectations

One of the things that has stuck with me, horribly, from the videos I linked last week was the men in the interviews. As much as one tries to accept that everyone has their own opinion, those men seem to reflect the prevailing attitude about women and body hair today. It's hard not to observe this and feel discouraged, especially for women who have more than the average, and a harder time removing it.

I spent the last two weeks thinking about this. It worried me that I was offended by people who wanted and expected their partners to be smooth and hairless. Why should that anger me? Is it just that I know it is more difficult to live up to that expectation? Does it anger me because I feel that society has no right to make me feel this way? Yeah. Yeah, it probably does, to a point.

I could read an element of selfishness into the expectation, especially thanks to the man who said, "If they're going to spend more time removing hair and looking nicer and feeling nicer for me, then you can't really complain." So very different from Fiona's fiance, who was never once quoted referring to how Fiona looked, only how she felt about herself. It's encouraging to know there are people like that out there.

But why not go to hair removal extremes for that special someone, if one wants to? It saddens me to think that a woman would feel inadequate for her own husband if she did not keep up a strict, expensive, and painful regimen. The thing is, it is their prerogative. If they can find a person who has the ideal amount of body hair for them, more power to them. And I agree that a lot of women do it for themselves. I'd be a hypocrite if I stomped around the internet in a righteous rage that people hold us to this bar of flawless skin naked of hair. I, myself, like the feeling of hairlessness. It affects my mood, my confidence.

So I talked myself down from that and decided that, no, it wasn't so much the revival of feelings of deficiency.

What really stung me was that some of the men in that documentary appeared to think women's excess body hair was all a big joke. Yes, they've obviously gone out with women for whom hair removal is a relatively simple matter, and probably haven't been let in on the time/money/inconvenience/pain it takes, so they may not have a terribly large frame of reference. Yes, it's not deemed as normal so it can be uncomfortable to talk about and easier if one laughs about it, but the existence of it is not some prank on society. We don't appreciate being sniggered and cringed at. We didn't choose this. It's not always as simple as "Why don't you spend thousands of dollars and get it lasered?" We're making the best of it that we can.

At times like this it hits me how extraordinary hair removal is. It's an industry and an obsession. There are entire websites (heh heh) devoted to it. And yet, body hair doesn't alter a person's body shape, facial structure, their mind, their abilities (unless a symptom of a condition that affects these things). When you get right down to it, it's a harmless protein that grows out of the skin. It's incredible the harm it can do to one's confidence, mood, relationships, and wallet.

On a more personal note, there's a snag with the blood work and my appointment has been rescheduled again for mid June. I tell myself I've been waiting for years to find out what's causing the hirsutism, so a few more weeks won't matter. So far, myself doesn't want to listen. I was so looking forward to getting the results this week...

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