In our Western society, there has long been an idealized image of the “perfect woman”, who’s typically depicted as having long and flowing hair while simultaneously showing a pair of hairless legs. In many ways, the Barbie movie acts as a painful reminder that generations of children have associated the combination of low body pilosity and gorgeous mane with beauty and attractiveness in women.
First of all, from a historical perspective, the allure of long hair goes beyond aesthetic considerations only. It has also been associated with health and even fertility, which is why it becomes understandable that societies all around the world would prefer women with long hair. Yet, in 2023, it is essential to break away from the rigid gender expectations and appreciate that personal hair choices should remain personal, and not dictated by societal expectations.
It is time to explore the fascinating world of hair care and hair removal without the tinted glasses of gender expectations.
The natural connection between long hair and body pilosity
Here is a brief reminder for every woman out there struggling to conform to the image of ideal beauty: Long hair and smooth legs. The truth is that people with naturally long and thick hair often find a natural correlation with body hair as well. Essentially, hair growth is attributed to hormonal influences. Androgens, commonly linked with male hormones, are present in both biological genders. They play a crucial role in the growth of hair, both on your head and on the rest of your body.
As such, women who have long and luscious manes are more likely to have higher levels of androgens. This naturally also affects the body’s pilosity. Additionally, it is worth noting that some generic factors and health conditions will also influence hair growth patterns, which means that some individuals are predisposed to having thicker and longer hair, both on the head and on the body.
For example, conditions like PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, can increase androgen levels, which can lead to increased body and facial hair in women. In many cases, hormonal imbalances can be managed with medical guidance, once they’ve been diagnosed. While this will not eliminate body hair, it can help keep unwanted hair growth under control.
The bottom line: As unpleasant as it is, it is biologically impossible to naturally have both a luxurious mane and smooth legs.
Understanding discomfort with body pilosity
Yet, despite understanding the true connection with hairy legs and long manes, many women still beat themselves up for their body hair. Many feel they are not feminine enough if their legs are not smooth. This pressure can lead to feelings of insecurity and inadequacy as women try to reduce their body hair. It isn’t uncommon for women to describe their smooth legs as desirable, and want to hide the same legs when they have natural hair growth on them.
This is precisely where effective hair removal techniques play a significant role in an individual’s self-esteem. Believe it or not, but hair removal is not a new trend. Over the centuries, hair removal techniques have evolved significantly. In ancient civilizations, women used primitive tools like seashells or flint stones to scrape away unwanted hair.
As societies progressed, many cultures developed unique methods, such as the use of pumice stones by ancient Egyptians or early wax recipes including beeswax and sugar. Yet, these methods were not only time-demanding but the results were also temporary.
With technological advancements, modern hair removals solutions can offer convenience and long-lasting results, such as laser hair removals as specialist salons like Infinity Laser Spa. It is important, as more and more women are looking into permanent hair removal, to entrust the process to a professional provider.
Effective hair removal solutions become essential, not just in a quest for beauty, but in the quest for emotional well-being and self-esteem for many women. Additionally, it is worth noting that more and more men are looking into removing body hair too for aesthetic reasons.
The impact of ineffective hair removal
In the pursuit of hairless skin, many may choose to turn to DIY methods that can prove to be ineffective and harmful. Shaving, for example, may seem more convenient. However, in the long term, it can lead to skin rashes and ingrown hair, causing discomfort and further exacerbating body image issues.
Waxing, another popular method, can result in painful skin bumps and irritation in the hands of an amateur.
Besides, the repeated use of some hair removal methods can have counterproductive effects, increasing hair pilosity or leading to coarser hair growth, which creates a vicious cycle of discomfort and shamefulness.
The evolution of hairstyle and hair management
Managing hair growth is a challenge that every woman faces, both in terms of body pilosity and mane. As such, the adoption of short hairstyles by women was a move designed to challenge expectations on hair growth. Short hairstyles have frequently been seen as revolutionary and rebellious decisions against conventional gender norms. In the early 20th century, the bob haircut challenges traditional ideas of femininity, signifying women’s liberation and independence. This acted as a catalyst, encouraging women to question their hair quest and their definition of femininity. If a woman with short hair can remain attractive, why couldn’t a woman who doesn’t shave her body hair feel just as attractive?
Gradually, hair growth, whether through short hairstyle or challenging smooth legs standards, are becoming a symbol of liberation and self-expression. More importantly, this movement also promotes a new idea that can benefit society as a whole: Personal hair choices should be respected and embraced, regardless of gender.
In recent times, men with long hair have also faced gender-based stereotypes, often being perceived as effeminate or nonconformist.
However, these hair-related stereotypes are gradually being shattered as people embrace diverse choices and express themselves authentically.
Celebrating diversity in hair care
As we move towards a more inclusive and accepting society, it becomes crucial to celebrate the diversity of hair care choices. Long hair and short hair, body hair and hairless skin are all valid expressions of personal identity. By questioning and challenging long-established beauty standards individuals are making room for diversity. More important, at the heart of diversity comes the role of non-judgemental choices, which means that all choices are equal.
Diversity non-only embraces individual preferences, but also smashes societal gender expectations surrounding hair and body hair. It is essential to recognize these stereotypes for what they are and challenge them, accepting that hair does not define one’s gender identity.
Yet, while things are changing, gender bias remains. Men with long hair are perceived by society as attractive and confident. Comparatively, the same society frequently struggles with men who remove their body hair, believing them to be less masculine and strong. The belief that hair care and hair removal should be limited to women still has a negative impact. While men’s hair care, both head and body, has traditionally been more straightforward, recent trends have shown an increase in men adopting longer hairstyles and grooming practices.
Individuals, regardless of the gender they identify with, should not feel pressured to make hair choices based on what external observers may expect. Baby steps, but things are already moving in the right direction nonetheless.
The psychological impact of hair that nobody talks about
Hair management and hair removal decisions can have a profound psychological impact on individuals. Indeed, hair is tightly connected to your identity and your self-expression. As such, it comes as no surprise that, while many men and women fight against gender-biased expectations to express themselves, many choose to embrace these expectations to reveal their true gender identity. For instance, someone who was born male and is comfortable with this gender, may choose to grow their hair as a fashion statement. On the other hand, someone who was born male but identifies as a woman will choose to grow their hair as a celebration of their female identity.
In other words, hair preferences can mean absolutely anything. But they will only foster a sense of empowerment and self-confidence when they align with an individual’s inner beliefs.
Gender expectations surrounding both hair and body hair, have been deeply ingrained in society worldwide. It becomes crucial to understand that while a part of the population is confident in challenging stereotypes and recognizing hair choices as aspects of individuality and self-expression, challenging gender stereotypes can deeply affect those who question their birth gender. Visual gender stereotypes, such as smooth legs and long hair for women, or high body pilosity and short hair for men, can act as empowering cues along someone’s transitioning journey. So perhaps, the real question is not whether or not one should embrace or reject stereotypes when it comes to hair, but instead whether there is still a need for a unique beauty standard?
In conclusion, hair management is a tricky subject that is often associated with feelings of embarrassment, gender identity, and socially-accepted norms. With the tools and solutions available to us, it seems clear that we can do whatever we want with hair growth, except perhaps for solving hair growth problems in baldness patterns. Yet, beauty through body hair and manes needs to become more inclusive and subjectives. It needs to be a safe place for all, regardless of gender identity, beauty aspirations, and health conditions. Can we, as a society, be mature enough to stop splitting hairs about hair?