Body hair, body odour and drawings of breasts [NSFW illustrations]

It's undeniable that people in western cultures are forced encouraged to spend a massive amount of time fussing over making their bodies less... body-like. Women specifically are encouraged to completely remove the majority of our body hair; coat ourselves in perfumes, scented soaps, "deodorants;" prevent signs of natural aging like wrinkles and grey hairs... essentially, we're taught that being human is bad grooming - hell, some people even go so far as to call the natural human state "unhygenic."

It's a pretty popular topic in feminist/gender circles, for obvious reasons.

You don't have to look too hard to find people waxing poetic about how the natural state of being - hairy, "smelly," with natural "flaws," - is beautiful. You don't have to look too hard to find people passionately writing about how knowing someone's natural scent is intimate and beautiful. You don't have to look to far to see people fighting against the perception that human bodies are naturally "dirty" and need to be tidied on a regular basis.

Once you get over the stigmas tied to body odor, you actually learn that they are erotic and contain pheromones that are meant to attract others. That’s why you have body hair in places where your body is fragrant, to trap the scent. People who shave their pits, coat themselves with toxic deodorants and anti-perspirants, and wear perfumes or body sprays are missing out on a significant aspect of sexual relations with people. Learning someone’s smell is a very natural way of connecting with them. [...] Businesses don’t like that, though, because they can’t sell you a scent you produce naturally. [...] (Click for full)

And they have a point. All this pressure to look and smell perfect is... frankly, annoying. Some days I'm just too fucking lazy to shave my legs. Some days it's hot out and I can't help it that I get sweaty. At some points in my menstrual cycle my natural odour is stronger, but there's no way in hell am I letting a douche or "feminine cleansing cloth" get near my pussy. Sometimes I forget to check if my eyebrows need to be shaped. And you know what? That's okay. Bodies shouldn't be considered disgusting. It's weird to convince people that their normal state of existence is offensive and gross, and for sure a big motivation for that attitude is companies seeking profit by playing off insecurities.

On the other hand, I see no reason to judge people for choosing to heavily groom themselves. It just swings the pendulum in the opposite direction. It reminds me of the skinny vs curvy "debate." I know what people are getting at when they say things like, "Real women have curves!" but I sometimes feel like I'm the only person who realizes statements like that are equally damaging as the perception that the only way to be attractive is to be very slim. It's fantastic to challenge the beliefs that women have to be completely smooth and smell like flowers before a man will touch them, but it's just as bad to imply that people are ignorant or being coerced if they choose to follow conventional grooming practices. That they have unsatisfying sex lives if they shave their arm pits. That they don't experience real intimacy if they wear deodorant.

I also dislike like the argument based around, "If it grows [or happens], it's there for a reason" because if you know anything about evolution you know it's patently not true. And, in that case, shouldn't we use the same logic to apply to all out bodily matters? Stop brushing our teeth because it's unnatural? Stop wearing sunscreen because it's unnatural? Stop combing our hair because it's unnatural? Clearly not. There are plenty of things our bodies do naturally that are actually detrimental, or at least completely neutral. And we, being a clever sentient species, have the power to change these things on a whim in the name of health, practicality or aesthetics.

For the same reason a person may dye their hair green, I shave my legs. For the same reason a person may get a tattoo, I wear deodorant. I don't think body hair or body odour is gross or unpleasant in any way - just as a person dying their hair doesn't think their natural hair colour is gross, or a person getting a tattoo doesn't think their bare skin is unpleasant. I do it because I like the results. I have very little problem smelling and looking "natural," but I would much prefer to have skin that is smooth to touch and an armpit that smells like a tasty strawberry, coconut and vanilla dessert.

What I do have a problem with is people being ostracized for how they choose to groom themselves. Whether it be a woman being called "not a feminist" because they wax their pubes, a man being called names for shaving his legs, or a woman being called "disgusting" because they don't wear deodorant or keep their armpit hair long. That shit is not cool, in any form. Keep your preferences to yourself, and let people act according to their own. How they look or smell has no lasting effect on your life, but pressuring people to groom themselves in a specific way does affect their lives - and in a negative way.

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Body hair, body odour and drawings of breasts [NSFW illustrations]
  1. So...I thought I made a stupid comment earlier about how this post makes me feel better about my explosive growths of nose-hair...but it didn't seem to stay.

    Oh well. Yeah, nose-hairs; Peter Rabbit might be hiding up there somewhere but I can't convince my wife that the naturalness does anything to make them less disgusting.

  2. >:( I think Blogger has been having trouble with its embedded comments recently...

    T and I both have a few visible nose hairs, but I can't be arsed to do anything about it since I got out of high school. Just one more annoyance I don't want to care about. :P

    The only body hair I really don't like is back hair and ear hair.

    Ear hair is freakin' weird.

  3. Thanks for this post. It makes me feel better about not having shaved for about two weeks. In fact, I feel good enough to change into some shorts.

  4. Loved this! Interesting points, and "an armpit that smells like a tasty strawberry, coconut and vanilla dessert.", gave me a good LOLLy.

  5. Haha, it's true! I use "spiced vanilla" body wash, strawberry deodorant, coconut perfume, and fruity-berry shaving cream.

    I am a delicious gourmet dessert :3


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