Hairy Diaries – Making Goals, Achieving them and learning

Hairy Diary Entry #2
20 April 

The sun is out! Will the hairy legs come out too?

Not shaving during the winter is not really a new thing for me. The difference this time around is that it because a conscious decision, this is because I started a journey of accepting my own body. So other winters it was just out of laziness, this winter it has been about very consciously choosing to let my hair grow. 

Yesterday (19 april) it was very warm so I decided to wear a dress. A long one. But none the less I could still see my hairy legs! Whilst I waited for my partner in the park I mostly sat crossed legged as I felt self-conscious, this came at the price of pins and needles and I longing looked at men in shorts and how their leg hair just seemed so normal and unprovocative. My biggest fear I think is that I’ll get my pretty legs out and someone will walk by with a friend and nudge the other person and giggle. I shouldn’t care what other people have to say but alas I do. My goal for the coming warmer days is to get my chicken legs out more and see what happens. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 13.10.00.png
Art by me Sara Botero @qitiji

Hairy Diary Entry #3
8 May

They did come out! For a bit..

It has been two weeks and a bit and I have experienced quite a bit in my hairy journey. My goal had been to venture out onto the public with hairy legs and I first did this with 3/4 length trousers. I have recently been reading a lot of articles on body hair and the stigma that surrounds it for people who identify as female and the first step to challenging this stigma is to do it ourselves. So my normal reaction is to look at my hairy legs and feel unfeminine and shameful, so instead I have been staring at the mirror or just at my legs and telling my brain that when I look at my bf’s legs I have no negative thoughts instead they are neutral thoughts, I then have tried to apply this same way of thinking to my own body. This is going quite well, yet as soon as I step out of the safety of my own home and step into the brighter outside I stop and look down and I feel the very familiar wave of shame come over which would normally have made me go back inside and put on a longer pair of trousers, but I fight it and carry on. I don’t think anyone noticed or they might have done but they didn’t say anything. My next outing was to the park where it was filled with people due to their being a food festival, this time I wore a dress that came to above my knee and I definitely got some side eye and the most difficult thing was to walk in front of people who are seating down and get a lovely view of my legs. I had a constant feeling of being on guard and wondering if giggles that I heard nearby were directed at me or not. One side of my brain is saying nobody probably cares or notices but the other is thinking about how many times I have seen a woman’s hairy legs out and about, probably three times in my whole life and how there’s a reason for this and how I’m probably being judged right now. All of this got a bit too much so I left the park feeling a bit drained. 

On instagram some people have suggested bleaching the hair so its less noticeable whilst getting used to being out on the town with hair chicken legs but I felt that because I have quite hairy legs it might backfire and accentuate them by glistening in the sun? Wasn’t sure that would work for me so instead I opted to self tan my legs as my hypothesis was that if my legs were so translucent then my dark hairs wouldn’t be so noticeable. However I didn’t think it was a good idea to apply the self tan on my hairy legs as it might turn out blotchy? So I decided to use up the remainder of my depilation cream instead of shaving so the hair wouldn’t grow back so spiky. I had left over cream so I thought I might as well do my armpits. BIG mistake, immediately they started burning so I scraped it off but it carried stinging even after I thoroughly washed if off. Oh the pain! Logically I then added freshly cut aloe vera as it is known to help burns. It helped but for some reason it stained my armpits purple. I know, I know having written all of this down it sounds like madness. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 13.09.49Since then I haven’t done any more acts of hair removal and the self tan has kind of worked I think. The weekend that just went by was bank holiday so we headed to Brighton. My hairs have grown out a little coarser than if I had waxed and they are about 4mm long (yes the ruler did come out).

Whilst there I felt minimal self-consciousness compared to how I would have felt in the past. Being in Brighton helped tho, on the first day that we arrived we had breakfast at the Loving Hut by the park and there was a family and all the members of the family had hairy armpits, as did our AirBnB hostess! I had thought that this was the beginning of weekend of seeing fellow hairy females. This was not to be so as I didn’t spot any other hair females and to be honest I was feeling a little lonely in my quest, that is until we were walking back to the train station to leave and up ahead I spot a woman about my age with shorts and legs as hairy as mine are in their full peak of hairy glory! I saw her again a couple of mins later and we shared a smile. 

This fellow hairy human really lifted my spirits as I had now seen three hairy fellow peeps! This helps massively because sometimes I feel like I am a hairy freak and just seeing someone who is as hairy as me looking 100% at home with their body combats the negative perceptions that are present. In our life time we probably have seen 100’s of thousands of images of what women should look like and so that 1 positive experience acts like a little ray of hope. 

Below I will link the articles which I have recently read:

https://feminisminindia.com/2017/04/12/stigma-body-hair/

http://feministing.com/2016/08/02/complicating-female-body-hair-consent-gender-violence-and-feminism/

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