As the world shrinks and global communities come ever closer, newer trends in sociology and modern life become known to more and more people. Technology and high Internet penetration can be attributed with spreading a lot of awareness about key issues that matter to the world. In the current times, feminism and body shape awareness are burning issues that millions of women are debating and opining about.
Modern thought maintains that a woman may wear what she wishes to, without societal pressure to conform to existing beauty standards. A woman may be any shape or size, she may wear short dresses or trousers, and she may go to work or stay at home to care for the family. Most importantly, a woman may not care what others think of her choices and lifestyle, as they are her own choices to make.
In this spirit, more and more women are choosing to ‘remain hairy’ – this implies a state where women do not remove unwanted hair on their bodies. In fact, they do not consider their body hair as unwanted at all. They believe that hair-free, smooth skin is a construct thrust upon them by society and the mass media. Thus, they sport hirsute arms and legs, or even a visible moustache!
While we applaud the spirit of independent thinking and non-conformity to prevailing beauty standards, the reason for removing unwanted hair on the body must be pondered over as well –
1 Body hair traps sweat and grime. The human skin releases sweat and oils, and the process of sweating is necessary to maintain body temperature. When the skin is hairless, the sweat may evaporate in a jiffy. But if there is hair on the surface, the sweat can get trapped in the follicles and dry very slowly. Meanwhile, the skin remains moist and attracts grime and dust.
2 Body hair makes the skin look darker. You may have noticed this before: if you don’t remove the hair from your arms and legs for a few months, a layer of hair grows over the skin and covers your limbs. If you have thick, coarse body hair, the growth is quite visible to others. Now when you remove the unwanted hair, your limbs appear lighter in colour than before.
3 Hair in the armpits can increase body odour. Body hair must also be removed for reasons of personal hygiene, but more to increase your confidence in social settings. Hair in the armpits traps sweat and the area does not dry up quickly because the underarm area is normally covered by clothing or the arms themselves. This soon gives rise to smelly armpits that give a whiff of odour every time you raise your arms.
Thus, removing unwanted hair is not a statement on one’s choices, but a necessary part of personal hygiene.