I said I’d return to the subject of hair and I have, but this time I also talk about the hair that’s not just on our head. And no photos this week *coughs delicately*!
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and hair has to be a feminist issue, it covers our head, but it’s also about ideals of femininity and womanhood. Hence the current debate on grey hair; as in, no, it’s not a harbinger of our impending ageing, instead it’s great (and almost sexy) to be grey. But why have that debate anyway? Why don’t we just colour our hair whatever shade we want? Is it society? Is it the male gaze that makes us fretful about our hair? Well, yes, I would say. One journalist has even described hair in the west as the veil of the western woman – we ‘wear’ a hairstyle, we style it and we (and that’s both men and women) judge it.
And then there is the hair on our body. I don’t know if you are aware of this but there is quite a debate going on about this. One article I read recently said we should embrace our armpit, leg and pubic hair and leave it be. Well, that’s OK, as far as one’s pubic hair goes. If you’re old enough to have been shaved down there before giving birth, the regrowth …, stubble, no, no, and waxing’s not much better. But the funniest article I’ve read for a long time was on dyeing one’s grey beaver! And I’m not referring to the beavers that are needed to build dams in the Somerset Levels. And in case you think I’m getting smutty can I say that this article comes from the Tatler (via Invisible Woman on Twitter). After reading it, was speechless at the inanity, or indeed desperation, of those who think that the colour of one’s lady garden actually matters.
But I often think that these articles, which take the view let it all hang out from our armpits and everywhere else, are never written from an angle that excess hair might actually be a wee bit of a problem.
What did my mother say to a teased teenager who had long, luxurious, wavy hair all over her legs (yes, I really did), ‘don’t shave your legs, dear’. Reader, I shaved and for the next 10 years shaved more and more – because, you have to – what an effort. No worries, I discovered waxing, but I don’t read many articles about, actually, leg waxing might be a necessity rather than a fashion statement.
Then there’s the down on my face, (now don’t read on if you’re easily embarrassed or cannot accept the reality of the lives that women lead). I got this from my mother, and it’s not that noticeable, only in certain lights. And, my mother, bless her, if I close my eyes I can smell that Helena Rubenstein face powder she put on with a swans down powder puff, the delicate tendrils of which were echoed in the soft fair down that covered her skin. Well, how lovely, you might think, but not so to the teenager I was, with the self same down on her face. And when told ‘Don’t pluck those hairs, dear, they’ll go dark’, people, I did and…… Not to worry, I found that thing called electrolysis. But again, I don’t read many articles on how it isn’t that good to have dark hairs on your chin – unless that is, it’s a kind of condescending acknowledgement that older women might suffer from this. Er, no, teenagers can have those long hairs on their chins as well.
It seems to me that there are a whole host of opinions out there about what we ought to be doing with the hair on our head and our body. Personally, I think you should be doing whatever makes you feel OK. And perhaps we do a little maintenance here and there, but never more than what’s necessary, whatever that is for you. And that’s all we need to do.
But you may think differently to me, what do you think?
The Frugal Fashion Shopper
P.S. I was ever so pleased to see one of my fave journalists, Hadley Freeman, saying the exact same thing this week – that it’s up to us to decide whether or not to have that Brazilian!
P.P.S I’ve been so exceedingly frugal these past weeks that I haven’t bought much at all – but we’ll back to clothes and fashion next week, for sure!