Armpits, Legs and Arms: Can The Middle East Accept Body Hair On Women?

When thinking of a beautiful woman, our brains visualize someone slim, with nice luscious hair, and most importantly, baby-smooth skin with no body hair.

The phrase “your skin will feel as smooth as a baby’s butt” has become somewhat common when recommending a new hair removal technique. But here’s the thing, we’re not babies anymore. 

We’re grown Middle Eastern women, known for our thick, long dark hair, but that hair is only celebrated when coming out of our scalps. 

From before we even hit puberty, our facial hair starts growing wild, our eyebrows and mustaches start having a life of their own and if not tamed, we’re met with stares and judgemental looks. And our moms are met with “why don’t you take her to the salon?” or “why are you leaving her so unkept?”

One of the very first “adult” conversations we each had with our mothers is about the importance of waxing. “Clean,” “smell good” and “girly” are some of the words they would use to justify the unbearable pain our young 11-year-old selves would experience while they’re waxing us.

So we grow up with these ideas embedded in our brains. Body hair means you’re not clean and you always need to be as smooth as humanly possibly, even if that means irritating your sensitive skin.

Thick hair starts to take over our bodies, which usually leaves us irritated. We start feeling like men, because in our heads only they are allowed to have body hair. We doubt our femininity and wish we were born elsewhere to a different race, where their hair is blond and light, and body hair is not even something they worry about.

And you wait for winter eagerly, because it’s the only time you don’t have to obsess over your ever-growing body hair, and you can finally go out without rushing to the razor and shave whatever hair has grown over the past 24 hours.

With it being beach season and us gravitating towards tiny swimsuits to keep the tan lines to a minimum, the conversation regarding body hair is opened once again. With girls starting every day with their razors and wasting precious time spent relaxing or socializing in the bathroom, we start to notice how dangerous this obsession with body hair is.

Will the Middle East ever leave a woman be? “My body my choice” has been a phrase used when it comes to situations of sexual assault, but it applies to everything. A woman’s body is hers to whatever she pleases with, regardless of society’s expectations.

A woman is more than what others think of her and more than the mold society has forced her into. Allow her to have a choice in her own body without judgement.

We’re pushing for equality and that means equality in all aspects, including body hair. If a man’s body hair is no cause for stares, then why is a woman’s?

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