What could be more sexy than self-acceptance and a good dose of sweat?
I consider myself lucky enough to have a good deal of progressive, feminist friends whom, while not at all always in agreement, are able to talk shop around gender construction and sexism. At a house party last night, I found myself in bed with three women, the conversation centered around body hair. We were all from different backgrounds and cultures (and different generations), which only underscored the potency of what we all believed: the stigma against body hair is ridiculous.
I told them how I had experienced the brutal stares of the public when I went without shaving for some time, and they told me about how often they go without shaving their legs or bikini lines. The common denominator? Despite the uncomfortable looks and “Oh my god, you don’t shave!?” conversations, our advocacy was only further cemented. The idea of conventional femininity is two-fold for me. I have always loved the glamour and pomp of 1940s Hollywood starlets, but I’ve also always seen beauty in women who defy the “acceptable.” Beauty, to me, is the ability to feel comfortable in your own personal aesthetic and to inspire others to feel that way as well. Beauty is not synonymous with skinny or curvy, or hairlessness.
We’ve had tons of discussions about femininity recently — important ones, ones that will no doubt change the global conversation. Talking about Miley Cyrus’ pits, Chinese activist Xiao Melli’s #WomensArmpitHairCompetition, Laverne Cox, and Caitlyn Jenner is just the beginning. But behind closed doors, women all over are fighting against traditional womanhood.
Sometimes, though, it’s not all about the body politic. Sometimes, it’s about pleasure. Beyond the political movement for acceptance, there’s a lot to be said for body hair. It can be a real sexual trigger! So, if we’re talking about breaking gender regulations, we should accept that our bodies aren’t just objects. They’re magnificent kingdoms of pleasure, pheromones, and intimacy. What could be better than exploring your own pleasure? And, what could be more feminist than not policing your body hair according to social standards?
Having body hair means that you’re trapping more sweat (which is oozing with pheromones). According to Today I Found Out, “Thus, the theory goes that because the hair naturally wicks these secretions away from the skin, it allows for better ventilation and a more prominent smell than you’d achieve without it.”
According to WebMD, our genius bodies are all very different. We sniff one another out and decide –via pheromone perception — which bodies we want. Ps: we like the scents of others whose genetic immunity to diseases differs from our own! Pretty romantic, right?
According to one hairy lady over at Nerve.com:
Some people shave their armpits and deodorize a lot. That takes away from one very sexual element: pheromones. For instance, I ride a bike. I shower, and I take care of my hygiene, but I still ride a bike, so I’m going to sweat. The pheromones are there. People will smell that. And I think that’s how I’m going to know whom I’m most sexually compatible with. I don’t like it when people’s natural scent is completely suppressed. I mean, there’s nothing sexy about someone with really bad body odor, but someone who is overly cologned and therefore can’t attach himself or herself to their own body scent might not be the best sexual partner either. People don’t smell like flowers and roses all the time.
I agree! According to The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort, armpit hair is a major part of “excitatory repertoire.” Comfort makes no qualms about that, and neither should you. In my own personal experiences, body hair has definitely been part of that excitement. I would venture to say that there’s something very sexy about not only adoring your lovers’ scent but in accepting one another’s bodies as they naturally are.