Ok guys bear with me here. I have a hard time talking about very personal things. Always have. It took me nearly a year to tell my mom I had started my period, and I only told her because school was over and I could no longer hoard the 10-cent tampons from the bathroom vending machine.
Anyway, today I’m talking about how I embraced my feminism through personal grooming.
I remember in high school when the topic of going bare started being discussed among my circle of friends. It was probably after that one Sex and the City episode where the girls go to L.A. and accidentally get Brazilian waxes. I sort of just sat around and giggled as everyone talked about their lady bits. I guess I had just never thought about doing anything other than some simple grooming, or why it should be done at all.
And then I went to college and started having sex. And it came off. All of it. Before I knew it, that was the norm. I don’t think I knew a single girl who had any pubic hair for a long time. Until I, quite inadvertently, became good friends with the manager at the restaurant I worked at. I walked into one of my classes on the first day and she was there. The class only had about 12 people and was some sort of gender studies class, although I can’t for the life of me remember exactly what the class was about. We started going out to lunch every day after class and struck up a really neat friendship. Throughout this friendship we ended up sharing quite a bit of sex talk. Mostly because she was a lesbian, I was straight, and we were both curious about what it could possibly be like with the opposite sex. One day she asked me what I did with my lady hair. I told her I didn’t have any. She said something along the lines of not understanding why straight girls did that to themselves, that hair was sexy and feminine. I just shrugged and brushed it off as a difference of opinion.
For years I didn’t think of that conversation and continued on in a bare is better fashion. Then, something within this last year changed. There was no big event, I didn’t have some sort of “coming of age” moment, but something definitely changed. I started thinking about myself more and started analyzing some of the things within myself. I came to the realization that I didn’t have any strong feelings regarding grooming styles, but I had just been taught that one way was better a long time ago and I never questioned that.
How crazy, because questioning the accepted realms of femininity and traditional gender roles is kind of something I do. So I asked my husband if he had an opinion. He had only ever seen me one way, and I wanted to know what he thought about a change up. I should have known he would respect my decisions about my body regardless, but I couldn’t help but be a little concerned about what he thought.
Then I went for it; I let things start to grow. I had fun and made shapes; it was an adventure. With every new change I felt more alive, I felt more in control, and I felt more female. And without getting too into the details, my husband loved it. This little change had such an impact on how I viewed myself. I can’t believe how a little patch of hair enlivened my inner feminist. I finally know what my friend was talking about all those years ago.
I, in no way, am trying to imply that to have hair is to be more woman, that would be insanely hypocritical of me. I just know that challenging the status quo made me learn so much about myself and embrace myself in a way I never had before. And taking the time to go in search of what you really like can be a great experience. Hair or no, we should all know what makes us, us.
Brandi is a lawyer in Denver who spends very little time actually lawyering. She can usually be found working for free at a non-profit, hiking up mountains, or bossing her husband around because he made the mistake of asking her for help with his business one time. She’s horribly technologically inept (unless people still use AIM in which case she’s a genius) and takes one bite out of every donut instead of finishing a single donut in its entirety, which is probably a metaphor for something but she hasn’t figured out what it is yet. You can read more from Brandi on her blog, Randi Nickle.