It’s not news that in today’s society the pressure to be beautiful is at an all time high.
“Beautiful” “desirable” and “perfect” are no longer just words or compliments but definitions we strive for like careers. Time, money, pain and anxiety all expended on this “pretty pressure”.
Whether the pressure comes from others, the media or ourselves – there’s no doubt it’s there and it’s increasing.
A woman should be thin but curvy, tan with no upper lip fuzz. Her eyebrows should be have perfectly sculpted, her skin soft and nails long. She should be fit yet not too muscly.
But above all ladies, don’t forget to be yourself…. oh hang on you’re doing it wrong….
Secretly we envy the women who loudly and proudly ‘rebel’ against these stereotypical definitions of beauty. We applaud these women for doing what we all should be doing – what we used to do before weight obsession and creating the perfect facade became almost all-defining and soul consuming.
Because now beauty does have a price.
I met up with my girlfriend for a coffee the other day which somehow resulted in no coffee and me accompanying her to a laser hair removal consult.
I’ve never seriously considered getting brazilian laser treatment or any part of my body lasered for that matter. I’ve always lumped it in the “too expensive for me to even think about” category.
As we sat across from the specialist, I flicked through the brochure. Between the pictures of slim, tanned, gorgeous hair free ladies and the consultant’s running commentary the idea started to become more and more enticing.
My friend cajoled encouraging “you should get it done to” “I really don’t know why we haven’t already, so many people do” “Just do it”.
And thus started something that provoked more thought, anxiety, pressure, internal debate and self love questions than it really warrants.
As we sat across from the consultant, Nicole* whose teeth were almost as white as the walls, floor, chairs, table.. (you get the drift) both Nicole and my friend started to get me really hyped at the idea.
Life with a hair free vajayjay. Joyous! I wouldn’t have to worry about it ever again. Why stop there? Why not my entire body? (apart from the cost of course, but for complete hairlessness forever and always I’d almost give my left limb, first child & brand new I-phone). I would look great! Finally.
The offer on the reduced treatment was finishing up in several days time so the pressure was on.
Nicole informed me (several times may I add) I could “nip home and prepare the area” as appointments for the afternoon had opened up – and had she mentioned it comes with a complementary underarm laser treatment to?
By this stage I was sitting there sweating profusely. Struggling between the allure of looking amazing, having a hairless body, the cost, the thought of pain and my inability to make hasty decisions.
Their chatter became background noise as I internally battled. I reasoned with myself – it will cost $$$ for the 10 sessions but … beauty! Hairlessness! It’s really quite a reasonable trade. Internally I battled with the pros and cons. Then my mind drifted to the pieces of writing I had read lately. Pieces by women like Brene Brown, Melissa Ambrosini, Em Rusciano, Lena Dunham, Miranda Kerr, Sam Murphy, Erin Brown and the women at Mamamia (just to name a few). I suddenly felt silly.
I wouldn’t be getting the treatment for me. Not at all. I’d be getting it done because I thought I should. I’d be doing it to mould myself to fit society’s ideal image and tick the boxes on what makes a woman desirable. An ideal I obviously believed and almost promoted by constantly giving in to it. That hair is gross, unnatural, unfeminine and unsexy. But I wanted to be seen as sexy – who doesn’t? In it’s most basic breakdown I’d be getting it done to please some future man/boyfriend who I hadn’t even met yet.
But what would a permanently hair free vagina really do for my life? Would it enrich it? Would it make me a better person? Would it make me happy? No.
The money it would cost could go towards so much more than caving to this pressure I put on myself driven by our culture’s projection of what makes someone beautiful.
So I walked out.
Who knows, I might reconsider when I’m in a place where I love my body as it is. Flaws and all. When I wouldn’t be doing it to fill the self love void with yet another treatment that promises to make me “beautiful”. The difference is slight, yet tremendous.
Like 100% of the female population – I have hair and I’m okay with that.