Few days ago, I read a statement in Grazia (British fashion& gossip magazine) saying that women can relax because it is now “allowed” NOT to have a Brazilian – now we may leave a stripe of hair down there. This had left me strange feeling: I wondered who has the right to dictate how that what I have between my legs should look like. And then, I grabbed Spiegel, Germany’s highly respected political magazine, to find a three page article about the newest fashion dictatorship of body-hair removal. And yesterday, I had a body-hair discussion with two female friends. The topic was sparked by our visit to a newly opened, stylish and expensive waxing studio. We were all surprised to see the price list was divided in two identically big halves: women and men. Which made me angrily protest (again) against men depilating their body hair. Men with moderate body hair are sexy – hair gives them the manly touch that clearly differentiates them from women. There is something gayish (yeah, call it meterosexual if you like), insecure, even childish to shaved chest. And then there is something very uncharming to it when it starts growing and turns into tiny black, unattractive, stubbing spikes. Why the hell would you ever do that to yourself? Have women really been so successful in hiding the pains of hair removal and hair re-growth? Maybe we made a mistake – had we confronted men with our legs, arm pits, bikini-zones and arms full of black stubby hair, maybe they wouldn’t have been so stupid to start depilating their bodies. But let’s get serious here. The discussion about the removal of male chest-hair is not a discussion about a beauty norm or personal preference. It is a discussion about manipulation, about distraction, about consumerism, about fake liberty. In today’s world, when we are rapidly tuning towards living in “The Brave New World” or “Matrix”, the discussion about male body hair is a very important discussion.
Men depilating their body-hair is yet another step towards continuously blurring boarders between sexes. With the identities of the sexes invisible and roles completely androgynous, the natural fundament of our society will be crashed. When men are no longer men and women are no longer women, one more fundament, one more orientation, one more natural-law will have disappeared. And nothing new will come to replace it. While men used to be strong, hairy and concerned with how to win the next battle and secure the survival of their family, now they are slim, smooth and concerned with which bottle of skin conditioner to buy. Something is foul here.
And then there is this pathologic need to “take things into our hands” which the post-modern society managed to train us into. Just as the neo-liberal capitalistic system managed to free us from all traditional values and rules in order to establish greed as the only valuable rule, it managed to make us feel free and responsible to reshape every single aspect of our being. It is that self-realisation aspect in which it is not the nation, the social class or the education that are responsible for our success and our life-stories – it is only and exclusively us and how we manage ourselves and our lives. The neo-liberal capitalism gave us the right, which has then unfortunately turned into a painful obligation, to construct and shape every single aspect of our existence, including our body hair. While this can be liberating and fun, it can also be frustrating and exhausting. And here’s the real danger – concerned with shaping ourselves and our lives, we cannot be concerned with shaping the world we live in.
Taking things into your hands can turn into a problem, when the “things” are not important and when the re-shaping process turns into a process of enslaving instead of liberating. Look at what happened with women: For generations, feminists have been fighting against treating women as objects which can be shaped and used however men, or the society, wants it. Unfortunately, today women have turned into objects more then they have ever been. They are literally blackmailed by the existence of a new virtual woman presented by the media: the Bimbo. She is airbrushed, siliconised and liposucted, über-naturally slim and toned, with huge breasts, plumped lips, not a trace of cellulites, body-hair, brain or any other natural “imperfections”. The appearance of Bimbo resulted with naturally beautiful women feeling frustrated, insecure and unhappy. It resulted in a rocketing rise in eating disorders, deaths through anorexia, plastic surgeries and of course, bought cosmetic products and services. But what is even worse, it resulted in women wasting an incredible amount of time and energy on their looks. And we all know that today, more then ever, there are more important things to be occupied with than looks.
And because half of the market cannot be enough, now it is men’s turn to become victims. Have their ego crashed and have them waste money on cosmetics and have them waste their time figuring out the newest depilation techniques! Sheep like that are much easier to manipulate. The male Bimbo is already a reality. Open any magazine and you will find a six-packed, completely shaved, wrinkle and grey-hair-free Ken smiling at you, selling you one of the newest products.
Finally, there is the hidden agenda to create a complete dissatisfaction with anything we are born with. Because if you are unsatisfied with everything you are born with, and if you believe you must take things into your hands to change it and shape it the way magazines told you it should be, you will be a fantastic consumer of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and various services such as waxing, hair colouring and breast-enhancing. It seems to work. Today, leaving anything untouched and unchanged seems like a proof of failure or weakness. And being unhappy with yourself is good: self-secure and strong people might rebel. We seem to be safe from this: After you’ve spent 10 hours in the office, 2 in the gym and 1 reading about the newest diet, you will not have the capacity to notice the socio-economic system crashing, rich getting richer and the environment being poisoned to the point of no return. And even if you do, you will be way too tired to try and change anything.
This is why male body hair is important: To learn to love ourselves just the way we are. And to start working on improving the world rather then our unimportant little asses.