I have been sucker for society's beauty standards and it took a pandemic for me to realise how wrong I was about my body hair. These past few months have made me realise the importance of so many things in life and how uncertainties are an inevitable part of life. Suffering of humanity, financial backup, mental health, self-love and family time are some of them. I learnt during this quarantine how to embrace myself without any disdain.
When the nationwide lockdown stopped women from availing beauty parlour services and grow Brooke Shields style bushy eyebrows, for the first time I realised how all these years I have only lived up to fulfilling certain beauty standards because they were set for me.
I have ample body hair and this lockdown made me comfortable with it.
My friends would call me a wolf and keep me tagging in the memes on hairy girls. Pre-COVID-19 scenario was different as I need to visit beauty salons frequently. I used to panic a lot when an unplanned event came in my way for which I wasn't able to remove my body hair. I was always worried about social rejection.
For someone who was shy to go to parties, events, I attended all online meetings and zoom calls without any shyness or feeling weird about my hair. Body hair is natural process and what is natural should not be disgraceful. Why have we young girls been raised to despise our bodies and compare it with some sculpted idea of a woman?
People have a preconceived image of a perfect woman in their minds. Fair, flawless skin, slim and trim body are some of the features of a perfect woman which are propagated by our patriarchal society. And whenever a woman deviates from such features she has to bear criticism and get unsolicited beauty advice from people. "Why don't you use 'besan' to get rid of your hairs?" is a common one my desi aunties have always asked me. "Are you planning laser treatment for your hair because you got so much growth? I go through all these questions on a regular basis."
To visit a beauty salon or not is a personal choice and so is grooming our body. But as we go back to visiting parlours, ask yourself why you are headed there. Is it because someone expects you to? Or because you feel like it. Stop looking yourself with harsh lens of scrutiny of others and accept the real you.
Views expressed are the author's own