I am what I am

I am what I am

By Arushi Kothari (Year I) 

She could have remembered the hot, almost boiling wax on her skin, or the feel of the strip being pulled. The pain was excruciating. But that is not what she remembers the most. She remembers how confident she felt about her body. How she felt she could wear anything and not be ashamed. And for once in her life she was not ashamed, she was proud.

Removal of body hair through the use of wax started in ancient Egypt where the wife of the Pharaoh set the example of a smooth and hairless body being considered as the epitome of beauty, youth and innocence. The invention of the bikini popularized the concept of waxing, and soon upper class women who had money to spare for beauty treatments were making use of this method of body hair removal.

But the real question is- how did waxing go from an expensive choice to a necessity? The most common notion is that more and more men demanded their partners to wax before intercourse. The need for hygiene was attached to justify their demand. So, essentially a waxed woman was considered a hygienic woman. Therefore, concluding from this assumption only, can we say unwaxed men are unhygienic? No, because waxing is only for women, as most people (read men) say. Can anybody smell a double standard?

A girl in today’s world who does not go through the oh-so-important process of waxing is mostly considered weird. Her chances of getting a boyfriend are basically nil and she is either branded as a ‘behenji’ or as a ‘wimp’. But nobody dares to tell a hairy guy “Dude, do something about it”. Similarly a woman with some weight around the stomach and thighs is told to thin down but who bothers to tell those pot-bellied mama’s boys that they need to watch their weight, forget about losing it?

Agreed, some metro sexual men do opt for hair removal procedures, yet they are still a very small proportion of those men out there. So, why do we categorize a woman on what is essentially a personal choice? Why does she feel more confident after she gets herself all “dolled” up? It’s because we, as a society, have set impossibly high and exacting standards of feminine beauty, one where a girl looks in the mirror everyday and hates herself a little more until her self-loathing gets to a point where she stops looking in the mirror at all.

Social expectations from a woman are endless. Look pretty, obey, excel, be gentle, laugh like a girl and so much more. It is these social expectations that lead to body image issues where a woman judges herself through somebody else’s eyes. She is made to feel that she won’t be accepted as God made her, she will have to take the help of human inventions to make her beautiful.

So why not set new standards today? If they say (read men) that waxing is all about hygiene, let’s tell them that we care for them too. Yes, let men wax too. I’m ALL for cleanliness and sanitation.

Curvy women won’t do. Unwaxed women won’t do. Dark skinned women won’t do. Well let me tell you, from now on hypocritical men won’t do!

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