Hair Today, Not Gone Tomorrow

15/08/2012 17:22 BST | Updated 15/10/2012 10:12 BST

Hair's where it's at these days.

Suddenly, women's body hair is the focus of media attention. While some might argue that there are other issues that should be explored in more detail (the failing economy, for example, or political corruption), in fact body hair is of much importance, because it shows how objectified women still are and how much pressure there is on women to look a certain way. And this is rather hair-raising.

Many women say that they don't feel comfortable with their bodies unless they are neatly hair-free. Who or what has made women feel this way? Years of pressure on them - mostly by men, but then also continued by women themselves, who are unfortunately very good at policing each other - have made women feel that their bodies are not acceptable in their natural state.

I have heard from many women that their partners have told them that they'd look better and be more sexually appealing with Brazilian waxes or smooth legs or thinner brows or hairless upper lips, and this is quite depressing because it suggests that some relationships are much more superficial than one would like to believe. How is it acceptable in any way to tell your girlfriend that you'll leave her unless she is completely bare down there? What does it say about your feelings for her? What does it say about you as a person, if hair is such a big concern?

While some of this discussion on body hair is anecdotal, other evidence is building. A number of gynaecologists and obstetricians say how surprised they are by the increase in naked vulvas they see. This suggests that even while preparing to give birth, women are busy worrying that a doctor might be disgusted by the vision of a baby pushing through a hairy bush; doctors, one would like to believe, have better things on their minds.

And indeed, doctors are beginning to warn about some of the dangers of hair removal. Here on The Huffington Post UK, Dr Emily Gibson wrote recently about the purpose of pubic hair for both men and women and how grooming it to excess can actually cause problems.

Some women claim that they simply "like" or "enjoy" the process of shaving and the way their bodies look and that it has nothing to do with society promoting the idea of beautiful, hair-free women. However, those women conveniently forget that they are culturally conditioned to prefer themselves without hair.

Even Cherry Healey's valiant effort, chronicled here in the HP, to go without shaving found her longing desperately for her razor. And what's more, when she asked other women what they thought about her naturally hairy body, she received mostly negative feedback. Strange how people care so much about something that actually is none of their business, doesn't affect them or impinge upon their lives, and really doesn't contribute to the world in any major way (okay, so if hair were less important to us, a few electrolysists might go out of business; big deal, they can learn new trades and contribute to society in other ways).

There are so many better things that we can be spending our time, money, and energy on. As long as people are healthy and hygienic and happy, who cares if they shave their armpits or get waxes?

If women didn't spend so much time plucking, trimming, shaving, waxing, lasering, and electrolysing their body hair in order to meet some sort of unhealthy ideal, they'd have plenty more time and energy to devote to helping to solve some of the more important issues that face us.

You know, like fixing the economy, and getting rid of all the ways in which women are oppressed.