By Megan Murray
Recently, a friend of mine put this link up on her FB page. For those who don’t want to go through the website due to personal beliefs or if you don’t want to scratch your head until it bleeds, I will give you the quick and dirty. Someone, posted a picture of a Sikh woman with facial hair on a website.
Yes, she has facial hair. She is absolutely unapologetic about it. She is a Sikh and She explains “However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body – it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will.”
Now, I know this could bring up a lot of religious and political implications, but I want to talk about this purely from a beauty–related place.
We currently live in a culture where body hair is seen as some kind of moral failing. Body hair is considered “dirty” and must be eradicated. We use blades, caustic chemicals, hot wax and other torture devices to get rid of it. Facial hair is an even worse crime against humanity. Not only do you have to get rid of your facial hair, you have to do so in a very prescribed manner. HEAVEN FORBID you decide to use a razor!
I have been fighting the battle of hair removal for a very long time. I am from the mixed Caucasian ethnicity tribe. So, basically, butt-white skin with black body hair that renders even weed whackers useless. I can shave my legs at 7:00 am and by 7:03 am I have stubble. I can get my eyebrows waxed on Tuesday and by Friday, I am perilously close to rocking the Bert. I am not allowed to have body hair because it is considered dirty and unacceptable. Even men don’t get out of this trauma. My brother who gets 10:00 am stubble had to dry shave one day in high school because of a nun who believed facial hair was the downfall of Western Civilization.
Where do we get this aversion to something we can’t control? A German acquaintance quizzed me on this once. He asked me if I was ashamed of being a mammal. I am ashamed of my hair growth. I have been ashamed of it since I was a little girl. My Middle Eastern and Italian family members have so many stories of people doubting their cleanliness’ and even self- control due to their body hair. If you are hairy you are expected to be on top of it every minute of every day and if you have an off day-well you are offensive.
This woman’s stand is so amazing because she is risking more than a few stares. She is facing economic and societal punishment. Because like it or not, the way you look DOES have an impact on your life. Just go into any work place and see who gets different types of jobs. I probably will never be hired for the type of job I would excel in because of the way I look. This woman is staring down so much more and she looks at the alternative, that would probably give her an easier ride and she says, “ I’m good.”
It must be freeing to accept yourself in such a public way.