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Body / December 30, 2021

In 2016, you wouldn’t think of addressing body hair that naturally grows, yet the continuous negative stigmas and harmful stereotypes have brought more issues to light than just the “look, ” or shaming women who choose not to shave, but bring forth internalized damaging emotions to girls and women who feel they have to shave in order to be “accepted, ” among society.

Lately images of the female genitalia have surfaced with captions (usually by males) stating aspects such as “What do you think about her vagina, ” if she had hair, or other pictures would shame a woman who had visible razor bumps followed by the degrading comments from other male counterparts of the typical “That’s disgusting, ” or “I wouldn’t want to sleep with that, ” Meanwhile men are praised for their beards, hair, and have large amounts of hair perturbing on their private areas, yet it becomes “disgusting, ” when a woman naturally grows hair, and decides to embrace her body. The normalization of body hair on men creates self-consciousness of the already tremendous amounts women have to endure in order to be considered “beautiful, ” including make-up, weight loss, and being silent about natural bodily function such as menstruation and vaginal discharge. Women have a right to make their own choices in regards to their lifestyle and especially their bodies. Women are not for the consumption of males and don’t need to live for the approval of others. The body is the temple, in which would should be content and comfortable in, not be confined to expectations and exploited for societal comfort.

By Shaunese Johnson, AFROPUNK contributor

1. All vaginas are different.

The vagina comes in various shapes, sizes, forms, and colors. No, your vagina will not look like the pornstar’s you watched last night, it doesn’t mean it’s “abnormal, ” or needs to be altered. Self-love begins by appreciating your body, regardless of the perceptions of others. Embrace and take care of your vagina, rather you decide to shave or not.

2. You are still feminine with/without hair.

Choosing to have hair, or choosing to shave is not the determining factor of being more or less of a woman. You are a human being, who doesn’t need permission from others to create the definition of what it means to be a “real, ” woman.

3. Ignore internalized misogynist men and other individuals who attempt to shame you.

It’s a difference stating a preference and stating ignorance. A person shouldn’t have to shame others in the process of uplifting another. If you have felt personally attacked by a partner, friend, etc. please be mindful and aware of the energy this person brings into your space. Unfortunately, some people live to shame women who are liberated and don’t try to understand others. Other times lack of knowledge about the body or internalized hate from certain teachings and beliefs.

Body positivity needs to be praised in all types and not just under certain “conditions.” Body hair is natural and isn’t meant to be shamed for women, but worshipped on men. Learning to take charge of your own body and learning what pleases you, is the key to unconditional self-love.

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