Guest Post by Dana Sukontarak
Last night, I came across an article about why women should have their vaginas waxed before birthing a baby. After reading the title, I was certain it would be a parody article, a way to explore the many ways women are held to ridiculous and brutalizing beauty standards. Much to my chagrin, it was not. This woman really believed waxing your nether regions was a warm-hearted courtesy to the delivering doctor and any onlookers, as well as a “non-negotiable” for all women.
The author compares it to brushing your teeth before seeing the dentist. I’m sure if a bloody, 8 lb. baby were preparing to smash its way out of your body by way of your mouth, it wouldn’t matter if you brushed. It also wouldn’t matter if you had a little mustache hair. Just saying.
For a split second, I did sit here, contemplating my prickly pubes and my long hair with split ends to my scalp and my dirt-encrusted, two-years-unpainted fingernails and my 25-year-old ghost town of a womb—wondering if I really am a woman. A woman wouldn’t wear sandals without a pedicure. A woman doesn’t fart (and laugh about it). A woman would never consider letting a medical professional deliver her baby while there were unsightly scraps of (gasp!) hair around. I’m no expert in childbirth, but I’m pretty sure your pubic hair won’t be a topic of conversation at all—it will probably also be the least gross thing anyone sees that day. It’s pretty unlikely any of your Twitter followers will happen into your delivery room and start a hashtag about #YourDisgustingPubicHair.
This is what I want for women—to consider the bigger picture of all things. Will a freshly-waxed vagina in the delivery room really help you, or the doctor, or any women? If anything, it will only help perpetuate the mannequin standards we unfairly impose on women, ourselves included. A woman who is preparing to bring life into the world deserves a back massage and crudité platter, not to have her pubic hairs ripped out at the root so that no one is possibly offended.
What I want for women is to take pride in our bodies while still understanding that our bodies are not the true essence of us. They are temporary, they are fragile, they are ever-changing. The more you realize how fleeting the physical is, the more things shift into perspective. Pubic hair is no biggie.
What I really want for women is for us to broaden our ideas of beauty. Why is body hair gross? Because we said it is, and now it is? Why should we aspire to having a Barbie waist and a really big, somehow undimpled and unrippled ass? Why do any of us pay to enlarge the sacks of mammary fat we carry around? Why is it preferable to some women to pay hundreds of dollars for someone else’s hair, than to wear their own? Who decided which looks better? Our opinions can’t help but be influenced by society’s prevailing beliefs—unless we are aware of the forces at work and mindful of how we interact with them.
That said, wax if it makes you feel better about yourself, but at least think about why that would make you feel good in the first place—and whether you would feel like less of a woman if you didn’t.
I’m one hell of a woman, if I do say so myself. Hairy, too.
Dana Sukontarak is 25 years old and lives in Hyattsville, Md. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2012 with a B.A. in Journalism. She enjoys reading fiction, writing non-fiction, and learning about the world.
Blogs: www.danasukontarak.blogspot.com, 50 Books in 2014, small suggestions