Erin ‘Egg’ Golden for 'Natural Beauty' by Ben Hopper (2019)
"I was thirteen years old the first time I was told I needed to shave my body hair. Having barely entered puberty I borrowed my mother's razor and dry shaved my legs – not a pleasant outcome. I didn’t understand why I had to do it or why it was unsightly but I was told it was, so I acted ‘accordingly’. I spent the rest of my teenage years shaving my visible body hair, my armpits and my legs and even sometimes my pubic hair – an act that made me even more uncomfortable than the comments I received when I let my body hair grow.
'That’s not very feminine'
'You have hairier legs than your brother!'
'Act like a lady for once'
I couldn’t understand why throughout puberty I was encouraged to be hairless or face not being seen as a woman whilst my younger brother was encouraged and praised on his growing of body hair. It just didn’t make sense. We both had naturally occurring armpit, leg, arm and pubic hair; mine, however, was frowned upon. All women’s body hair seemed to be frowned upon.
Then I realised this discrimination wasn’t a question or gender or identity but a product of social construction, just like women wearing trousers once was. I was most comfortable with my body hair firmly in place not only because I was – and still am – lazy as hell, but also because it was a naturally occurring part of my body, like my eyebrows or my eyelashes. At a young age, we are told to love ourselves for who we are but seems like it has to fit what our community deems acceptable.
My body hair is not an act of rebellion and whilst it does empower me, it is simply the reclamation of my natural form. If this makes me a Gorilla... well, I shall certainly never stop monkeying around."
– Erin ‘Egg’ Golden (2019)