The Feminist

By Emma Raymond

My body is covered in hair. In some places it is thin and almost white, barely visible, like on my upper arms and between my breasts. In others it is black and coarse and grows like a weed, untameable and unwelcome.

I try to keep it at bay, by plucking, waxing, shaving and melting it off with a special cream that burns the skin if left on too long. But it always comes back. I’ve heard about permanent solutions - something called electrolysis - but it costs hundreds of pounds that I don’t have. So I keep on, resolute, with my never-ending rituals.

But it is a losing battle; dark pinpricks of hair are always visible on my calves, and my armpits are scratchy to the touch, like sandpaper. My bikini line is never quite ‘beach-ready’.

The feminist in me longs to let it grow free, to throw away my razor and never waste another minute plucking, or another penny on wax strips. But the insecure girl rules, and she is repelled by the sight of it. She longs for the impossibly smooth, tanned skin of a Victoria’s Secret model.

I’ve calculated how many hours I’ve wasted on hair-removal in my life so far: 930. Hours I could have been writing, or studying for my degree, or relaxing with friends. Hours I could have spent at the beach, instead of just preparing for it.

I know the rational thing would be to stop and use my time for more important things. And yet, compulsively, I keep on: ripping out and scraping off this natural part of my body, wherever I find it, relishing the sting and the bare flesh left behind.