So I'm currently watching this show Masaba on Netflix, and yes, I know it came out like a year ago, and everyone loved it, and it was a huge moment for pop culture in South Asian and blah blah blah ( im not with the times, get over it.) and it is AMAZING. I've always loved her outlandish design style and super quirky prints (those of you reading from the west 100% check her shit out @houseofmasaba), but I didn't really know much about her as a person, and now that I do, I may have just the slightest of a girl crush. She's just candid about the messes in life and super open about her sexuality, which is still rare for an Indian celebrity but has still managed to gain so much success over the years. Anyway, before I go on forever about her extreme level of 'coolness,' I want to talk about this one scene where she is doing a collab with a waxing strip company and has to do this promotional video shoot that shows her using the product. 'Logically,' she doesn't wax pre-shoot because there is supposed to be a shot of her waxing her legs, and how can one possibly wax a perfectly smooth leg? Upon zooming into the hair with his camera, the videographer does everything, but gag, firmly tells her that no one wants to see that, and if she doesn't go shave immediately, the product won't sell. You see, he says sex sells and having body hair makes a person un-sexy.
As someone who is exceptionally hairy- shoutout to my other Sindhi Sasquatches out there- this really stuck with me because hair has always been a topic of contention. At the age of 6 or 7, I started getting teased at school and begged my mother to let me wax, and while she firmly said no, she did instead allow me to do the 'egg wash' technique to rid me of some of the most prominent hairs. For those that don't know, the egg wash technique involves spreading raw eggs on your body, waiting for it to dry, and then rubbing in circular motions with a dry cloth to rip out the longest & thickest of hair, and yes, it is a little painful. At 12, I started to get my eyebrows and upper lip done because, again, my extended family and friends would make fun of my mustache so relentlessly that all I could focus on were those few strands of hair. See, while in the U.S., there is still a definite stigma against female body hair, companies like Billy and celebs such as Miley Cyrus are pushing to normalize the idea of well, women openly having hair. Therefore, little girls have begun to see body hair as just another part of life and not something to concern themselves with necessarily. Yet in South Asia and Soth Asian households, body hair is still very much a topic of embarrassment. As little girls, we never see body hair as anything other than this horrible ugly thing, and obviously, that affects us as we grow older hence the un-sexy Masaba body hair thing.
As a result of growing up, I was extremely conscious of my hair, especially amongst all my white friends who had thin blonde strands that were barely visible. I would skip P.E. lessons if I hadn't waxed that week and make up ridiculous excuses for not wanting to go swimming even though I desperately wanted to be by the pool with friends. It wasn't until a few years ago when I moved to the USA and started working with cool artists and creatives who didn't care if I was hairy or not and met people who loved the hair on their armpits so much that they died it neon, that I started to think okay my excess hair isn't all that bad. While I still personally like being clean-shaven and have worked very hard and paid stupid amounts of money to laser off the suckers, I don't care as much anymore, and that's purely because of the change in mindset around me. If its 105 degrees and I have a little bit of stubble, I will still wear the damn denim shorts, and if I have a big event and don't get the chance to get to a threading salon, I will go and be the badass that I know I am. Yes, I still have my lapses, such as feeling the need to apologize to my boyfriend about the hair I would have for the next few weeks as I await my next laser session. He then scolded me for being stupid and then went on to ask if I thought my leg hair could grow as long as his (yes it can and love you, babe), but I'm working on it.
See, the hair on my body has taken away way too much from my life even to comprehend. I have skipped events, felt extreme embarrassment, and missed out on so many opportunities because of something as natural and straightforward as hair. Now- I say enough is enough. Again this doesn't mean im going to stop shaving or no longer book my laser appointments because, to be perfectly honest, I still think there's nothing better than newly hairless legs and fresh bedsheets. Still, it's not going to dictate my schedule anymore.
For me, all it took to change my mind was a few fantastic individuals that made me understand that my hair wasn't going to make or break me. So if you are as conscious as I was or are struggling with not being able to get done your eyebrows during this pandemic, please think of me as the person who will tell you that you are beautiful regardless of your hair and no one should make you feel otherwise.