It’s a news that may shock many women who religiously make trips to beauty salons for getting their facial hair removed. A whiskers-pride movement has been growing in the West. Across the internet, there are women writing about their heartfelt acceptance of their moustache.
Over the past two months, a feminist activist in Bristol, south-west England, called Jessica Burton has been running a campaign called Hairy Awarey, asking women all over the world to go natural. “I’ve been hairy for so long that it just seems normal to me,” says Burton, “but I do feel that at the moment women do not have a choice about hair... I suppose the excitement about Hairy Awarey was that the simplest of actions (leaving the razor on the side of the bath tub) can have life-changing effects for the women brave enough to try it.”
The logic of Hairy Awarey is that if enough of us give up the tweezers, the sight of body and facial hair on women will be normalised and any stigma will eventually disappear. While some women in the West have been brave enough to give the experiment a try, here in India, the majority still maintains that they would like to get rid of facial hair.
Beauty expert Angelina Joseph says, “Its unusual for Indian women to aspire for a hairy look. Women seem very particular about hair removal. A reason why this trend is catching up abroad could be that there, getting such salon services is rather expensive. Here in India, the parlour charges of threading are pretty reasonable.”
However for some women in the West like Shazia Mirza, comedian and columnist, the experience has been liberating. Mirza grew her body hair over a period of seven months for a BBC documentary called Fuck Off, I’m a Hairy Woman. “At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it,” she says, “as I was obsessed with hair removal, having had a Hitler moustache since I was seven. But actually it was very easy.”