Emer O’Toole, a 28-year-old Irish journalist has created an Internet buzz after she appeared on a morning show and revealed her hairy armpits and legs. The confident young woman said she hasn’t shaved in 18 months, since she decided to challenge the notion that women must shave their body hair in order to be happy and feel attractive.
It’s true Emer isn’t the only woman in the world who doesn’t shave her armpits and legs, but in modern society, woman bodily hair is one very big social taboo. But the graduate student from Dublin started examining her relationship with her body and her body hair and realized she had first started shaving when she was 14 just because it was expected of her, not because she had to. So she decided to make herself the main protagonist of an experiment that would challenge society’s notions of female beauty. She simply stopped shaving her body hair for the last 18 months.
As you can surely guess, Emer O’Toole had a tough time getting used to her new look, and the way people stared at her every time she lifted her arms. Whether on the subway, hanging to the handlebars to keep her balance, or in a cafe waving to the waiter, the young woman had to deal with disgusted and surprised looks all the time. She admits to feeling awkward on several occasions, because certain outfits showed her hairy armpits a little too much, but then she started examining where her confidence and self-esteem were coming from. ’If it’s my looks, and my self-esteem is linked to that, then I’ve realised I need to find other sources for that confidence. Your looks aren’t with you when you wake up in the morning if you have to put your make-up on first. And they don’t stay with you as you age’, the confident woman said on ITV’s “This Morning” show.
Emer says she is now almost entirely comfortable with her hairy armpits and legs, and didn’t think twice before showing them off on live television, when asked by the show’s hosts. She added that most men aren’t bothered by her hairy appearance, because they too have hairy armpits, but it’s usually women that are offended by her natural look. She isn’t letting her detractors affect her confidence in any way, though, and claims that even if her experiment was only meant to last for a year, she found she liked her body hair and couldn’t believe she had to reach 26 before even seeing what it looked like on her body. She may shave it at some point but she wants it to be a choice, not something she has to do.
In modern society, girls are conditioned to shave off their body hair and pluck their eyebrows, because if they don’t, they end up getting bullied by their peers, although nature has given them body hair. I like to think a woman has the right to do what she wants to do, but with society’s views on this matter being what they are, do women actually have a choice? In a poll created by ITV’s morning show, 80% of voters didn’t agree with Emer and thought she should shave her armpits and legs.