With a poem and a photo of leg hair posted on Facebook that has since been shared more than 8,000 times, one Indian women called out society's unrealistic body hair expectations.
"When a man tells me I'm beautiful I don't believe him," Naina Kataria started the poem. "Instead, I relive my days in high school/ When no matter how good I was I was always the girl with a mustache ..."
He doesn't know what it's like
to grow up in your maternal family
Where your body is the only one that
Proudly boasts of your father's X
While your mother's X sits back and pities
He doesn't know the teenager
Who filled her corners with
Empty consolations of
Being loved for who she was— someday.
He doesn't know hypocrisy.
He doesn't know of the world that
tells you to 'be yourself'
and sells you a fair and lovely shade card in the same fucking breath
He doesn't know of the hot wax and the laser
whose only purpose is to
replace your innocent skin
with its own brand of womanhood
He doesn't know of the veet and the bleach
That uproot your robust hair
in the name of hygiene
Hygiene, which when followed by men
makes them gay and unmanly
He doesn't know how unruly eyebrows are tamed
and how unibrows die a silent death
All to preserve beauty
And of the torturous miracles that happen
Inside the doors marked
So when a man calls me beautiful
I throw at him, a smile; a smile that remained
After everything the strip pulled away
And I dare him
Till my hair grows back.
In her post, she wanted to point out the commercial's reinforcement of unrealistic beauty standards for women (like being told less hair is beautiful), as well as call out that men don't realize what women go through to look "merely presentable."
Many have reposted the poem on their own Facebook pages, adding captions such as, "Goodness this gave me infinite goosebumps! She spoke my heart right there," and "An excellent read ... For every woman to feel proud and every man, so that body shaming is completely eradicated."
As Mic reported last month, body hair has become less of a taboo subject, with more and more women choosing to ditch their razors. One artist in particular, Ashley Armitage, decided to fill her Instagram account with women showing off their body hair to say a big "fuck you" to societal ideas.
"Right now it seems like there's a group of girls on social media fighting for body hair acceptance, and not just fighting for body hair, but fighting for our right to choose," Armitage said in an email at the time.
These women aren't just posting photos of their body hair, they are proudly embracing the natural look, which in turn helps normalize the idea that women's bodies don't need tweaking — or in this case, pounds of hot wax.