This incredible poem about body hair is going viral
Being a woman is fun, and there are a LOT of incredible things that go along with that. But one of those things, traditionally, is not our struggle to comes to terms with our body hair.
Fortunately for women everywhere, writer Naina Kataria decided to write a poem about her body hair titled, “When A Man Tells Me I’m Beautiful” that explores the cultural and gendered politics surrounding the hair on our bodies.
Although it might seem dramatic to some, Kataria poignantly outlines the pressures that women of all ages are under to modify their bodies to satisfy standards imposed by others. She eloquently explains, about the man who told her she was beautiful, “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.”
She muses about always living with the shadow of her teenage self, forever being “the girl with the moustache.” The sentiment behind the poem will resonate with any woman who has ever suffered through a wax, or felt self-conscious because she didn’t have time to shave before a date. But its powerful message of resistance is what is most remarkable about the piece, and the fact that it captures the (almost) universal attitudes about how much hair women have on their face and bodies.
Kataria told BuzzFeed that the idea came to her during a date in which she, “went out for a movie with a guy. We were watching this ad about razors for women when I remarked that celebrities shouldn’t endorse such products because it sends out a message that one HAS to buy them to look beautiful. He replied by saying, ‘OMG you’re too much of a feminist.’”
This made Kataria think about the insane standards women must adhere to, and the lengths that we go to hide them from the men in our lives. She says, “Women go through excruciating amounts of pain to look merely presentable and men don’t even have an idea of what it’s like.”
Women all over are responding to her words. The poem and accompanying photo have been shared more than 10,000 times and have inspired more than three thousand comments, most of which are thanking the Delhi-based writer for telling a version of their own story.
Speaking our truths as women takes a lot of courage. We MUST support and encourage writers like Naina Kataria in their efforts to say what’s on their hearts, and not be afraid to take down the antiquated taboos that we face, just by being born a woman.
You can read more of Kataria’s writing on her Facebook Page, Infinite Entropy. Although her poem is the main event, take a second to look through the comments. There’s an important conversation starting to take shape about our destructive beauty rituals.