Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Naked Face Project: Week 2 - Body Hair

This week I focused on body hair. Why do we have it? Does it have a purpose? Is it purely aesthetic?

The location and amount of hair is related to the level of androgens (male hormones) in the individual. Due to a normally higher level of androgen, men tend to have more body hair than women.

*Are key to making faces recognizable.
*Help to identify your feelings. Ex: Raising both eyebrows signifies surprise.
*Reveals your age! Ex: Bushy, gnarly, salt-and-pepper brows: older alpha males. Thin, graceful arcs: young, stylish women. Sparse, light brows: youth. Waxed and tweezed, the brow can advertise good grooming.
*Main function is to prevent sweat, rain & other debris from falling down into the eye socket. The arch shape diverts the rain or sweat around the face. The purpose is so that we can see better and so that our eyes don't get irritated.
*In caveman times, they helped save lives by being able to find shelter or outrun a predator without things getting their eyes to slow them down.
*Shade the eyes from sunlight.
Conclusion: Eyebrows were a vital part of our ancestors lives. However, today they don't as significantly effect us in the same way. You need eyebrows today mainly to make your face recognizable and to help people identify your feelings by your facial expressions. For me, I'll probably continue to pluck my eyebrows, but probably just to have a "clean" look. It's just my personal preference.

Armpit Hair
*Helps prevent chafing
*Retains glandular secretions that are a powerful aphrodisiac, aiding in sexual selection
Conclusion: There really wasn't concrete reasons when I did my research and the above is just speculation. I have shaved my armpits since puberty and haven't had a problem with chafing. Therefore, as a personal preference, I will continue to shave my armpit hair.

Leg Hair
*Are often shaved (primarily by women) because the culture norm perceives it as a sign of youth and beauty.
*Athletes, however, shave to reduce friction, highlight muscular development or to make it easier to get into and out of skin tight clothing.
*Was originally there to help keep humans warm in the winter, but clothing now fulfills that purpose.
Conclusion: It drives me insane that most women spend the time and hassle shaving their legs primarily because they are buying into the cultures "norm" saying it's a sign of beauty. Nonsense. However, I can relate to the reasons for wanting to shave it if you are athlete. Often times, it pulls on the pants. And I like being able to see that I'm defining my muscles. For those reasons, I will continue to shave my legs. Though probably less often in the winter.

Pubic Hair
*Signals sexual maturity or protect the skin from chafing during intercourse
*Retains glandular secretions that are a powerful aphrodisiac, aiding in sexual selection
*Has really interesting and significant uses in ancient times. You can read more about it here.
*Some arguments for modification: Fashion, Personal Hygiene, Religion, Sexual Practice, Tactile Sensation and Tradition.
Conclusion: Pubic hair is a very personal matter and I will therefore not discuss my choices on my blog.

Feet, Navel, Face
*Are more prominent in men than women.
Conclusion: A side effect of PCOS is hair growth, due to hormone levels being out of balance. I, as a PCOSer, have experienced this side effect on various places of my body. When I see it, it serves me as a reminder that my body is suffering from this condition and that there is no cure. It can instantly get me down, if I let it. I don't want any reminders that my body is working less than optimally to God's original creation. Therefore, I shave or pluck all of these hairs.

Information in this post was taken from various sources: Psychology Today, Wikipedia, How Stuff Works, Straight Dope