As always, Twitter feeds all over the country last night were filled with live commentary of one of the nation's favourite TV shows 'First Dates Ireland'. But, instead of being content with happy-crying over the perfect couple that is Pat and Maureen like the rest of us, some Twitter users got themselves all worked up about something very inconsequential; First Dater Jess's body hair.
To give some context, Jess is a student who's pretty committed to rectifying climate change and wanted to cut down on her use of unnecessary plastics. So, gone were the razors and in grew the body hair. Very commendable, we might think. But many viewers online did not agree.
That is fucking vile #FirstDatesIRL
— John Ferns (@Johnferns88) March 6, 2018
— Mark Gordon (@thegord001) March 6, 2018
The commentary was disappointing though not surprising. Women's bodies are subjected to near-constant judgment and body hair seems to be one of the biggest taboos. While many women are fighting against fat-phobia and promoting the idea that beauty comes in many guises, we still haven't gotten to the point where someone openly slagging off a woman's body hair is called out as unacceptable. Unfortunately, women themselves have a lot to answer for in this regard, as we still tend to judge our fellow women on their (entirely personal) body hair preferences, despite (as is the case with everything to do with other people's appearances) it being absolutely none of our business.
Jess may have gotten the last laugh, as she had a great first date with her match and they got along really well, but the vitriol against her shows us an uncomfortable side of how our society is still shaming women for their appearance. To put it into context, Jess's date Michael was also a student and (I hope he won't mind me saying so) a really hairy dude. Like, chest, neck, beard, the works. Naturally, there were no comments to be found online labelling Michael's body hair as being 'disgusting' or 'vile'. This is because his right to groom himself in whatever way he sees fit is acceptable, whereas, for women, we're still dealing with a lot of stigma around something that is entirely natural.
All was not lost on Twitter; thankfully, there were a lot of people ready to defend Jess's personal choice.
Can’t get over the hate, revulsion & vitriol for the armpits on #FirstDatesIRL. Look at how women and men have internalized patriarchal ideals of femininity when it comes to challenging a beauty standard. It’s just a personal choice. How can something so mundane be so offensive?
— Holly O'Neill (@HollyONeillNews) March 7, 2018
Good for her choosing not to shave her body, and good for you if you choose to shave yours. Her body, her choice #FirstDatesIRL
— Peter McGuire (@PeterMcGuireIE) March 6, 2018
all the Lads™️ going mad over a girl with hairy armpits you obviously wouldn't be the kind of person she's attracted to either so go wash your ass and move on #FirstDatesIRL
— Oh Rollie Night (@DylanTeeBH) March 6, 2018
Bottom line - if you want to shave every bit of body hair off, that's totally fine. If you want to grow it out so you can braid it, that's grand too. We should all stop spending so much time freaking out over other people's appearances and spend a bit more time trying to stop being so judgemental.
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