Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Conchita Wurst and Generation Gillette Daisy Plus

 Let's talk about hair, baby. 


Hers, and other ladies' which garnered unsolicited and possibly solicited attention (courtesy of their publicist) over their hirsute moments.

 Conchita Wurst, to those who haven't seen her on the news outside Europe, is the Austrian singer and performer (I refuse to call her drag for without the beard and my knowledge of her gender, in my head she's a woman) who recently won Eurovision 2014 amidst controversies and tantrums by a certain anti-gay political giant.  Eurovision, if you've not heard of it before, is the annual songwriting and singing competition joined by members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) organised in the 1950s around the time when war-torn Europe was being rebuilt. I must say that the excitement and flurry of activities that surround the Eurovision night is double the fanfare involved in the run-up to the coronation night of Miss Universe. This time around, Conchita wasn't just a songstress who won by belting out a Bond-esque tune à la Shirley Bassey backed by spectacular visual effects, but also a beauty queen in poise, grace, and allure whose most striking feature both endeared her to many and caused her to be repulsed by more than some. 

That full dark beard worthy of a Pogonology case study has launched her as a household name, enraged the Russians (at least the government, and not necessarily the people), and set body hair again as a thorny issue when found peeking out of body parts we prefer to be free of it, or in this case, found exactly where it should be, but with the wrong companions: big glossy hair and false eyelashes. 


A man's facial hair is seen as a symbol of masculinity, sexual virility, sophistication if kempt, and wisdom in several religions. It's understandable why Miss Wurst ruffled feathers. But what do we make of women, especially celebrities with access to laser hair removal and regular waxing, who opt for the stubbly and bushy route?

First of all, we, and the media as the gang leader, name and shame them.
 The trio: Hilary Swank, Drew Barrymore, and Julia Roberts
 Kelly Rowland
 Britney Spears
 Halle Berry
Destiny's Child trademark?
British pop star Pixie Lott
Madonna, as we all know, voluntarily shames herself.
In all her pride and glory: Sophia Loren


As with most women, I was raised to believe that underarm hair is unwanted and must be eradicated in the most painful and effective way possible. I'm a late bloomer when it comes to epilation and wish that I discovered it before plucking, threading, waxing, and shaving. What I spent on good ol' Gillette Daisy Plus (I think it's called Gillette Simply Venus now, or maybe just in the UK) and other hair removal products all these years before upgrading to Braun Silk-épil 7 is probably enough to buy me an Hermès bag. Aside from menstrual cramps, underarm (and all other body parts concerned) hair removal is a woman's bane that men will never understand.

A woman's body hair is like a family secret, the existence of which is known to the community, always spoken of in hushed tones, which when revealed, attracts gasps, stares, and discomfort even though the neighbours are also keeping the same, which they strictly guard so they won't be found out and be the recipient of the same gasps, stares, and discomfort.

 As opposed to positive views we have of men with groomed facial hair, women who grow their underarm hair are perceived to have poor hygiene and too bohemian for the more conservative lot's liking. Or, they're French, which of course, is a sweeping generalisation of Gallic women's relationship with razors. Interestingly enough, I haven't seen paparazzi photos of renowned French actresses Juliette Binoche, Audrey Tautou, and Marion Cotillard intentionally and unintentionally flashing statement underarms.

We think we're liberal enough to encourage women to go au naturel, but we still balk at Julia Roberts' hairy armpits, or Madonna's most recent display of underarm bush. They're tabloid favourites, complete with zoomed in and encircled close-up shots of the unsuspecting underarm. Glossies treat them as features for lengthy pieces on feminism and women's freedom of choice

But at the end of the day, it's just hair. Hair that grows in its natural habitat. Hair that men also have exactly in the right spot. Hair that we don't care about in men, but we make a fuss in women.  It doesn't have correlation with feminism or freedom of choice, but we grab big concepts and names to label our justification for having it. And I do think sometimes, why do we always have to justify and apologise for our regrowth? Oh no, I'm in between waxing, pardon my underarm hair, it's been quite unruly lately. Yes I know, I shouldn't go easy on the wax strips.

Long-haired men with beard and moustache aren't an unusual sight, so Conchita wasn't exactly being revolutionary in that sense. But what we weren't prepared for was a full-on diva styling with big hair, generous lashing of mascara, smoky eyes, and form-fitting evening dress that could hold its own at The Oscars. 

She is a glamorous middle salute to bigotry.

In the same token, we probably won't be prepared in a million years for these two women unless hirsutism becomes as normal and as socially acceptable medical sign as dysmenorrhoea.

 Cheryl (Cole). Conchita. Are they twins?

Nicole Scherzinger's bristles will rub you the wrong way.

It seems we're not quite ready to let our hair down when it comes to locks, tresses, and tufts. Certainly not Russia, who may even pull out (pun intended) of the Eurovision to create their own song competition.  

I don't mind hair at all whether it's on Conchita's chin, or Julia Roberts's underarms, as long as they're not on my carpet, my sofa, my bathroom floor, my bath, and certainly not on my armpits. Not yet. After all, I'm from generation Gillette Daisy Plus; it's not easy to shave off my comfort zone. 

Now, if you will excuse me, I have some epilation to take care of.


  1. Very, very interesting point you're making. Personally I've never given a damn about Eurovision before but now that Conchita's won, it's become cool. And yea, you're right, what's the deal about hair? It's only hair.

    1. Thank you! I used to watch it on and off, but this year was defo more exciting than usual. I did like The Netherlands' entry though. But I love Conchita for being Conchita :) As for the hair, I don't care about everyone else' preference :)

  2. I like Conchita's look! The first time I saw her I was a bit surprised but I'm all for it.

    1. Isn't she lovely? She guested on one talk show the other week, wearing a 1950s style dress. Gorgeous!

  3. I didn't watch Eurovision but I did see her on Graham Norton after hearing all the controversial stories surrounding her appearance. She seemed like a pleasant enough person and who am I to judge what she does in her back yard. I'm still curious to know what Julia Robert's thinking was behind her 'exposure' though as that was some full on pit hair, whereas some of the others you can see it's just a little bit of regrowth.

    I'm so hairy, yet my parents are not; my mum has never had to shave her legs but I've been having to do it since my teens. I hate hair on me and am a bit fussy about too much of it on men too. I've taken to laser hair removal now but despite being 10 times the price of my usual wax strips, I can't say I've been impressed unfortunately. 3 more sessions to go but this darn moustache is still blooming coming back after a couple of weeks gggrrr! xx

    1. I think Julia Roberts was taking the piss at the time. She's always been quite rebellious about hollywood and cultural norms from my gossip tabloid readings. I don't mid regrowth but it's a different story when the pit hair is longer than your bf's or husband's.

      I'm much hairy than my mother and aunts, too. I guess because they were more wrapped than us, no one too notice of their body hair. I did read that laser isn't as effective as it should be. It really depends on the hair youve got.

      Why do we have to have these problems? Hhahaha. Have a lovely weekend x

  4. Interesting article darling. I haven't cared for the Eurovision contest in years - quite frankly, I find it all to be ridiculous and not at all my idea of good music. But as for women with hairy armpits, I know a lot of people and especially young women like the idea of growing them to "make a statement" - but I don't think I'd ever be able to do that! It doesn't matter if I'm going to the beach or just sitting at home for weeks studying - armpit hair, leg hair , it's all gotta go. And lets face it, it's painful while you're getting rid of it, but the feeling of smooth underarm for weeks is totally worth it! :)

    Kisses from a gloomy and rainy London!


    1. Same here, I've never been that interested in Eurovision until Conchita came along. Hahaha. Not my kind of music either. But I always find some of the acts hilarious. I can't do statement underarms too. The most I can do is statement lipstick. Thanks for dropping by and your comment. I do miss you here. Have a good week!


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