Us Indian women have many, many pressing problems to overcome before we can claim to be emancipated in any way, shape or form: Female infanticide, dowry, lack of education, unequal pay, sexual harassment, domestic violence, auntyjis nagging us to get married/ have babies etc.
But let's start small. Let's start with this new and obnoxious upper middle class import from the Western porn industry: Twat waxing. Somewhere between my teens and thirties, this ridiculous bit of tomfoolery took on manic popularity and now mine might possibly be the last generation of women (who can afford to spend unseemly amounts of cash in a single day at the salon) whose nether regions can be distinguished from that of a 6 month old.
As my new heroine, Caitlin Moran writes in 'How To Be A Woman':
" I can't believe we've got to a point where it's basically costing us money to have a fanny. They're making us pay for maintenance & upkeep of our lulus, like they're a communal garden. It's stealth tax. Fanny VAT. This is money we could be spending on THE ELECTRICITY BILL and CHEESE and BERETS. Instead we're wasting it on making our Chihuahuas look like a skanky Lidl chicken breast. God DAMN you, mores-of-pornography-that-have-made-it-into-my-pants. GOD DAMN YOU.
" 'But what about underarm hair? people will say - usually 40-something men (and guilty looking women who in their heart-of-hearts can't quite reconcile to their twat-baldness themselves - AqSt), who look uncomfortable when you use phrases such as 'lovely big Hair Bear Bunch-style minge' and then are downright alarmed when you bring porn into it.
" 'If you don't believe in Brazlians, do you shave your armpits? Do you shave your legs? And your eyebrows? You look like you pluck to me. What about your lady moustache?'
" And then they sit back, a little smug - as if they have just put a sausage roll in the bottom of the trapping pit and are fairly confident you're about to go in after it, and be captured.
" But the crotch, the upper lip and armpit are miles apart - well, on an average 43 cms apart. What happens to them, and why, is wholly different - primarily because armpits aren't intimately associated with sexual maturity or, indeed, sexuality at all, unless you're on some seriously specialist websites."
To this I would add: OUCH. Ladies, seriously? How does the brief twinge of pain on your upper lip when a tiny hair is uprooted, compare with the Spanish Inquisition-style torture in your pants that lasts for at least 24 hrs? How does a small razor nick on your calf stand up to the various grotty rashes that may pop up in your crotch as a result of allowing burning hot wax in its vicinity? Who are you doing this for? And would he/she really stop wanting you if you didn't? (If the answer is yes, you have bigger troubles than your fuzzy crotch.)
I won't lie to you. Somewhere in my 31st year, I had a serious sit-down with myself and wondered if I was doing something wrong by not going the way of all Brazilians. I seemed to be in a dwindling minority. Close friends were doing it, intelligent women. Was I missing something? The affection of a new-age desi boy, who, growing up in a sexually-repressed society like ours, expected women to look like the only ones he'd seen naked (porn stars)? The joyous experience of unveiling my cooch in front of a strange woman at the salon, every couple of weeks?
Then I realised I was sitting down. Comfortably. And that sort of clinched it for me.
But I suppose at the end of the day, it isn't so much the mowing - how much or how far - that needs to be snipped down to an exact science. It really is about asking ourselves why we want to do it and whether we really want to do it at all. Are we in any way being coerced into this? Can we present ourselves with a logical argument that resonates honestly within us? If yes, by all means singe your pubic nerve-endings and you won't hear a peep out of me. But if there is any sort of shame or societal compulsion accompanying your decision, I'd urge you to reconsider. Look down at your darling beaver, appreciate its fuzzy goodness and then, stand up for it.