The impact books have on our lives is not limited to the words written between the covers. Some books inspire new thoughts and send us to unexpected places. Follow me down the rabbit hole in this recurring segment.
One needs only read as far as the back cover of Women Who Run With the Wolves to find the thought-provoking can of worms that is at the very heart of the book. Without it, there would be no need for the book at all. Without it, this book would not be such an epiphany for so many women. The true nature and instinctual self are denied and silenced by domestication. Amid all the important ideas around women, domestication, patriarchy, sexism, and denial of our natural selves, my mind (and gaze in the mirror one morning) landed on… eyebrows.
It may seem that I’ve gone off track, but try and stick with me here. That is the nature of the rabbit hole.
My eyebrow “style” is pretty much the same vintage as this book. I was born in the ‘80s. By the ‘90s, women plucked their eyebrows into oblivion in the name of fashion. Then in the 2010s the pendulum swung the other way, and thick eyebrows were suddenly hip, primarily due to model Cara Delevingne. For those of us conditioned during our formative years to value thin, discreet brows this was baffling. Unless, of course, you are La Loba, a she-wolf. She would say to deny your true nature is to deny yourself. Or something deep like that.
This could be liberating. Finally! One less body part for women to consistently groom (and please don’t get started on the “men shave their beards” argument, because the expected minimum level of upkeep for women is not even in the same ballpark). Perhaps beauty standards are changing to reflect the natural female body, and women are being valued for more than their outward appearance. Maybe, just maybe, now is the time for the wild woman.
Is it too late to deny my true eyebrow?
An article in Allure answered my first basic question: the eyebrow growth cycle is about four months, and it’ll take up to a year for a “major brow revolution” (are we talking facial hair or social justice?). On the surface, the ‘natural’ brow trend appeared to be a step forward for feminism, while in reality it is the opposite. The sheer wealth of beauty articles and products dedicated to women’s eyebrows is shocking. The marketplace is full of products and services for achieving the perfect brow ranging from serums, microblading, pencils, and stencils, to styling tutorials, and brushes. How can La Loba tend to the bones when she’s busy styling her eyebrows?
No, if I’m going to be a she-wolf there’s only one route—stop taming. Full stop. Let the revolution begin.
While I hate to admit it, I wasn’t completely immune to all the beauty advice. There is castor oil in my homemade moisturizer (touted as being a hair tonic), and I’ve been newly devoted to using it on my face daily. Luckily, the shame of my vanity is soon dissipated by picturing myself having also grown a lush mustache.
Was I the first woman to toss aside the tweezers? Absolutely not. Back in 2010 the website Feministing urged women to grow unibrows in December to raise money for charity, dubbing the campaign Decembrow. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. It probably doesn’t help that eyebrows take longer to grow than (most) mustaches. It’s a shame, because group facial hair challenges seem like fun community-building exercises, as all the mustache growing men remind us every Movember.
What will happen if all women let their brows go wild? The concept is not new. Parents have been telling their kids for years, “you’re beautiful just the way you are.” Maybe what we need is the rejection of beauty standards to be cool (do people say ‘cool’ anymore?). Take for example model and Instagram influencer Sophia Hadjipanteli, lover of her well-endowed brows, who launched the #UnibrowMovement (I highly recommend this hashtag as a rabbit hole to follow, as it’s (sadly) quite polarizing, full of conversations about empowerment, white washing, misogyny, beauty, and more!).
The problem of course is that the #UnibrowMovement is now being called a trend, which misses the point completely. Some people naturally grow unibrows. Some don’t. The point is to create a mindset that accepts people exactly as they are, not create a market for hair growth products. Any beauty standard will be unattainable by some, while natural, wild beauty is unique.
Are you still with me? This is where I show you what track I’ve been on all along.
You see, it’s not just about eyebrows. It’s about feeling comfortable in our own skin, listening to the instinctual voice above all others, and reviving the wild feminine. It’s about tending to the bones. That’s right, Clarissa, I was paying attention.
Remember my quip about social justice? Maybe facial hair rebellion does have its place. If you’re looking for inspiration beyond brows, watch this Tedx Talk featuring Harnaam Kaur, and then head over to her YouTube channel.
Are there parts of your body you keep wild regardless of the expectations of others? How does your instinctive, authentic self inform your decisions? We want to hear about it. Comment below, email us, or leave a voicemail at 416-900-8603!
Join me again next week while we go further down the WWRWtW rabbit hole.
Book Interrupted is a podcast that follows six women as they talk, rant, cry, laugh, and connect through books. Down the Rabbit Hole is a weekly blog series influenced by the books featured on the podcast. To learn more visit www.bookinterrupted.com, a book club for busy people to connect and one that celebrates life’s interruptions.