Sunday, 7 March 2010

Why overpluck? Don't we need our eyebrows to form expressions?

There is a serious issue that needs to be debated, chewed over, by society. It might be good if someone could arrange a slot on Question Time. Yes, Dimbleby’s input is definitely needed. Actually, let’s go the whole hog and throw this issue onto the agenda at PMQs. Politicos (and politicas) out there, I call for your help in bringing this issue to the jaded attention of Broken Britain.

It is, of course, the nationally important matter of women overplucking their eyebrows.

I’ve been bothered by this for many, many years, ever since girls at my school began sporting thinner and thinner eyebrows until, by sixth form, there was less actual brow than brow pencil to be seen. Occasionally this preoccupation of mine takes over completely and it’s all I can think about. I simply stop seeing the women behind the eyebrows – all I can focus on is their inexpressive curves of ex-hair idling ineffectually atop their brow bones.

Why, why, why do women overpluck? I scream to myself, as I observe yet another woman who has tweezed, threaded or waxed her way through these most necessary of facial features, giving herself that unmistakeably porny look of blank, doll-like, hairless non-womanhood.

I guess at some point in recent generational transitions – from our hairier, less bothered grandmothers to our younger sisters and daughters who are attempting, poor sods, to grow up in a society that markets depilation as a way to ‘reveal the goddess in you’ – many women have become convinced that hair and sexiness are mutually exclusive.

But, these are our eyebrows, girls! They’re not a sex feature! They’re a lovely bit of facial hair that actually adds something to your face! Do you see how mad it is to think of them in the same category as other hair on your body that you routinely remove?

We all like a tidy pit, a smooth leg and a moustache kept under control. But, please, develop a sense of perspective about this. Eyebrows are facial hair, yes, but they’re a crucial component of any expression. And keeping full, normal-shaped eyebrows does not make you ungroomed and unfeminine. I can’t believe I actually have to argue that as a point!

I have many problems with Keira Knightley, believe me, but her eyebrows are not one of them. They are fabulous. Keira is the poster girl for women’s eyebrows. They’re tidied up a bit, sure, but she’s kept their natural shape – lovely, dark, full (like the one pictured, but that’s not her) – and she looks intelligent, characterful and beautiful. Anyone think Keira looks unfeminine? No, I didn’t think so.

The fact is: the fuller your brows, the classier and more intelligent you look. I hate to make it a class thing, but almost every time I notice a woman with overplucked brows, she’s of a distinctly chavvy persuasion. Usually with her hair dyed a colour way too garish for her complexion, probably prompting her to thin out her eyebrows which now look far too dark and prominent against her fake hair colour.

So, what’s it going to take to stop women savaging their eyebrows? They’re everywhere, these women who’ve plucked so mercilessly for so long that they’ve killed the follicles and ended up having to draw them on completely! If even the fame, attractiveness and success of full-browed Hollywood actresses can’t convince women to take a more moderate approach to plucking, then I struggle to offer anything that might do the trick.

Perhaps all it would take is for eyebrows to be talked about a bit more in the women’s mags – and the teen mags, catching girls before they buy their first pair of slanted tweezers or get taken along with their mums for that first thorough threading.

It’s sad, is what it is (and with that, I frown). Maybe these girls agree that it’s sad, but you can bet their eyebrows would struggle to show it. Read more by Maddie.