I haven’t shaved my legs in about two months. Nor have I shaved my arm pits or other areas that ladies tend to shave. I thought at first I’d be disgusted, but ya know what? I’m not. I’m actually kinda impressed with myself!
It started partly as a joke and partly out of sheer exhaustion and laziness. But now it’s taken on something more-it stands for my refusal to be told how a woman should look to be considered attractive. It’s pushing MY own views of how I should present myself, and what I’m comfortable with. Upon self reflection I realized that I’ve spent the better part of 27 years so worried about how people perceive me, about if I’m pretty or appropriate. And I’m kind of over that now. I’m on the edge of 30 and have lived my life for other people or based off other peoples standards. So my own quiet revolution, my way of gaining control over my body, was to finally stop doing something I hate with a burning passion and to sit with my uncomfortableness and examine the root of it.
In December there was something going around Facebook about “glitter beards”-men decorating their facial hair with glitter for the holiday season. I thought it was hilarious, and posted it for my boyfriend because it’s SO NOT something he would do. A few days later, my mom found an article about “feminists” glittering their arm pit hair. She tagged me in it and said I could match C’s beard. It was a joke but various friends and family members were outright disgusted. “That’s disgusting!” “Ew that’s so not right!” Which for some reason, really pissed me off. Thinking out loud I asked why women were expected to have hairless everything, but it as perfectly acceptable for men to be hairy beasts. My boyfriend shrugged and said “I don’t know. It’s just natural for us to be hairy.” Which kind of annoyed me further because “It’s natural for women as well, otherwise it wouldn’t BE there!” He thought for awhile and said, “yeah I guess you’re right. Huh.” And like a smart man, changed the subject.
So I decided to show up at my parent’s house for Christmas with glitter pits. They live in Arizona so I planned to not shave for a few weeks, arrive in a tank, flash them with my blingy body hair, and then remove it the next day. I knew my mom would get a kick out of it, and my dad would roll his eyes and mutter something about me being a damn hippie. I chickened out the night before we left and shaved, but felt oddly disappointed in myself. So when we got home, I started a little experiment. I wanted to see how long I could go without shaving before I became uncomfortable or grossed out. It’s now the end of February and my razor is rusting in the shower from lack of use. It’s kind of funny to me and empowering. Like I’m more rugged or stronger with hair on my body. My legs are still muscular and thin, and my favorite thing about my body, even with a fur coat on. Nobody looks at my pits so I just laugh at them. My boyfriend still loves me and hasn’t said a damn word about his girlfriend turning into Sasquatch (like I said, smart man). It’s just body hair. If someone is going to judge you on something so trivial and natural as body hair, then screw ’em.
I’m going to keep on with this little experiment and remind myself of all the times society or a person told me how I should dress or feel about my body. All the times in high school I had to cover my shoulders and hide a bra strap because it was inappropriate but saw guys strutting around the practice field in football pants and no shirt. Or sagging their pants and wearing a muscle tank with armholes that went down to their waistline. All the years I tried to keep my hair to his liking. All the time I’ve been repremanded for swearing only to hear my brother spit out a slew of more offensive words without anybody blinking an eye. I’ll remind myself of all the disgusting, demeaning, sexist jokes I’ve heard about women and blondes my whole life. Or all the nasty looks and words people feel compelled to share when they hear the word FEMINIST.
Me not shaving is my quiet way of telling society to suck it. “They” can no longer tell me how I should look. My way of telling politicians to get my body and my rights off their fucking agenda and treat me and all the other women of the world like the sensible, hard working HUMAN BEINGS we are. WE know what is best for OUR bodies and our situations. Not politicians. Not magazines. Not bloggers. I’m not shaving to prove to myself, and everybody else, that I am beautiful, strong, feminine and loved even with “masculine” hairy legs. I refuse to be told how a woman should look. We should look however the hell we want to look. I’m tired of the “how-to-dress” guides and the endless debate over whether leggings are pants. If I want them to be pants, then they’re fucking pants. My hairy legs protect me from judgements and labels and stereotypes. I will continue to not shave until I decide otherwise. Me. Not a peer or a lover or a blogger or a stranger. This is MY body and its high time I respect and admire her instead of feeling inadequate or inappropriate or gross.
It’s completely liberating not shaving. And there is no razor burn or over priced products to worry about! Try it. You’ll be amazed at your body. Or maybe not, maybe you’ll be horrified. And that’s okay too. You do you.