I’ve never been an obsessive shaver, but I have fulfilled my feminine duty up until this point in my life, by keeping my legs and pits shaven bare on a regular basis. I endured the inevitable itch when it all began to grow back, as it does, because it’s supposed to be there. I spent 20 dollars every couple months on the nicest razors hoping to avoid dry skin and razor burn. I did what society told me I was supposed to do, like a good little consumer, like a proper lady.
Until one day I pondered, who decided that society gets to be the authority on how am I supposed to act and look and behave? As I began to ponder the questions more and more, my distaste for societal standards grew in intensity. Ditching the razor was not the first time I engaged in an experiment hoping to strengthen my confidence in my natural beauty, independent of what I had been raised to believe.
About two years ago, I chopped my hair that had reached about mid back, to just about as short as I could go. Short enough to make a little faux hawk. Same debate. More often than not, the magazines and the movies depict the bombshell divas with long, glowing locks. Hair longer than I have ever had it.
For many, many years, I held tight to the notion that my long, perfectly straightened hair, made me beautiful. My face may not be perfect, my body may not be perfect, but I have this hair, and so I am beautiful.
Just writing the words now, I am so saddened thinking about all the young girls who I am certain still believe so strongly in this falsehood. The make-up, the hair, the perfect brows…. All come together to make them beautiful. It is a tragic game of advertising manipulation, and the manipulators are winning. Of course the folks who stand to make a quick buck on your insecurities are not going to tell you that you don’t need the lipstick or the mascara.
I want to share with all the men and women of the world, the ultimate secret. What the companies don’t want them to know. I want to scream from the rooftops
“You are already beautiful! From the day you are born, with your beating hearts and eyes full of wonder. You do not need to change a thing! Embrace your natural, beautiful self! Love yourself!”
Alas, I cannot compete with the corporate giants. But I can refuse to subscribe to the tales they have woven, intended to influence my actions and purchases. And so, that is what I have done.
Back to the whole anti-shaving situation. I do struggle on occasion, with fighting the urge to pick up the razor. I have gone probably a month without shaving my legs and two without shaving my armpits. I know this probably sounds freaky AF. It was a little weird at first, but I really wanted to challenge myself to change what I saw as normal. The funny thing is, our body hair is naturally occurring, which actually makes it way more normal than shaving it.
So as my armpits have begun to surpass stubble to actual “man-like” portions of hair, I have been looking in the mirror and saying “why can’t this be feminine? Or why does it have to be genderized?” The more I entertain it, the more I see it less as a gender specific appearance. It’s kind of starting to…. grow on me. big wink.
While writing this post, I also uncovered this article written about a hashtag, #PrincessesHaveHair, started by a 16 year old girl who had been teased about her choice not to shave. The responses were mixed between unfortunate disapproval and awesome supporters! Some of the men AND women who responded to her photos, called them disgusting and referred to the women posting their own furry photos as feminazis! Disgusting? Really? I have to strongly disagree and counter argue that when Gillette decided to label body hair as unsightly, just so you could have the privilege of giving them your money, because heaven forbid you be unsightly according to the standards of some marketing strategists who are being paid to help the company make money… that is where the real disgust lives. And feminazis? It’s just a tad harsh, and like… absurdly over the top. Come on. No one is hurting anyone here.
One super important thing to emphasize here, before wrapping this very honest piece up, is that what it all comes down to is freedom. Woman deserve and are entitled to the freedom to choose what we do with our bodies. It absolutely should be without criticism, but unfortunately, due to years of marketing and advertising, this will most likely not be the case. But do not let this stop you, that is the game. No one’s unkind words or opinions should shape your actions.
Shave if you want to shave. Don’t shave if you don’t want to shave. Even if just for a month or two to see what it feels like, I do encourage it. I admit, I did up shaving my legs because I was actually walking around my abode and with the carpet and the winter air, I could feel the static electricity rustling the hairs on my legs. It was comical, and uncomfortable, so I opted to shave the leggies, but my armpits remain proudly bushy.
I do struggle with it, again I admit. I go to Zumba 3-4 times a week and 99% of the time I am wearing a tank top and I know people notice. I sometimes wonder if it is the elephant in the room. I have wondered, should I just make a shirt that says “you can ask me about my armpits.” I know it perplexes people. I think when they see that, combined with my peace sign tattoo on my shoulder they get the picture, they just package me up as a rebellious hippie type, but I don’t see that as the case.
But in this challenge, I have grown more confident in myself than I have ever been. I care less and less about the opinions of others, and subscribe far less frequently to societies standards, and this is a freedom every man and woman deserves to know.
In the end, do what you want. Or do what scares you. Challenge yourself. Or don’t. Just make sure you live the way YOU want to live and not the way anybody else suggests you should.
You are beautiful. Today. Tomorrow. Always. Hairy