That is the question? Are you going against your own principles as a feminist if you shave your body hair? Fuck no. I think it’s important to do what you want to do, what makes you feel comfortable, and happy and awesome. But I do think it’s important to think about the things that you do, and how your choices will affect the interaction of the world that you find yourself surrounded by.
It’s true that there are more pressing issues in the world, than whether or not your shave your legs. (Can I get an “amen!”) That’s not to say that it isn’t an important way to connect the dots on the place of women in society. How people seem to feel some form of ownership over your body, so much so that your autonomy to go against the norm bothers them.
I began writing this blog, due to a friend posting this article by Alicen Grey. Grey says:
“I hope one day you grow your leg hair out. And your underarm hair, too. And whatever other hair you’ve been coerced into removing regularly. I hope you get to know your hairs, with all their different lengths, textures and colors.
I hope you let them growgrowgrow, until the uncomfortable prickliness softens up. Until you develop the habit of rubbing your legs when you need comfort. Until it feels weirder to be hairless than not. Until you find the idea of shaving absolutely ludicrous. Until you hear all the anti-hair messages in the movies and on TV and from friends and family and strangers, as utter nonsense.
I hope you let so much time pass, that you forget what it ever felt like to hate your body hair.”
I can relate to the feeling of it feelings weird to shave your leg/armpit hair, but I still occasionally shave to varying degrees. It is funny when you shave after having your full hair for a while, because it makes your legs feel so skinny and kind of weirdly naked.
As far as body hair goes, I think of that more like a haircut, or hairstyle, and that you can do whatever the hell you want. So many people seem to be bothered by the personal choices of others when those others go against what society has been sold.
I honestly hate buying razors because I don’t like supporting the hair removal industry. I do though on occasion. I don’t think that women should have such pressure put on them to have the appearance that is prescribed by corporate motivations and adopted by mainstream society.
I have had people say things to me about my leg hair, my armpit hair, and even been fired for shaving my head (by a bald man). People, if you are going to comment on someone else’s body, it better be a neutral factual statement or a fucking compliment. Because if it is ANYTHING ELSE you are a total fucking asshole.
Things people have said to me about my body hair:
“Ouch” – guy I was “dating” when he touched my stubbly legs.
“You’re disgusting” – my sister
“You look like the 1960s” – another S.O.
“That shit wouldn’t fly in Miami” – Cafe Owner, acquaintance in Jamaica.
“You need a trim. Don’t you think it’s getting a little long?” – Best friend who is supposedly a very open person about these sorts of things, pertaining to my underarm hair.
“What is wrong with you? Why don’t you shave your legs?” – Brother. I asked him if it really bothered him that much.
People if other folks body hair bothers you, you have to ask yourself why. “Because it’s disgusting” is not a real answer. Why do you think it’s disgusting? Because you have been sold an aesthetic. It’s fine for you to think it “looks better” to be hairless, but it is still a choice to do that. It is not mandatory. At least it shouldn’t be. I’m sure if you have certain jobs, they probably want to force you into a dress code that includes your personal grooming to be upheld to their standards. Which is probably like everyone else’s.