I find myself taking a walk with some other girls, speaking about this and that, sharing some previous love stories, likes and dislikes, hobbies and favorite movies. You know, what you do when you are starting to know someone and you have to decide if the initial sympathy is actually going to take you somewhere.
About 2 hours later we stopped for lunch and we kept talking about this and that… And suddenly, the light, nice, easy-going conversation switched into a heated argument over shaving.
Mary (oh, Mary, I have come to like you) confesses she can’t avoid looking at the young girls that go to her gym because they aren’t shaved.
They are 10 or 12 and they choose (do they actually choose?) to just not shave their legs, armpits or groins.
And that is something that disgusts Mary. It is something remarkable about those girls. Even if they happen to be 10 or 12.
Perhaps (well, not perhaps, for sure) this is not Mary’s fault, as she has been socialized here, in the wonderful kingdom of the patriarchy, and she has been told two hundred times that hair is in fact disgusting. Her hair and every other woman’s hair.
Because that’s what they have made us all believe: our hair is gross, unhygienic, ugly.
I was 11 when I first shaved my legs because some boys were shaming my sister for being un-shaved and I thought this was the most horrid thing.
We were only 13 when a friend of mine stopped hanging out with a boy because he told everybody that she had “hair down there” as if this was something typical of a mythological creature.
I was 14 when a girl in my class told every single boy of that same class that some of us weren’t shaved. They talked about it for days.
I was 19 just the other day when a boy told his girlfriend in front of me that he would break up with her if she ever had any hair on her crotch.
You know, I need to make sure you understand that I’m not trying to incriminate those girls who regularly shave their whole bodies. You’re not less of a feminist. Not at all.
I basically do the same when the summertime comes around. But I wish I didn’t have to feel ashamed if for whatever reason I have two or twenty hairs around my leg on a hot, summer day when I decide to wear shorts and have no time to shave.
Moreover, I wish every girl understood (especially to save them from my teenage, hairy drama) that you’re supposed to have hair and shaving it or not should be solely your choice. Those boys don’t have the right to tell you anything about your body hair. That the media portrays women that don’t have a single hair in their bodies but that’s not the reality and you should embrace your body and do with it what you want.
If you decide to shave (I include myself among the girls that are relaxed about shaving but still do so every once in a while), atleast accept that this is something that has a sexist connotation. Some boys shave too, more are doing it as time goes on, but their body hair still doesn’t have the same stigma. So be aware of it and try to not pass hate on your fellow sisters if they decide not to shave at all.
Please, please, please, remember: Your body. Your rules.