Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Why I don't shave my legs

I has been a cause of much disgust in my life so far that I do not, and haven't for about 2 years, shave my legs. My sisters are disgusted by this (I don't think my little sisters would be seen in public with me if I had shorts on...), and while other people are much less vocal in their horror, it has certainly surprised many people - woman shaving their legs is just such a normal part of our society.

So, I decided to write down, for the record, just why exactly it is that I don't shave (to be accurate, I don't actually remove hair anywhere, though I have been known to pluck hair from the wierd hair sprouting mole on my face. Lovely.) I don't shave because I don't want to. And this really is my primary reason, I just can't be bothered. And fundamentally, I think that when it comes to beauty rituals like this, we have to realise that not wanting to is a perfectly valid reason not to do something. I would much rather waste my time on the internet than waste my time in the bathroom shaving my legs and pits and puttting on lots of make up (another thing I don't do). There is something very releasing and refreshing in realising that you are not required to shave your legs to be a 'real woman' or an 'attractive women'.

Of course, I do have reasons going beyond my perfectly valid lazyness, though that is the primary reason. I started shaving my legs when I was 13, around the time that a boy in my class saw the hair on my legs and told me that it was disgusting, and if I'm going to show my legs, I really should make sure to shave them. He wasn't deliberatly being nasty, but the newly teenage me was totally horrified. I couldn't bear the fact that something about the way I looked disgusted people (and more particularly, disgusted men), so I started shaving. And this is important to remember, I, like most of us, only started shaving in order to make the way I looked more acceptable to those around me. Shaving has no benefit to me, it doesn't make me happy, I don't enjoy it, it was just to make me normal. And now I'm making the adult, educated choice, not to be normal. Its over-rated.

We cannot live our lives just assuming that we do things because everyone else does, and we are required to, we need to start analysing them. Whye is it that women shave legs/pits and men don't have to (some do, but its not a requirement to be attractive). "The Beauty Myth" talks about how ideas of female beauty are used to control women, and limit them, and I think that has some bearing here. Other people have brough up how the desire for hairless women, makes us look pre-pubescent, child-like. Why would I want to stop being a woman and become a girl again?

So, I guess I don't care how much of a social steriotype I am (over weight, hairy feminist), I am embracing my right to look exactly how I choose to, and not to be limited by constraining ideas of what society says is attractive. Frankly, I just don't have time.

34 comments:

Kaitlyn said...

Couldn't agree more.

No one said anything about the hair on legs, but I started shaving them in high school, because that was what you did.

It's not easy when you wear glasses and just don't want to do it. I'll take the occasional swipe with the razor at my shin, just for kicks.

I do shave my pits, though. I always thought that was from a cleanliness perspective, and my mom told me deodorant doesn't work as well on a hairy pit. Plus, it's the south.

But if that's true, why don't guys have to shave their pits?

Mariel said...

I am glad others feel the same way I do.

I am an eighteen-year-old woman who has never been comfortable shaving her legs. So I don't. I think it is sad how all my peers believe it is necessary to remove hair. I have low self-esteem and this stereotypical prejudice does nothing to make me feel better about myself. But I still refuse to shave my legs...

Jukka said...

I'm twenty-two years old. I was so self-conscious about too many things in high school, that I just HAD to shave my legs.

Now, my husband (didn't plan on having one of those at the age of twenty-two!) has finally convinced me, after our two years of "official dating" and two years of engagement, to stop shaving my legs.

I still shave my underarms and bikini line because I do not like what I call crevice hair. It feels weird to me. I lotion myself after every shower (something my grandma always did when I was little that has stuck) so the bikini doesn't bother me.

And now that I don't shave my legs, my husband and I go through fewer razors (he shaves his underarms, too, and uses an electric shaver to keep his beard trimmed), thereby saving much-needed money (college students).

I'm sorry if that sounded rambled. I'm just very excited to read something much akin to my own feelings on this matter!

Shrreen said...

You are so awesome! I found your blog by searching for "don't shave legs." I haven't shaved my legs for about a week and a half (it is very long for me. . . I used to shave 'em every day) and I think it is interesting.

I'm a psychology major, and it amuses me to show people my now quite fuzzy legs. I don't know how long I'll keep it up, but I'm thinking about semi-long term hairiness. My favorite psychology professor doesn't shave her legs, either. :D

Anonymous said...

i totally agree :)
if you like and love yourself you will never let anybody tell you how you should be :) love my hairyness

Swisna said...

I am stunned that I google "I don't shave my legs" and don't find any ads for leg hair care products. I was sure there'd be someone out there taking advantage of what I thought would be a growing population in liberated America. Yes, we did continue making and wearing bras after a few burnings, but...

Like others, I started shaving after one of those traumatizing Jr. Hi social situations, but I felt guilty when I did because I grew up in Europe and knew that it was optional. Even then I was sure the disgust at hairiness was a socially conditioned response. It has taken me 30 years to be brave enough to join the hairy ones, but I am finally here and enjoying the savings, the time, the lack of bleeding... Where can I find more others like me?

Anonymous said...

What about wearing skirts to work in a professional environment. I don't shave and my husband doesn't like it when I do. I've never shaved above my knees ever and only did my legs occasionally until of course I met my husband who didn't want me to, no problem I said. Oh and did you hear Mo'Nique the celebrity doesn't shave. I wish that would have caught on but alas I don't think it has. But what about wearing a skirt to work? Could that prevent promotions and raises, I'm an engineer in male dominated field so... What do you guys think?

ChooseLove said...

I love your post. Wanted to share a link to one I wrote about why I don't shave.

http://narrowpath-chooselove.blogspot.com/2010/01/hairy-legs.html

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this.
I come from non-western culture and studying in Western country (I am 21 btw). I never shave my legs because in my culture it was not something very important (although some people in my country got westernised and a guy in my primary school once commented on my hairy legs). Now that I live in a Western country, I feel the pressure to shave my legs because everyone in public places do not have any hair on their legs (for girls, obviously). So I am kind of worried now to wear shorts or skirts, and wondering what people might think when they see my legs.
But a part of me really really does not want to shave, and really want to show it to the world that we can still be pretty without shaving our legs.
I think I am empowered by reading your writing. So today I will go out with my short. :) Hehe.

Anna said...

Thank you so much for this post. I had an almost identical experience when I was 14, and started shaving for around year. It wasn't the fear of cuts or the price of the products that made me stop. It was the sheer WASTE of time! :)

So I stopped, and it took me a while to feel good with my legs, and every now and then I do admire my friends' smooth skin. But in the end I always believe I made the right decision, and now, at 18, I have grown in confidence and do not mind wearing skirts or shorts.

Plus, I'm just too incredibly lazy to go into the trouble of maintaining hairlessness!

I've been shaving my armpits since I was 13, and I try to keep that area clean and hairless because it can have a smell factor :P

Thank you for showing me that there's others like me!!

Anonymous said...

Power to all the women who go back to being natural! I cannot believe that one marketing gig in 1915 could force all women to shave and all men accepted this. Where are the real values, real love? Come on, I myself am lucky, my girlfriend does not shave and I told her I would leave her if she ever would!

Anonymous said...

My story started the same way; I shaved because I knew that's what society wants women to do. I shaved at the age of 17-18 for the first time solely because it's a "norm" and I was struggling with confidence issues. Otherwise, never ever did it occur to me that I wanted to shave my legs.

Now, as I came out into the public with my shaven legs, no body seemed to care (not that I expected), I did all of this shaving for the society, just to be taken for granted.

(My experiences as a shaven women were: I felt like a plucked shicken, weak, unsafe, vulnerable and naked)

Another thing. I thought that once you cross the barrier of showing your hairy legs in the public, it's done, you will be able to do it after that. I was wrong. It's a psychological struggle every time, every summer. Luckily the confidence still builds up, slowly, for me at least. I'm 22 now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, than you, for not shaving your legs for the exact same reason I don't.

I've been lucky - my mo always told me I didn't have to shave my legs, but when I'm at my dad's, he pressures me too, saying 'it's just the standard'. It doesn't matter how many reasons I bring up, he shoots them all down, and he doesn't believe my "I don't want to, and I don't need to conform" answer, which is the truest.

I have the best friends, who support me in my dealings with my dad, but I don't know anyone else my age (teen) or college age who doesn't shave. It's so great to see others out there who feel as I do. Thanks once again!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous here, I started shaving at 12, shaving everything. The legs, the pits, and the pubes. I did it to be more attractive and because I was raised to believe pits and pubes would be "dirty" if left hairy.

I'm 19 now and have been dating the guy I am with for almost 3 years now. By this time I had gotten annoyed at fully shaving my vulva, and usually had landing strips on it. However, he told me he finds women most attractive when they're totally hairy because to him that's a real woman, and that's what he's attracted to!

So when Winter came I decided to first let the pubes grow. While I am a bit tomboyish I certainly don't fit the stereotype of "fat feminist". I'm 5'2'', A chest, and very very petit in general. Anyway, I let them grow and it felt absolutely amazing and sex *and* masturbation has never felt more stimulating! Then I asked him if it would be okay if I shaved my pits, he REALLY wanted me to, and I did. Again, never felt better. It felt very "me". And finally a few weeks ago I grew out the leg hairs and I have begun to proudly show them off in shorts.

To me body hair should be just like the hair on one's head. A person's perogative. If you wanna go bald up top, you can go bald down bottom. But if you want lost hair up top, why can't you have long hair all over?

It's very thrilling to feel "real".

I would like to point out I have always been bisexual and before I met my boyfriend (Who I will be marrying some day) I had met many women in the lesbian/bisexual community whom would not be with another woman if she was hairy. This disgusts me! I thought of both genders at least women would understand that another woman might not wanna shave.

Oh and to people who think pubes are dirty...think again. They made this great thing called shampoo!

tanya bilsbury said...

Thank you for writing this article. I would like to communicate my strong support for your position. It makes me feel good to know that there are others who question the value that women's body hair should maintain its prepubescent look, and made to feel ashamed for not conforming.

One thing I'd like to add to the comments - I used to sweat a lot under my arms and required antiperspirant. Once I stopped depilating, I hardly needed a deodorant and remained much drier. I think the idea that hair under the arms is unhygienic may be another myth (meant as always to shame women and sell stuff), as hair that wicks away perspiration from the skin would, I think, cause less odor than sweat left against the skin.

Anonymous said...

If you are working in a professional environment, it's better if you shave your legs. I always found hair gross (unless it's on your head) and even my boyfriend trims his pits and pubes.

It's not attractive to have hairy legs in a skirt...I wonder how y'all will feel when your hubby who "loves" your natural look will be discovered in another woman's arms.

Anonymous said...

I am a man and I think it is very sexy when a woman does not shave and wears no deoderant. God made women to look and smell like women. How arrogant to think that we can improve on this. ---JSmith

Aisha Black said...

Im 14 and I don't shave my legs. It's actually because when I was in 5th grade all of my friends were talking about cuts they got from shaving and how it hurts. That day I promised that I would NEVER shave my legs... Well now my leg hairs are more noticeable but I still won't shave (I can't break promises) but I never really had a problem shaving until this year some dude in my class is says "You have more hair on your legs then me" DX oh the horror!!! But seeing this makes me not care as much. And when I'm around friends or older people they (usually) don't seem to care. So why should I?!!!:)

Anonymous said...

I'm 15 years old and a sophomore and personally think that women don't need to shave their legs at all. I've never shaved my legs, and I never will. Too bad if people don't like it.

It's totally fine not to, takes a long time, doesn't last very long, and it sounds just plain annoying.

One friend asked me in a completely rude and disgusted way why I don't. I said because it's stupid and time-consuming and ridiculous to. If we weren't supposed to have hair, we wouldn't! So simple!

I do shave my underarms for hygienic reasons though, as do many others.

Then again, I'm pretty happy to be blessed with red hair, which makes my leg and underarm hair a light blonde and it's completely unnoticeable unless touched or in bright light.

Most people just shave their legs for vain reasons, not because it benefits them in any way.

Also, women who don't shave their legs aren't any less attractive than the women who do!

1337 g4mer gurl said...

I totally agree with you. I'm 17, everyone I know shaves and I don't. I don't have the time or the money to and I don't see why I have to. It's that simple. The hair's there for a reason, why should I get rid of it?
And if a guy's gonna get on me for not shaving(though this hasn't happened yet) then he's not worth it now is he?
I'd be looking for someone who respects me for who I am, not for how little hair is on my hoo-ha.
Kudos to you for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Keep it up! I am 19 years old and have not shaved my legs for four years now. I used to be embarrased, especially when I was in high school, but now my hair has grown on me (haha).

Saves money, saves time. More people should try it :)

Ldh91 said...

Im 19 and I shave maybe 3 times a year and that's only because I want something different.. I like my legs hairy or not.. I always hear stuff about it.. Its gros and girls just are suppose to... I say eff that... If it wasnt feminine us females wouldn't have hair there! Anyways I just tell em I haven't been brain washed by the males in my society.. That I am still an individual and can stand up for what I believe in ,and how they feel about my legs ain't shit. Much love to my natural sisters!

Anonymous said...

The Christian Feminist essay is excellent! I consider myself to be a Christian feminist man. I would like some suggestions on where to meet other women who thick and live this way to possibly date or socialize with.

Keep on thinking free!


Thank You.

Anonymous said...

I am currently 17, and in the summer of my 16th year, I didn't shave my legs for four months (note: in the summer), and nobody bothered my about it, except my family. Everyone in my family (except my dad) mocked me and called me names. If I asked one of them, "How does thing dress/skirt look on me?" I was told to cover up my legs because they looked "Manly". So I ended up shaving again. But I after a couple times of shaving so close that I couldn't wear pants or tight skirts for a week, I just stopped shaving completely. I'm letting my armpits grow too. If my family doesn't like it, SCREW THEM, IT'S MY BODY. God put the hair there for a reason, and hair actually promotes cleanliness. I don't see anything wrong with it if you want to shave, it's your body, and your choice. But all I ask is that you don't bother me about it. Honestly though, it feels so nice to know there are other people who feel the same way. and MEN! There are men who don't mind and actually LIKE a hairy woman!!? I have some hope now, lol ^_^

Anonymous said...

I am a teenager and I couldn't agree more! I live in Europe and the people here in the East shave (girls, mainly). Well, regarding the guys... If you want us to shave, why don't YOU shave your hairy ass and the rest of the body hair? Oh, it's manly, ain't it? Well, seriously, if it wasn't feminine too, we woldn't have the hair on our body at all. It's there for a reason. It's either you have it or not. Fukk the b*tches in my school who tried to brainwash me. I might bend, but I don't break.

Well, I wish I could meet more girls that don't shave... they would have the biggest admiration from me. I hate fashion and anyone who follows that crap. It's MY body and you shouldn't care at all. Judge your own looks.

Anonymous said...

I like your article.

I'm really different from those girls around me. All of them have a fair smooth skin, pretty girly face and nice body, while I'm the only one who is darker and hairy, not good looking and plump body(though my limbs are slim). I'm not dare to wear sleeveless shirts, skirts or shorts because of those hairy parts of my body, and I don't shave them because I think it's a waste of time. I want to spend my time on the things that I love to do more than shaving for just impressing others.

In where I live, guys are so realistic that they only like beautiful girls but it doesn't bother me much because I don't like the guys in my country. However, I do feel irritated about the way people stare at me like an alien, especially when I'm shopping in the mall. Sales girls despise me (especially those that work in cosmetic shops). They don't critic in front of me, but their eyes and attitude show it all.

I want to get used to it. After all, I think there's nothing wrong with a woman who never shave her body hair. Who decided women should shave? If it's because of the new culture of the new era or fashion trend, I'll still stay in my principle "I don't have anything to prove anymore, what other people think of me is not my business" (by Jessica Simpson).

I hate people judge the world like this. They claim the ugly women as lazy girls, but they don't understand being ugly isn't what we want. We were born of having such appearance. If they like those faked, over-makeover girls, just go ahead and stop critic others that aren't in their list of "eye-candy".

Katie said...

I love this blog post. Reading your story and all the comments makes me want to stop shaving all together (I've been shaving less and less over the last few months). I have so much respect for all the men and women standing up against these stupid standards society has imposed.

Anonymous said...

Hairy women are hot!

There are many men that like hairy women, where women don't shave their legs, under arms and other private areas.

I am one of those men, God had attended women to have hair if not then he would of never allowed it to be so.

Anonymous said...

I'm frustrated with shaving. I never liked it. I've always had dark, thick hair that grows so fast. I get "prickley" skin on my thighs when I shave my upper legs and my lower legs grow so fast, that a shave in the morning would be an very uncomfortable stubble in the afternoon.

I don't have as much of a problem shaving my armpits, but I decided to stop shaving both, my legs and armpits, a few weeks ago. It feels good, but when I went to a pedicure the other day, I was so self concious about what other people were thinking about my legs. At the same time, I'm ALWAYS self concious about my legs because, unless I shaved immediately prior to revealing my legs, I have obvious leg hair. I wish it wasn't so dark and thick, though. I try to reason with myself by telling myself that even though it LOOKS dark and thick, it FEELS much better than that stubble I get in just 3 hours.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot to mention, I'm fairly small chested, so I only wear a bra about 10% of the time. I do wear cami's at times, though, probably about 50% of the time, so I do go bra-less half the time.

Kate Gold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amazing Grace said...

My name is Grace, I am African American, and I am 21. I can't believe it has taken me this long to realize this but I love the hair on my legs! I personally started shaving in high school...against my mothers wishes. I felt that everyone was judging me. Me with the microscopic amount of hair on my legs, that to every insecure girl looks like it has been magnified to the billionth level. Recently I've just been lacking in the confidence and I made it one of my goals for 2015 to build that confidence level up. This is how it starts, and I love that other people have taken up the cross with me. It's easier to bear knowing others are behind me, I'll think of you all when I get the many looks I know are coming. My goal is to realize that I do other certain things because everybody else does and not because I want to and correct those. We've been so socially cultured that often distinguishing between the two is not easy but it's my goal to be myself and do me and for all of you starting out I am praying that you can do the same; it's our duty to lead by example for the future generations! P.S. remember to listen to your mother because some of them know a little bit more than you do :) and if you don't have a mother listen to someone who is wise, boosts your confidence up and displays Christ-like behavior, can't go wrong with that! Happy 2015! Be you everyone!

Anonymous said...

Great article. I am a Christian women and have decided to stop shaving my legs and underarms. I started shaving at around 16 or 17 just because it was what society expected of me. But really it just seems pointless and demeaning. Men are not under the same pressure as women when it comes to body hair. If it is ok for men why do people act as though it is dirty on women? God made us with body hair.

Anonymous said...

So glad you posted that, because to much women are wanting to be accepted in society.... You just gotta live the right way, the God way.