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.