As my calendar switched from Halloween to November 1st, I said goodbye to spooky season and hello to its-basically-christmas month. On that same day, my family group message was lighting up as it usually does with the topic of the day and my brother mentioned how he will continue growing out his mustache for the rest of the month. I chimed and stated how nothing will change for me considering I haven’t shaved my legs in weeks, unless I decided to grow out my underarm hair. He replied with the notion that it would probably be more comfortable and cleanly if I shaved my underarms and that if the societal standard for men was to have bare arms then he would too.
I sat back for a minute and pondered his words and the meaning behind them. Of course I have been well aware of the fact that society sets our beauty standards for some time now, but as I grow into my divine feminine self, I realize how much money, time, and effort goes into maintaining a shaving routine. Not to mention the same costs that accompany waxing, plucking, threading, nair-ing, or lasering hair away. The same hair that grows back in 1-2 business days with intense ferocity as if cutting it off was something personal.
To provide some background, female body hair removal was first practiced by ancient Egyptians around 3000 BCE, so not exactly a new concept. This is not to say that our insecurities about female body hair are not exacerbated by hair removal companies and women’s “health” and beauty companies. The ever famous Gilette was the first company to advertise a razor made especially for women in the early 1900s which popularized shaving your underarms. As female fashion trends started to reveal more skin, hair removal was seemingly a necessity.
The first time I was told to shave my legs, as well as pubic hair, was in middle school before I had much hair to spare. I saw hairless women on magazine covers at the grocery store and in early 2000’s movies. I knew what was “required” of me from a young age. I feel grateful to my mother for always making it clear that shaving is not a necessity on my end and I owe my confidence in my natural self to her. I was 18 when a boy told me that I was not hairless enough for him and this would keep him from committing to me. The words of my mother rang in my ears and let me tell you, I just about slapped him across the face. I may have refrained from violence, but I did walk away with my head held high refusing to let a man tell me what I can have on my own god given body.
One thing I have learned in my twenty years on earth is that hair isn’t just there to annoy you or rack up your water bill. It serves multiple functions, such as keeping foreign elements from entering the body. Shaving too much, especially excess removal of pubic hair, can lead to ingrown hairs, yeast infections and other bacterial infections, rashes, and more. Scented products that accompany shaving, especially when they aren’t formulated with women’s health in mind, can throw off your pH balance and screw up your balance down there. It can get overly complicated real quick and leave you running to CVS to pay for another product to undo the damage that has been done.
It’s nobody’s damn business what you choose to do with your body hair and this isn’t a smear campaign against hair removal. All I’m saying is that if men want to grow out their beards for the next thirty days, I have no issue doing the same with any of my body hair. Personally, I feel clean and comfortable either way because hair is a natural occurrence! If you do choose to shave, I would recommend sticking with a five blade razor and coconut oil (remember to exfoliate before!) Billie is one of my favorite companies right now for shaving products. Their advertising keeps it real and shows women’s bodies how they are naturally.
Archival Blogs to Read for More Information:
Why Should I Care if I Have Hair?
Lions and Tigers and Hair, Oh My!