No Shave November is for LAYDEEZ, Too!

noshave

For the longest time, “No Shave November” has been one of my favorite un-official holidays. However, my least favorite aspect of said holiday is the inherent sexism involved in it. This year’s particular No Shave bore a mantra that was distributed across the internet, “Girls who participate in No-Shave November will also be participating in No D[ick] December.” Why is it that ladies in our society are to be perceived as not having any body hair? Let me tell you the short story of light-complexion, dark and thick-haired girl:By the time I was 5th grade, I had begged my mother so much about my leg hair until I was allowed to shave it. In 7th grade, a boy made me cry in the bathroom because he said I had “hairy toes.” By 8th grade, I was waxing my own eyebrows religiously. When I was in 11th grade, I wouldn’t leave the house unless I had plucked every unsightly hair on my face. It was only until last year, that it suddenly dawned on me that regulating my body hair didn’t have to be a necessity. I had a few lady friends who didn’t shave their armpits (oh, and they still got the “d,” too). I stopped shaving my legs on a regular basis, and let my eyebrows get a littler more “natural.”

Looking at trends in marketing towards women, the media often creates problems that don’t exist in order to market and sell a product. A favorite example was the deodorant that was supposed to smooth “unsightly underarm skin.” Or even the fact that razors are gendered (might I add that lady razors kinda suck, so I use men’s from time to time). Shaving for women wasn’t really a practice until the turn of the 20th century in America. We can even look at trends in body hair from the past 30-40 years – pornography of the 70’s and 80’s was all about ladies having full pubic hair, but now-a-days, the trends seems to be prepubescent Lolitas with no body hair to speak of.

So, what’s the big deal with lady body hair, anyway? I believe that every girl has the right to style her body all on her own, may it be facial piercings, make up, clothing, or even their own body hair (gasp!). Why is it that we are being told that something which naturally occurs on our bodies is somehow inherently wrong? One of my favorite arguments made for ladies shaving their body hair is that it is more “hygienic.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure eyelashes are for protecting eyes, pubic hair is for protecting the genitals, and underarm hair is for distributing pheromones. Body hair is growing out of our bodies for a reason, and it’s even what makes us classifiable as mammals.

This summer, I worked in an all-male business; I was summer help for my city’s Department of Public Works, slinging bottles and cardboard on the recycling truck. During the week, I didn’t shave my armpits, as I felt no need to. However, when Friday night came around, and I was about to meet up with friends at the bar, I found myself auto-piloting in the shower and reaching for my razor. Even while being conscience of what I was doing, I could not get myself to stop. It had been ingrained in me for so many years that “ladies” don’t have armpit hair.

Now, I myself did not participate in No-Shave November, but there was a documented case of a man who decided to do the opposite. He shaved all the places a woman is typically expected to remove hair (face, underarms, legs, and pubic region). He said it was the biggest time consumer and most asinine thing he has ever had to put himself through.
Women shell out millions of dollars on permanent treatments such as laser hair-removal surgery every year for a problem that does not actually exist. If I was born with body hair, then why I should view something that is natural as wrong, simply because of what my gender is?

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