July 10, 2011

To Shave or Not to Shave?

Every woman has a different relationship with her body hair, and for this blog post I want to talk about it. It’s kind of awkward, I know, but the question of shaven verses unshaven legs specifically is one that I see causing so many problems with women in my life, and myself included. So let’s talk about it.

What I’ve found is that the problem with female leg hair starts with the social statement that is seemingly attached to it. The thing is, that most people see a woman’s unshaven legs as a symbol of her indignation towards society’s expectation for her to go against something her body naturally does. In other words, hairy legs are often perceived as a badge of courage in the fight against societal pressures on women.

I know women who do not shave their legs to make a statement. They do it because they see no reason that they have to take the time to do it while men don’t, or because it’s not right for societal norms to encourage them to do anything to their body that is unnatural. There are women who make all kinds of social statements with their unshaven legs, and I am so into it! I too am a pissed off feminist and I love all the things these women are trying to say! The problem? I don’t really think unshaven legs are a cute look. I would love to walk around in shorts in the summer with my leg hair flowing in the breeze, loud and proud all to prove to the world that I don’t care what they want me to look like, but truthfully, I just don’t think it’s a good look. I wish there was another way that I could display my identity as an angry feminist without having to go hairy. But this problem is not the only one I think women have with the decision to go natural or not.

I have a very close friend who I think represents a large group of women in her leg hair turmoil. You see my friend hates shaving her legs. She hates the time it takes, the fact that she has to spend money on razors and shaving cream… she just hates it all. So she lives her life with natural legs, and she doesn’t mind. The only time it is a problem is when people look at her legs and think she is trying to make the big social statement I talked about earlier. Unlike myself and other women, she doesn’t want to wear her feminist identity on her sleeve; she simply just doesn’t want to have to take the time to shave her legs, which is totally fair also!

So I think the problem with leg hair verses no leg hair is the big, heavy statement that people have attached to it. It seems like things would be so much easier if we just let it be a choice about shaving or not shaving, and kept it just as simple as that. If a woman chooses to shave it doesn’t mean she is a slave to the popular opinion of how women should look, and if she doesn’t shave then it doesn’t always mean she’s waiting for an opportunity to rant about man’s control on her and her body. I mean, come on everybody; it’s just leg hair.


Blog contributor Julia A. Birnbaum is a 19-year old student at Sarah Lawrence College. Having lived outside the city since she was 3, Julia is a proud Philadelphian who has begun a recent love affair with New York. Though she is not entirely sure of what she’d like to major in during her collegiate years, Julia anticipates focusing on something involving writing and art. Julia suffers from an addiction to reality television and likes to spend her time with friends, writing poetry or blowing bubbles for her cat to pop.

1 comment:

  1. Ha Ha! I'm just lazy and sometimes I forget about my legs, until I have zumba class..then its too late and somewhat awkward when folks glare at my hairy pits and legs.


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