Adventures in Shaving and Not

Today’s personal narrative is fitting with the theme of Love Your Body Week. 

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Photo Credit: Ally Schmaling

Sometimes, I don’t shave.

Sometimes, I do.

This morning, my mother asked me to, “Please use the blades I bought you.”

Which is hilarious, because she’s asking me to shave, without actually having to confront me about shaving.

Reasons I shave:

  • It’s too hot.
  • I like the way it looks.
  • It’s long enough/dark enough that I feel self conscious.
  • I don’t want to make others feel uncomfortable.
  • I want to.

Reasons I don’t shave:

  • Shaving is super annoying and takes too much time.
  • I like having hairy under arms.
  • My hair is fair enough that for the most part, it doesn’t even show.
  • I like the way it looks.
  • I think it’s sexy.
  • I feel empowered.
  • I don’t want to.

I have been ambivalent about shaving for years. Part of this stems, ironically, from my mother. She encouraged me to get waxings as soon as I had ‘enough’ hair to merit shaving. Consequently, I would frequently grow my hair long enough so it could be long enough to be ripped from my skin with hot wax. And, understandably, I was frequently reluctant to go in for waxings and out of practice with a razor so the hair would grow longer and longer.

And know what?

Not many people noticed.

Not many people cared.

So even though I barely shaved in high school, it wasn’t until college that I began to really enjoy it.

In college, some of my fellow queer and feminist friends stopped shaving as well. There is nothing more fun than comparing underarm hair length and feeling comradery.

BUT….

And this is the super important part….

WE DIDN’T HATE OUR FRIENDS WHO DID SHAVE.

WE DIDN’T HATE OURSELVES WHEN WE SHAVED.

You are not a mindless tool of the patriarchy if you choose to remove the hair on your body. Sometimes I like the way I look when I’m hairy, sometimes I don’t—that’s okay.

But visible counter culture, even something as seemingly passive as not shaving, is useful to challenge societal norms.

When I choose to shave, I’m almost always doing it for someone else. For my mother, for people who might have to look at my legs, for my friends who might be mortified that I didn’t tidy up my bikini line when I swim in their pool. But when I don’t shave, it’s usually always for ME.

And sometimes it’s good to have some me time.

So shave or don’t, wax or wane—it’s your body, it’s your hair, who cares if others complain!

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