It has been the social norm that women, young and old, should shave their bodily off for a good few decades by now. We are used to seeing women with hairless legs, armpits and sometimes other parts of the anatomy (some of which are more intimate than others).
A lot of my friends started shaving in Year 8. We were 12 or 13. Suddenly the conversations had as we changed into our PE kits, had evolved into that of the smoothness of our skin, the distress in not having shaved in 2 days and the effect shaving ha had on the aesthetics of our legs.
Everyone seemed to have started shaving - or at least, started talking about it.
It was like some elusive club, the way they talked about it. A club that I felt obliged, yet reluctant, to join.
I felt like I had to shave my legs in order to gain the rank that those around me had already achieved. I had to do this to, well, maybe it was to gain their respect? Feel like I had earned their friendship? Maybe, I feared that I would lose that friendship which I held in such high regard, all because I hadn’t started to shave my legs yet.
Looking back at it now, nearly 3 years later, it all seems so silly. But then and there it seemed a pressing matter. My 13-year-old mind overthought everything so that any conversation could be taken and morphed into something that was the complete contrary of what the speaker had meant.
In later years I would realise that a strong friendship could never be abandoned due to something as small as shaving. And if a friendship does break down over something as petty as that? Your “friend” was never truly your friend.
I started removing my body hair properly in Year 9. I say ‘removing my body hair’ because I use a hair removal cream instead of actually shaving because of the sensitivity of my skin. When I first started using this cream I was, well, a little uneasy let’s say, because I was not “shaving” as I believed everyone else was. It was still different; I was still not part of the elusive club. But it did the job with less risk of accidentally cutting myself and getting bright red rashes in my armpits and on my legs.
Currently, as my 16-year-old self, I hardly ever “shave”. Particularly now that the cold claws of winter are beginning to creep up on us from behind. Last summer, I probably “shaved” my legs about 2 or 3 times. I do not see why, when the temperature outside has dropped to freezing, that I have to shave my legs; I would much rather use that layer of hair for its intended purpose: to insulate my body in an attempt at keeping it warm.
And the same applies to the summer months: I will mostly likely remove my hair due to the increase of heat. I don’t want to be sweating more because of one layer of insulation I could easily have removed.
Perhaps, what I’m really trying to say here, is that I couldn’t care less if someone - male or female -shaves or not. I am perfectly content when I have “shaved” and when I have not. I make a choice whether or not I am going to “shave”, and I don’t want anyone, not matter how important they are, telling me I have to.
Shaving you body hair is, and should be, entirely your own, independent decision.
I know people who are disgusted by body hair, so shave it off. I know people who don’t give a damn about body hair so don’t shave. Both opinions are valid and acceptable. It’s their body to do with how the please.
Shaving shouldn’t have to feel like an act as compulsory as brushing your teeth everyday. And we should try to remember that women were not born hairless creatures.