Body Hair On Women Isn't Gross, You're Just Being Sexist
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Body Hair On Women Isn't Gross, You're Just Being Sexist

Don't be ashamed of what is natural, and if you have a daughter, don't let her be ashamed either.

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Body Hair On Women Isn't Gross, You're Just Being Sexist
Photo by Billie on Unsplash

Let's talk body hair on women, or the lack thereof. Most women have been pressured by society into removing their body hair since they started puberty in their preteens. They've been handed razors and shown images of beautiful women with glistening, soft, bald skin since they were children.

One of the first instances of women being pressured to shave was during the ancient Roman Empire. During this time, hair removal was a symbol of cleanliness and class — but only for women. Wealthy women during this era took to removing all their body hair with pumice stones, razors made from flint, tweezers called "volsellas" and special creams. Men, on the other hand, were free to wear their body hair however they liked. For a while in history, women weren't as concerned about their body hair (but only because popular fashion kept them covered up). From the time of Queen Elizabeth, all the way through the 1800s, it just wasn't a huge concern. But by the early and mid-1900's, as fashion evolved to reveal more of the arms and legs, women were again pressured into removing their hair in order to appear beautiful and clean and classy.

Personally, I started shaving my legs in 6th grade when my best friend at the time asked me why I hadn't gotten rid of my leg hair yet. I honestly didn't have a response, it didn't seem like an issue to me. She laughed and pulled up her own pant leg "I started shaving last month". That night I went home and used my mom's razor to shave my legs. Later that same year, I was out by the pool helping my dad clean the pool. I was wearing my favorite swimsuit, ready to swim and have a good time. I lifted my arms above my head to shift the pole I was holding, and my dad noticed my armpit hair. "You've got a little forest in there." It was an innocent comment, but it stung enough that I remember it to this day. I was so embarrassed that I ran inside and cried. That night, I started shaving my armpits. That was seven years ago, and up until recently, I shaved my armpits every other day. By my calculations, I have probably shaved my armpits close to 1,300 times. That's a lot of razors, a lot of time, a lot of ingrown hairs and nicks and loss of confidence. It wasn't just the fact that I had to shave that upset me, it was the fact that somebody had pointed it out. MY body hair - something that grew on me naturally and should have been entirely under my control was being called to attention simply because I was a girl.

I didn't stop shaving regularly until this year (my freshman year in college). And guess what? Multiple people (especially men) have taken one look at my armpits or my legs and immediately jumped to the words "gross" or "disgusting". Men from my own family, who know that I am hygienic and modest, are freaked out by a little bit of fuzz on my body (even though I'm less hairy than them).

Nobody looks at a man's hairy armpit and says "that's gross, you need to shave" but for some reason, its viewed completely differently on women. Why? If God wanted us to be smooth and hairless, he would have made us smooth and hairless. He put that hair on us - women and men - for a reason. It is meant to protect our delicate skin. To help us regulate our body temperature. Is it really smart to remove it? Purely for aesthetics?

I don't love the look of hairy armpits, on men or women. But out of principle, I will not shave mine anymore. My body is mine, and if the only way I can show that is by letting my body hair grow and causing a scene, then that is what I will do.

It is my personal belief that both men and women should have the option to shave their bodies or not to shave their bodies. If a man wants to wax his entire body, then good for him. If he wants to keep every inch of his hair, good for him. If a woman enjoys being clean shaven, good for her. And if she rocks the natural look, good for her. But it should always be a choice - with little significance.

Recently, when my little sister told me that I needed to shave my legs, instead of running off to do it immediately, I asked her why. "Because men don't like really hairy legs..." that actually came out of the mouth of a 16-year-old girl. So I proudly told her that I didn't care what men thought. I wasn't trying to impress anybody. I liked my hairy legs and I didn't feel like shaving them. I hope that this conversation can start a train of thought in her that it took me years to develop.

Female body hair removal is just another method of oppressing women. It's so unnecessary that there is truly no other explanation. And so I refuse to be oppressed, and I encourage you to make a stand with me. Throw away your razors. Grow your leg hair for a month. Let your underarms sprout hair long enough that you can dye it hot pink. Don't be ashamed of what is natural, and if you have a daughter, a niece, or a young sister, don't let her be ashamed either. We are beautiful with or without the hair on our bodies.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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