I will never forget being in the fourth grade, sitting in Mr. Jurak's classroom, leaning over in my seat to pick up a pencil off the ground, and hearing the person next to me scream "ewwwwwww" as they made eye-contact with my lower back. It was mortifying.
When I would go home and complain to my parents- hoping that they'd do something about it- my dad was always quick to say something like, 'it will keep you warm in the winter' and then go on to elaborate on all the survival skills I have as a result of having darker hairs on my back.
My dad always reminded me that I was beautiful and made me feel almost unique for being hairy.
He instilled me with enough confidence to face off with bullies throughout elementary school but I continued to crumble as I got older.
The truth is that at the end of the day I am an Iranian-American; I cannot help the fact that my parents genetically predisposed me to be kind of hairy. I mean, it's not like I am insanely hairy, but I am not the average American- that's for sure.
My hairs are dark, my eyelashes are long, and especially when I was growing up, I had hair on my back!
To make things even worse, up until my junior year of high school, my parents did not openly allow me to shave or engage in really any kind of hair removal. I had to live with the hair on my back and at some point, become okay with it.
At this point in my life, I could not possibly care less who says what about the hairs on my body. The absolute only person's opinion I care about is my own. The truth is, I don't like hair all that much but I experienced a pretty significant shift in my mentality regarding it all when I noticed myself only shaving for, me.
Western society imposes shaving on women, that's a fact but I don't think that thereby indicates that women cannot have their own reasons for shaving; I know I have mine.
When my parents finally let me take agency over my hair removal, I would keep my legs perfectly shaved. Anytime I planned to wear shorts I naturally would at the same time plan a time to shower, to shave, in order to wear those shorts in the first place. Shaving was almost a necessary precondition for wearing shorts. For a lot of women, this is still the case.
I remember hearing my friends saying things like, "I can't wait for the winter, that way I'll only have to wear jeans and not have to shave." At the time, I would nod my head and laugh in agreement.
The reason girls shave has a lot to do with the boys we want to impress, the girls that judge us if we don't, and the general message society sends us, telling us that we must. If you are a girl reading this and don't feel like these foregoing reasons describe why you shave (or reasons you neglect when choosing not to shave) then more power to you. All I know is in my life before I didn't even really realized it, my sense of urgency to shave was entirely ideological.
My boyfriend was the person who- without even realizing it -allowed me to start making the decision to shave for myself.
Over the course of our relationship, he made a few surprise visits to see me, ended up staying a few weekends, and at one point he really experienced the real me.
He didn't flinch. It was as if me shaving or not shaving made no difference to how attractive I was to him. It almost pissed me off; and I remember questioning, why am I doing this?
He made, and makes, me feel beautiful, always.
It does help that he is probably ten times as hairy as I am but in any case, he looks at me as a human being. I am not a woman expected to be hairless in his eyes; I'm Sara, his girlfriend, who sometimes doesn't have the time to shave her legs and sometimes doesn't really feel like it.
We never had a formal conversation about it but at one point I grew comfortable enough with myself (and my hairy body) around him and days after that, I realized that despite his lack of care, I don't like being hairy!
I enjoy shaving because I like feeling soft. The feeling of putting lotion on, sliding under my sheets, and putting flowery lotion on. I shave for me these days and it's pretty freaking awesome.
Now, I feel like a really lucky girl because my boyfriend really is the best, in so many ways but the point of this article is that, ladies should always be shaving for themselves. Ladies should do all things for themselves.
Society has a pretty strict script for us to follow, and sometimes we don't even realize how close we follow it.
Don't be a mindless goat walking through life; question your reasoning for everything you do, and make sure that things you do to yourself, are for yourself.