Should Women Be Able To Participate In No Shave November?

Should Women Be Able To Participate In No Shave November?

The answer to this is always yes.
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“No Shave November” is a term I became familiar with my freshman year of college. It was just before Halloween, right before class began as I sat behind four or five guys talking about the parties they were going to and their costumes. I wasn’t eavesdropping, just overhearing the conversation while I texted my sister as one of the guys said, “Dude, I can’t wait until November. No shaving for a whole month!”

The rest of the guys nodded in agreement, which was followed by a girl in the corner of the room speaking up and saying, “Yeah, I love 'No Shave November'! It’s awesome.”

There was a pause where I looked up to see that the guys were looking at her with confusion. Then one said, “Girls have to shave their legs. It’s gross if they don’t.”

I’m pretty sure the rest of the girls in class — myself included — would’ve rioted had my professor not come in and started class the second after this conversation took place. So instead of talking about it, I was left to stew in my own anger, while most of the girls in class with me probably did so as well.

But every year come November, I hear the same arguments again and again on whether or not women can participate in "No Shave November", because once again, we love putting women’s bodies up for debate. And it’s a debate I’m tired of having, to be honest. Because the fact of the matter is that no woman is ever obligated to shave, ever, not just during the month of November. I don’t care how “gross” men think it is; women simply don’t have to. At the end of the day, women’s bodies — all women’s bodies — don’t belong to men or anyone else. They belong to themselves.

In eighth grade I made friends with the new girl in school and invited her over to my house one Friday afternoon in September. As we sat on the swings, she told me that a guy — not just a guy, but a guy I knew, had known since elementary school — had told her that her arms were too hairy and that she needed to shave them. I was angry, but not surprised. I was only 13 at the time and had my fair share of other boys in my grade degrading my own body, so I understood where she was coming from. How deeply it hurt. I remember that same year, one of my guy friends told me that my mustache was gross, and that’s when I started shaving my upper lip despite there being nothing there but a few wisps of blonde hair.

There is so much pressure from Western society to fit the narrow mindset on one idea of beauty: smooth and hairless — not to mention white, skinny, able-bodied, conventionally attractive, etc. — and I know so many women who struggle with it and so many women who try to reject it. I know girls who wax their body raw, who shave daily, because they don’t want to have to deal with people making comments about their body and how much hair they have. I also have girl friends who refuse to shave at all, because they’re too lazy or they just don’t care enough.

And I’m not anti-shaving. I’m not saying no one should ever shave again. I personally like the feeling of smooth legs every once in a while. What I am saying, however, is that women should not be obligated to shave. Teenage girls shouldn’t be shamed into shaving. Body hair is a natural and normal thing, whether it be on your legs or your arms or your upper lip or your eyebrows. All body hair is normal, be it light and thin or dark and coarse. There’s no shame in having it. It’s your body. Whatever you decide to do with it, that’s your choice. Of course, maybe it is easier for me to say this as a white woman who does fit into your conventional standards of Western beauty. At the end of the day, my struggles with my body are not the same as other women who don’t fit that narrow mold. My body — a white, thin, ciswoman, able-bodied one — is not scrutinized or criticized in the same way that women of color, fat, and/or trans women’s bodies are, and I recognize that and respect that, so when I talk about these issues, I understand that I’m always coming from a place of extreme privilege. Hopefully, though, I’m saying something meaningful enough that people will listen and agree.

And if women want to participate in "No Shave November" (or just no shaving forever), I say let them. Isn’t the whole point of "No Shave November" to increase awareness for prostate cancer? Are women suddenly not allowed to help men out if it puts their bodies at risk for being too “gross?"

So, when someone asks me if I think women should be able to participate in "No Shave November", my answer will always be, without a doubt, yes.

What will yours be?

Cover Image Credit: Alibaba

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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This is Cyntoia Brown And THIS is Why She Deserves To Be Freed, Immediately

A glimpse inside the incarceration of a Tennessee woman who was sentenced to life behind bars for killing a pedophile who solicited her for sex.

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In 2004, Cyntoia Brown, a Tenessee woman, was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who solicited her for sex when she was only 16 years old. Now, 14 years later, the court has ruled that she must serve 51 years in prison before she is eligible for parole.

So, what happened to Brown all those years ago? Brown says at the time of the murder, she was living with her abusive boyfriend who would often physically and sexually abuse her, force her to sell sex for money, and pump her full of drugs to make her more controllable.

Brown was picked up on the side of the road by a 43-year-old insurance agent named Johnny Mitchell Allen. Allen brought Brown to his home, showed her his extensive gun collection, and then came onto Brown. Brown then resisted Allen's sexual advances. After being rejected, Allen reached below his bed. Brown assumed he was reaching for a gun, and then shot Allen with her own gun out of fear of being shot herself. On the morning of the shooting, Brown's abusive boyfriend advised her that she better come home with money that day. Out of fear of her boyfriend, Brown then stole money from the dead man's wallet and left the home.

Since then, prosecutors have argued that Brown's intentions were to rob this man from the very beginning, though Brown and her lawyers insist that the shooting was done out of self-defense. It's worth noting that Tennessee law states that any sex work done by minors is ruled sex slavery. Brown was 16 years old, and practically in the custody of a man who is said to have repeatedly raped and solicited her to have sex with other men for money. She was under the control of someone stronger and more threatening than herself. She was scared and did what she thought she had to do to make it out of that situation alive.

I'm in no way condoning murdering someone. It's just pretty appalling to me how courts are so quick to send this woman to prison for the rest of her life when proven sexual predators like Brock Turner are given six-month sentences and only made to serve three for raping an unconscious woman in a park. How in the world does shooting a pedophile out of self-defense warrant a more severe punishment than raping a defenseless woman? Does this make sense to anyone? If so, please enlighten me.

Now, people across the country are pleading Tennessee governor Bill Haslam to grant Brown clemency before his term is up in a few weeks. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna have shared their sympathy for Brown on social media, which has garnered a lot of publicity from a younger demographic.

On Monday, Governor Haslam gave a speech on education at the Nashville Public Library. After being asked about the amount of justice within Brown's case, Governor Haslam said: "We're reviewing a lot of cases, and while Cyntoia's case has gotten a lot of publicity, I don't think you want us to treat her's any different than a whole lot of cases that I think people want us to review."

Haslam said everyone in his office is looking very deeply into Brown's case and he will make a decision on whether or not to grant Brown clemency before his term is up in a few weeks.

Haslam's conservative reputation could be impacted by his potential decision to show Brown mercy. It all comes down to how he wants to be remembered as a governor. My hope is that justice is shown and that Brown is treated as a victim of sex-slavery, rather than a killer and a thief. No person should be sent to a life behind bars for trying to defend themselves.

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