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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8 Struggles Of Being 21 And Looking 12

The struggle is real, my friends.
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“You'll appreciate it when you're older." Do you know how many times my mom has told me this? Too many to count. Every time I complain about looking young that is the response I get. I know she's right, I will love looking young when I'm in my 40s. However, looking young is a real struggle in your 20s. Here's what we have to deal with:

1. Everyone thinks your younger sister or brother is the older one.

True story: someone actually thought my younger sister was my mom once. I've really gotten used to this but it still sucks.

2. You ALWAYS get carded.

Every. Single. Time. Since I know I look young, I never even bothered with a fake ID my first couple of years of college because I knew it would never work. If I'm being completely honest, I was nervous when I turned 21 that the bartender would think my real driver's license was a fake.

3. People look at your driver's license for an awkward amount of time.

So no one has actually thought my real driver's license is fake but that doesn't stop them from doing a double take and giving me *that look.* The look that says, “Wow, you don't look that old." And sometimes people will just flat out say that. The best part is this doesn't just happen when you're purchasing alcohol. This has happened to me at the movie theater.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things People Who Look 12 Hate Hearing

4. People will give you *that look* when they see you drinking alcohol.

You just want to turn around and scream “I'M 21, IT'S LEGAL. STOP JUDGING ME."

5. People are shocked to find out you're in college.

If I had a dollar for every time someone had a shocked expression on their face after I told them I'm a junior in college I could pay off all of my student loan debt. It's funny because when random people ask me how school is going, I pretty much assume they think I'm in high school and the shocked look on their face when I start to talk about my college classes confirms I'm right.

6. For some reason wearing your hair in a ponytail makes you look younger.

I don't understand this one but it's true. Especially if I don't have any makeup on I could honestly pass for a child.

7. Meeting an actual 12-year-old who looks older than you.

We all know one. That random 12-year-old who looks extremely mature for her age and you get angry because life isn't fair.

8. Being handed a kids' menu.

This is my personal favorite. It happens more often than it should. The best part of this is it's your turn to give someone a look. The look that says, "You've got to be kidding me".

Looking young is a real struggle and I don't think everyone realizes it. However, with all the struggles that come with looking young, we still take advantage of it. Have you ever gone to a museum or event where if you're under a certain age you get in for a discounted price? Yeah? Well, that's when I bet you wish you were us. And kids' meals are way cheaper than regular meals so there have definitely been a couple times when I've kept that kids' menu.

So, all in all, it's not the worst thing in the world but it's definitely a struggle.

Cover Image Credit: Jenna Collins

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The 2020 Race Is Feeling The Bern

Everything you need to know about Bernie Sanders entering the presidential race.

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This morning, February 19, 2019, Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders announced he is running for president once again.

Unlike his run in 2016, though, Sanders now joins a crowded field of progressive candidates, one of which is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

In Sanders's own words, this campaign is "about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life". Sanders went on to say that this is a "pivotal and dangerous moment in American history," and "We are running against a President who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction".

In his interview with CBS, Sanders explained that it is "absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated", and described candidates whom he is running alongside as his "friends".

Regarding policy issues, his focus remains the same as in previous years, planning to focus largely on women's reproductive rights, lower prices for prescription drugs, and criminal justice reform.

Sanders is also widely recognized because of his goal of universal healthcare. His Medicare-for-all bill that was drafted in 2017 outlines the establishment of a "national health insurance program to provide comprehensive protection against the costs of health-care and health-related services". According to estimates, however, such a plan would increase federal spending by $2.5 trillion a year.

When it comes to education, Sanders plans to make preschool for all 4-year-olds free, aiming to fund this plan through tax increases on the wealthy as well as Wall Street transactions.

More widely acknowledged is his "College For All Act", which would provide $47 billion a year to states in order to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities. Additionally, the act would cut student loan interest rates nearly in half for undergrads.

In terms of social issues, Sanders is pro-choice when it comes to abortion rights and opposes policies which discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, such as Trump's push to ban transgender people from the military.

The New York Times discusses the idea that the political field of the 2020 run might leave Sanders a "victim of his own success", in that the multitude of Democratic candidates are embracing policies which Sanders championed in the last race.

"Ironically, Bernie's agenda for working families will be the Democratic Party's message in 2020, but he may not be the one leading the parade," said talk show host Bill Press.

Moreover, victories by women, minorities, and first-time candidates in the 2018 midterm elections suggest that "fresh energy" is preferred by Democrats, which potentially poses a challenge for Sanders.

Conversely, though, Sanders is also starting off with certain advantages, such as a "massive lead among low-dollar donors that is roughly equivalent to the donor base of all the other Democratic hopefuls combined".

Donald Trump responded to Sanders's announcement by saying, "First of all I think he missed his time, but... I like Bernie. He sort of would agree on trade... the problem is he doesn't know what to do about it. But I wish Bernie well."

By and large, Sanders is another strong candidate, and it will be interesting to see if he can generate the same energy and support now that he did in 2016.

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