To shave or not to shave–why is this still an issue?

And now for something completely less serious: I don’t shave my legs. Haven’t bothered since college. It made my legs itch and burn, sometimes so bad that I would cry after I shaved.

So I would shave once or twice, then stop for a while, then shave again. One day in my sophomore year of college, my boyfriend (now husband) said “Geez, the stubble itches and scratches when it rubs against my legs. Will you either shave or not shave? Just pick one.” So I stopped shaving my legs (although I occasionally shave under my arms, when I feel like it).

And that, as they say, was that. For a few years, I was embarrassed to wear shorts in public and then one day I realized I didn’t give a crap if people thought I was a feminist (because I am) or if people thought unshaven legs are gross (because that’s their issue, not mine).

Some women (like me) don’t feel like spending time on shaving or don’t like the feeling of shaved legs. And that’s okay.

Some women aren’t comfortable with unshaven legs, prefer the feel of smooth legs, or whatever. And that’s okay too.

Why is this still an issue? In 2011, why do I still see news articles (I kid you not!) talking about some actress or singer who ::gasp:: showed up at an awards ceremony with unshaven legs or armpits?

Even in an entertainment/fluff news piece, don’t we have something more important to talk about? Tell me if the actress can act or the singer can sing. Tell me if they’ve won an award, tell me if they’ve done something innovative in their field, but don’t tell me if they shaved, okay? ‘Cause I won’t give a damn and I will immediately dismiss your article as a waste of time.

Just as with makeup or nail polish or pantyhose, to shave or not to shave is a personal issue. It’s not the job of other women or men to tell women whether they should or shouldn’t do it. Seriously, people…get a life!


About mamamara

I'm a 40-something, work-at-home mother of two. I'm pro-vaccine, pro-medicine, pro-science, and an avid reader of information about all of the above, and I want to combine my love for my children with my love for science. So here we are!
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4 Responses to To shave or not to shave–why is this still an issue?

  1. KA says:

    I don’t get the big deal either. I really like shaved legs so I shave mine every day, and when I lived in Berkeley this made me something of a novelty in my social circle of riot grrls and the like. My boyfriend at the time had never had a girlfriend who shaved her legs and he loved my bare legs. (Again, probably the novelty factor.) And I did take some shit from from people for shaving, which always surprised me because I never would have said a word to someone else about their own choices.

    It was such a political thing, though. You could do whatever you wanted with the hair on your head (dreadlocks, shaved, mohawk, reverse mohawk, buzzcut, pink, blue, green, rainbow, whatever), but there were strict standards for the hair elsewhere on your body. In that, you had to conform or else.

    Aside: for years I didn’t shave my underarms because the result was much like your experience shaving your legs. Then I started getting my underarms waxed, and after years of this the hair that does grow between waxes is incredibly sparse and fine. My armpits are balding. 🙂

  2. Chris says:

    I personally don’t care. My husband once tried to convince me to shave, but demurred when I told I would only after he did.

    I am blond, and you can’t see the hair. One guy at work once made a silly statements about women who did not shave their legs. So the next day I wore a skirt and sandals, and nary a peep. I don’t think he noticed.

    • mamamara says:

      I’m definitely not blond 😀 But I realized that once I’d stopped shaving for a while and the hair had time to grow out, it got a bit lighter and thinner.

      I actually don’t know if anyone notices my hairy legs because I’m so oblivious that they’d actually have to be staring and pointing for me to notice 😀

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