This post came about because of a blog post written for Glamour magazine (there is explicit discussions about sexuality in this article and how it’s intertwined with body hair, so it’s definitely nsfw, but a GREAT read if you’re comfortable with that). This post was also written because of the subsequent discussion from it after it was posted in one of my cloth pad and RUMPs Facebook groups. I found it super interesting and almost enlightening how open and honest people with vulvae can be about something purely personal to them. So cool! But that’s probably just my thing, I love learning about things regarding the female reproductive system (stemming from a life of struggle with my own 😂)! But anyways, here we go, get ready for a (not so wild) ride on my opinions, my experiences, and an overview on the interactions between body hair and femininity!
I recently told my best friend of eight years that I have never shaved my legs. We grew up together, having met in sixth grade, and she had never noticed my leg hair until we moved in together and she was laying on them looking for it. She was surprised, to a degree I was not expecting, and even said she was jealous. I was blessed in this life with super thin barely there body hair so I got really lucky in terms of modern societal expectations, but I also believe that someone who has quadruple the density of body hair compared to me should have the same ability to not shave and still not be ridiculed for that choice.
I have such sensitive skin, I have never been able to find a deodorant that my underarm skin doesn’t react to to some degree. Not like, “just a light itch”, more like blistering burning incredibly painful rash that I would scratch at in my sleep. Even before I wore deodorant, I would get heat rashes under my arms and in the creases of my elbows and knees. That’s not something I ever ever want to mess with.
I have a super low pain tolerance (waxing any part of my body was and will never be an option), and my personal hatred for shaving is ever present so there aren’t really many options. Not to mention, I really don’t want to! I never even got a shaving or period talk from my parents, not even just the facts, so I’m kinda messed up in terms of societal expectations. I just… don’t care!
My mother and I have a close friend that insists that women HAVE to shave their armpits and pubic hair for “cleanliness”, that there is something that makes women different from men that forces them to NEED to do it. But that comes off to me like a disposable pad or tampon or douche commercial from the 80s. Like, “feeling not so fresh?”. Sure…
(p.s. about that ad, no modern doctor would ever “recommend” putting vinegar in your vagina, oh my god. how to majorly throw off the pH of your body 101. We have learned more about the human body since 1981, believe it or not.)
We know the scientific purpose and benefits of body hair, but we also have the ability to effectively and safely remove it. It is a personal choice that adults should be able to make. As long as said body hair isn’t causing harm to you or impacting your person, I’m fine. Judge me all you want, only I can control how “clean” I am. Like, that “shaving = cleanliness because women are different biologically” is a pretty staunch post-WWII era belief, when most women were forced back out of the workforce and into more traditionally feminine jobs and housewifery. During the war and before, shaving was not 75% of what it is now. Just like the rise in disposable feminine products, imagine how much the body hair removal industry makes off of feminine insecurity created by societal expectations and preconceived notions.
It’s okay to shave for a partner as long as they aren’t making you do it (which is unhealthy in general) or making you feel bad about your body because of your body hair. If you are in that situation, here are some things to remember:
Your body hair is there for a reason, your body wouldn’t grow it if it was inherently gross or unclean. Maintain good overall hygiene and there’s nothing to worry about. Body hair will always be a trendy topic, and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting or never even touching it. As an adult human, be conscious of your own self worth and your ability to make decisions for yourself regardless of others. Know that your body is the one thing you will always have, and will always be in. It’s your body, and yours alone. Own it, take care of it, and be your best version of yourself for you.