on one leg my hair is *far* less noticeable.
There are certain rites of passage I assumed all girls experienced.
My mother was definitely a woman before her time, yet even in the era of William wanting a doll not much consideration was given to suggesting girls choose whether or not they wanted to shave leg or underarm hair.
As a result, I grew up armed with an awareness women are entirely equal to men, with a dad who called himself a feminist, and somehow with the assumption all American girls were as I was: eager to shave their legs the instant they received the parental OK.
I think I got the “shaving thumbs up” at this age?
I started shaving about age 12 and longed to remove the hair for years before that.
I grew up. I graduated high school. I went to college.
I don’t think it was selection bias (either the college or the friends), but even at that age I still only knew a few women who chose not to shave.
I had friends who tried it (and returned to hair-removal immediately).
I had a friend who’d never shaved either legs or underarms and never planned to.
One cold Ohio winter even I gave leg-hair-growing a shot to see whether Id be warmer (I wasn’t).
I never gave much thought to my choice or other women’s choices until my daughter started to get older.
I was absentmindedly stroking her legs when I noticed all the dark hair she had.
It was during that moment it dawned on me what I registered was not Oh! I need to have the shaving talk with her soon but how silky the hair felt to the touch.
How, if my own leg hair were as downy soft, I might never shave at all.
I’ll let you guess if these legs met Lady Schick…
A week or so after that realization she asked, apropos of nothing, if all women shaved.
What do you mean? I responded stalling for time.
I know when you go from a girl to a woman you shave your legs and under your arms. I wondered if every single woman did that?
That moment’s realization was less lovely than the one I’d had weeks priors.
I’d wordlessly sent a message of hairless = good/normal and hairy = not feminine/womanly.
The very concept I adore of “our children following what we do and not what we say” seemed to have come back to haunt me.
hello ever-present shower razor!
No, told her. In fact many women don’t ever shave. Or they may start and decide it’s not for them!
Those final 10 (unplanned) words sealed the deal for me.
I needed to practice what I preach.
I decided to stop shaving my legs.
I don’t know how long my break will last.
I wonder if, when my hair is longer and perhaps downy soft like the Child’s, I’ll decide I like it and never re-start?
I’m uncertain if the Child will even notice the change and, if she doesn’t, whether I’ll point it out to her?
My decision to stop is as much about me and for me as it is an effort to show her physical beauty presents in many forms and there’s no “right way” to be feminine.
Obviously my post title was hyperbolic, but I urge you, if you shave, to consider the reasons behind your choice.
You may have already and *know* it’s the right choice for you.
You may discover, as I did, you’d never paused to consider your why (look at that! it’s just like fitness) or the messages you might *accidentally* be sending to little eyes which are always watching.
- Do you remember when you started shaving your legs? Was it a rite of passage as it was for me?