No Shave November

On our bizarre hair standards

Every November, society expects men to embrace their masculinity by growing and shaping their facial hair into various styles of mustaches and beards.

We find many men proudly displaying their abilities to produce magnificent feats with their facial hair, while those who cannot are stigmatized from their manhood. What we tend to ignore is the double standard of this competition – women are discouraged from letting their body hair grow.

From a young age, women are told to be hairless creatures (except for our heads, where we’re encouraged to sport long, traditional locks). Our culture emphasizes the use of razors to remove “objectionable hair”, and older women who tire of this routine seek various forms of permanent hair removal.

The few women who do not shave are, once again, stigmatized for being “hairy freaks” or what I often hear, “dirty hippie.” But are we really freaks, or are we embracing our human nature? We are born hairy creatures, a point that is evident in our phylogenic tree.

The removal of this hair is a young and new cultural standard; it was established in America less than 100 years ago. In the 1920’s, razors companies were pushing for sales by creating the standard of “objectionable hair,” and the fad caught on when sleeveless dresses became a fashion trend. Unlike America, European, Asian and African cultures continue to embrace natural body hair.

For the longest time, I questioned the sanity of shaving. It involves constant upkeep and can lead to various minor injuries. It’s also costly, as we are constantly buying new razors and shaving cream. Talk about a racket. For some women, missing a day leads to too much stubble, while others cannot shave every day lest they risk the wrath of razor burn. It hurts!

Though I hate shaving, that does not mean I do not take part in this trend. If my hair is a nuisance, as in the case of my underarms, I remedy the situation as needed. By as needed, I shave once every 4-5 days, and that is enough. My legs, on the other hand, are never bothersome, so I have not shaved them in a year and a half and do not plan on it.

What do the men say about my hairy legs? Most of them DO NOT CARE.

Surprising? It shouldn’t be. They aren’t touching my legs, and if they can’t handle my hair, they can’t handle me. And if I am wanting the comforting touch of smooth legs, I simply wear my silky leggings and life is grand.

I display my hairy legs proudly, for they make a powerful statement about beauty standards. The media is persistently projecting ideal standards of beauty to subconsciously force us into thinking we need various products to achieve them. What we truly need is a more accepting perspective, one that sees beauty outside of the physical realm. My body hair does not hamper any aspect of my inner beauty; there’s no reason it should affect yours.