#NoShaveNovember Raises Hairy Gender Questions

When Ms. magazine asked me what I thought about #NoShaveNovember, I had never even heard of such a thing, and I couldn’t quite grasp its point. Maybe this is because I participate in something called No Shave Forever: I don’t shave my armpits and only occasionally shave my legs. So I looked up the #NoShaveNovember Twitter trend and read the first 80 or so tweets. Here are a few typical examples:

My Twitter feed was completely saturated with such choice phrases. Apparently, it’s intended to be a meme for men, and its proponents want to make very, very sure that women don’t join in. Why all the sexism and hatred towards women with body hair? For months I’ve been working on a documentary film about armpit hair, called Pitstache, to answer just that question. I am interviewing people around the country so I can get to the bottom of this hairlessness norm.

From what I’ve learned so far, the problem isn’t just the media, or sexism, or advertisements; the problem is that no one really thinks about it. Dear readers, I challenge you to ask a friend why women must shave while men don’t have to. I’ve heard men (and women) answer that hairy armpits are disgusting and a sign of bad hygiene–but only for women. I’ve heard women answer that yes, they find hairy legs on men unsightly, but men aren’t supposed to shave, so oh well. Let me be clear: I don’t find anything wrong with choosing to shave, but I’m troubled that many don’t realize when or why they made that choice. Most women I talk to say that they started at puberty when everyone else did and never really thought about it.

When I confront people with the question of “why,” they really have to think. Hairless women have been burned into the collective mind as the symbol of sexiness and femininity, to such an extent that celebrities such as Mo’Nique who challenge the image are often ridiculed. But here’s some food for thought: By nature, shouldn’t body hair be defined as womanly because it is a mark of puberty and thus of becoming a woman? Not to mention its role as a pheromone producer. Armpits are sometimes referred to as “scent traps” because their hairs help trap and exude the scents of sexuality. Pubic hair is also a handy way of knowing a woman isn’t a 10-year-old with breast implants.

So why is hairlessness considered so feminine? To start at the beginning, as early as 1915, women were shown advertisements such as this one for depilatory powder in Harper’s Bazaar (right) telling them underarm hair was “objectionable.” Since then, the campaigns for hair removal products have become ubiquitous. Another argument relates more to gender roles: Generally, men tend to have more hair on their bodies and faces than women. Hairlessness for woman can be seen as an exaggeration of that difference between men and women.

The stereotypes of women with body hair are often hippie, lesbian and feminist. I’ve been called at least two of those, not always in a nice way. Hairy-legged feminist in particular is used as an insult, often accompanied by sexless or man-hating. Being a feminist with body hair gets linked to not being sufficiently invested in performing femininity or in pleasing men.

No one should be surprised at what is trending on Twitter. No one. While body hair has been discussed from time to time in the women’s movement, it hasn’t spread to the mainstream discussion. That’s because the progress that has been made for body image in the media has for the most part been about weight and body size. While weight and body size are important issues that must be addressed, they are not the only gendered issues around body image. I’m still waiting hopefully for the Glee kids to sing about leg fuzz.

Yes, there is increasing pressure for men to wax their backs and chests. And yes, men in fashion magazines often have trimmed armpit hair. Fashion tends to dictate what we should look like, and the appearance of hairless men in magazines is no exception. One could also argue that men’s garments are often less revealing, making shaving armpits or backs a moot point. So what’s the difference between the expectation of hairless men and hairless women? I could write an essay with citations, quotes and links, but a quicker way would be to direct you to the Twitter trend of #NoShaveNovember. The sheer volume of hateful messages and warnings directed to women who might dare consider participating is just staggering. I was able to pick out perhaps two comments about why men should keep shaving. And therein lies the difference: A hairy man can be considered a burly man, while a hairy woman is usually considered at best “forgetful.”

Just ask the person next to you: Why are women expected to shave while men are not? And if they come back with, “Well men have to shave their faces,” just remind them how rugged and dashing George Clooney is considered to look with stubble.

Photos courtesy of the author.

Comments

  1. I completely agree. As a bi chick, I also haven’t figured out why this is such a big deal to men… I’m just as attracted to women with hair on their faces, pits and snatches as I am to ladies who trim. (Maybe even moreso, since they are actively rebelling against the social norm. Eh, maybe I prefer a gal with a mind of her own, no?)

  2. Well, this is very odd. From an Aussie perspective, #noshaveNovember is actually #movember. Aimed at raising awareness of prostate cancer in men. The intention is to grow a beard or mustache for the month to raise fund for prostate cancer and depression in men.

    It is a shame that your search only found tweets from people who don’t really know what Movember is or what it’s about.

    Check out http://au.movember.com/about/ to see what it’s all about. I don’t really think its a gender discriminatory campaign, I am sure they would welcome anyone wanting to participate for this great campaign.

  3. I did not shave anywhere for nearly 30 years. In the past year, I’ve begun shaving off my newly-sprouted chin hairs, but will never shave my armpits or my legs. First, that hair helps my body regulate temperature and not get too cold or hot. Also, it seems like a waste of time, kind of like makeup and spending a lot of time fixing or dyeing my hair. My Slovenian cousins do not shave. But nearly every other female I know does.

    I’m sure that my body hair has never kept me from having a relationship with a man. In fact, discussions about it have started a few! Women are the ones who are most vocal about the ickiness of female body hair. Do they really hate their bodies that much? I wonder.

  4. Larrabeedrill says:

    The goal of No Shave November is to generate awareness of prostate cancer, and the importance of prostate examinations. It is not intended as a chauvinistic holiday.

    Women should feel free to participate; and All should understand the importance of prostate health and examinations. Hopefully the continued popularity of events like No Shave November will raise public awareness to the level of breast cancer; and eliminate the stigma of prostate exams.

    • Fuzzy_muppet says:

      I am a female and i am participating in no shave november, unfortunately for me i hadn’t shaved in 2 weeks prior to learning about it….its november now and i signed up already hairy. My boyfriend could care less about body hair and he will be participating as well!

  5. anonymous me says:

    Can we start getting men to shave their armpits? ‘Cause it’s gross. Just saying.

  6. Josh and Larrabeedrill nailed No Shave November/Movember on the head as to what it is for.

    That said RE: women’s body hair, I enjoy it! For me it’s almost a turn off if someone doesn’t have at least some, wherever they choose that to be. I know that some people say that the style of women removing all of their hair other than that on their heads really came about with the feminist movement, but alas, I wasn’t around at the time, so all I have been able to find is third or forth hand. Thus, my salt intake is a bit high.

  7. MacEarlie says:

    This topic is the very reason I don’t shave my legs. My husband supports me, even if he doesn’t quite agree with it. I just refuse to be forced into boundaries of what “beauty” is. I don’t think it’s fair to assume that people with unshaved legs are automatically as you said “lesbian” “feminist” and “hippie”. I just don’t care enough to allow other people to dictate to me what I should look like and how I should act in order to be “female”.

  8. Reading through the twitter feed I seem to get the impression that most of the people don’t actually know what Movember is about (Movember here in the UK as well as Oz). :S

    Regarding shaving and women – for a long time if I saw a woman with body hair I wasn’t so much as ‘grossed out’ (as some people would describe it) as I was curious – well if you see something that’s not considered the ‘norm’ you’re going to react in someway aren’t you? (That’s half the problem, the idea that women shaving is ‘normal’).

    I started shaving at 12/13 basically because it was a way of denying I was going through puberty – I didn’t want to grow up and hated the changes going on in my body, plus there was added teasing thrown into the mix (pubescent girls can be evil). As an adult I still shave my legs but I’ve recently stopped shaving my underarms (I like my underarm hair, it’s all soft and strokable – my husband isn’t complaining either ;) ) and I don’t shave my pubic hair (though I might give it a trim occasionally to tidy things up for :-p). When I’ve asked blokes why body hair on women is a turn off they really can’t give a straight answer – it’s just a subtle form of indoctrination as to what’s acceptable and no one seems to question it.

  9. Maria Luisa says:

    I just participated in the twitter hashtag. I could not care less about shaving or removing my hair. Who cares if men don’t like it. The whole year should be #noshavenovember

  10. I wrote about this yesterday! I asked my boyfriend about the double standard and I thought his answer was pretty accurate: “It is that it reminds us that women aren’t men. Our culture likes to over emphasize gender differences, and since women don’t naturally have as much facial hair as men, we extend that, and expect women not to have body hair either. I know that’s sexist of me to say, and I know that thinking is probably wrong, but if I’m being honest, that’s probably the root of it.”

    http://moonchild11.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/a-fem

    • My boyfriend tells me he doesn’t like leg hair because it looks and feels like a man’s leg. Well, I don’t really care, but I can see his pov. I think he may be slowly coming around to having a hairy lady by his side.

  11. I’d like to clarify that Movember and No Shave November are NOT the same thing. This is an IMPORTANT distinction. No Shave November has been going on for a long, long, long time–when I was in middle school. It’s not to raise awareness of anything, it’s literally a month in which men don’t shave. Because they can.

    Movember began a few years ago as a spin to No Shave November. Men grow mustaches (not beards, hence “Mo…vember.”) It’s a great cause to raise awareness of men’s prostate health. “Mosisters” are part of the team equally, for obvious reasons (not being able to grow a mustache) they do other parts of what the team needs to do to raise the money to fund awareness campaigns. Whether it’s finding sponsors for the mustaches or ensuring the guys are not shaving, etc. When the best team wins, mosisters and the men are equally recognized.

    It’s an awesome cause and a lot of the fems on my campus have participated exentensively. Because men’s reproductive health is important (just as ours is) and more often neglected and also because it’s a total team effort. I may not be able to grow a mustache, but just like health awareness for my ovaries is important to me (who hasn’t heard about having to get paps!?), men need help in raising awareness about this issue that is often forgotten, especially by men themselves.

  12. OH GOD THE GOVERMENT IS BRAINWASHING US

    Quickly ladies, start cutting your nails. Stop using make up. Stop wearing skirts.

    You say female body hair started being gross at 1915? Well, the pre-1915s fashion must be the correct fashion! Why should we wear 2011 clothes? Next time, ask a friend why they’re wearing 2011 clothes when they COULD be wearing 1914′s clothes! You know why? BECAUSE SOCIETY MADE THEM! Society’s not getting to me, though, no more of these “forced” attitudes or values.

    Honestly, if you don’t want to shave, don’t shave. But you sound like a person that has grown fond of female body hair and now you’re mad that not everyone agrees with you, even though there’s a lot of things that people disagree with you about today where you’d get a completely different reaction about 50 years ago.

    Somehow I think this blog post wouldn’t exist if it were equally disgusting for both men and women not to shave. Then it would’ve just been another fashion thing, but now that it’s UNFAIR and all it’s really important, huh?

    I’m sure you’ve figured that I’m a guy. Yet somehow I don’t feel the urge to write a blog post about how it’s unfair that it’s not ok for guys to wear make up or how a skinny guy needs to work out to look attractive (TO THE MAJORITY, just like the MAJORITY and not EVERYONE prefers shaved legs on women) while a skinny girl only really needs to stay skinny to look attractive. Or how about this awful thing where I need to cut my nails all the time not to look disgusting, while girls can not only save out their nails but they get to freaking PAINT them with happy colors too?

    Sorry, this came out sounding a bit too bitter. Have a good evening!

    • You know, dude, just because we complain about our marginalization doesn’t mean we deny yours. This post isn’t about why it’s not ok for boys and girls to like doing things reserved for the other gender; it’s specifically about the double standard regarding whose bodies are allowed to be natural, and whose must be constantly and repeatedly modified to be acceptable. All of us whose desires for self-presentation fall outside the norm are derided for it. How bout we all stick together instead of playing the “You think you’ve got problems?!” card?

    • Beauty standards affect everyone wrongly. They hurt us all.

      Fat kids are picked on. Fat adults are shamed. Women increasingly suffer from anorexia and bulimia, and starting at increasingly young ages. And the rates of men affected have started climbing too. Effeminate men are harrassed. Women are manhandled. People are raped. And what follows? We blame the victim, don’t think of what made the perpetrator into a perpetrator, and if they complain, victims are whiny pussies and don’t deserve their freedom of speech.

      The solution is not to ‘man up’ and shame and blame those who complain, it is to speak out and change social norms and structures. For all of us. Joining our voices, our separate experiences, to create a constructive dialogue where everyone’s pain is represented.

      You say this post wouldn’t exist is sexualization and objectification affected both men and women equally. I have two things to say. Please read them carefully, without anger and with willingness to understand:

      a) I CRINGE, I hurt inside, every time I hear someone or see a campaign telling men what they should look like. I find it dehumanising and limitating, and feel sorry for my boyfriend, my best friends, and all the other men I know that might feel affected and inferior. I rage with ‘men dating tips’ and with sexist beer ads.

      b) It is funny that men (except those educated in feminism) have only woken up to sexualization and body-policing when it has became a mass-produced idea for consumers (the last 25-30 years). No man complained of the horrible pressures they had to go through in the 50s due to beauty masculine standards, due to ‘having to be ripped’… because there were no pressures. So back then, it was an issue ignored by most men, and whiny women were ridiculized as ‘in need of getting laid’. Nowadays, it is not ignored anymore because it affects us all, but suddenly women are terribly whiny BECAUSE it affects us all.

      Guess what? I’m not going to stop complaining because you tell me I have no ground to complain. Because, due to my personal experience, I know I’m right and you are wrong about me. I’ve taken so much shit in highs chool, and so much shit with my own self esteem, due to the simple fact of my appearance and other people’s shaming (body hair, weight, face, skin, every fucking thing).

      Are you bitter about a world of masculinity standards that has hurt you? Check where these standards come from, and why. They certainly not come from feminists. Feminists are just about the only people who continuously investigate and speak out against unfair gender standards and the power structures they derive from.

      If you have nothing constructive to add, if you have no interest in learning about rape culture and patriarchal societies, if you are unwilling to check your own male privilege in order to learn about other people’s oppression…

      Then get out. And keep living in your angry little ignorant world.

      • Laura, I just have to say thank you! Thank you for stating this so precisely and completely!

      • Everyone has beauty standards, even you. You can see two different people and say that one person is better good looking than the other.

        Because of this, the beauty standards in the media etc will always exist, no matter what. They can be a bit extreme sometimes and you’ll have to take them with a grain of salt, but they’ll always be there.

        Instead of being mad about this, just be happy with whatever your view on beautiful is. Yes, a lot of people will do the complete opposite to this, but that is because you have chosen to part with the minority instead of the majority.

        I haven’t “woken up” to anything, I really don’t care about what we’re being “brainwashed” into thinking. I dress and take care of my body in the way I want to – as long as I feel comfortable with it, I’m happy. I’m aware that not everyone will think that I am “perfect” looking, but why would I care?

        • Nova Stevenson says:

          I have to agree with you derp. Advertising and the media is about money, stimulating a need in order to make sales. They are not out to target woman and it’s not all about the body, it’s about creating need and selling, whether it is anti wrinkle cream or sports cars. The play to our base needs as people, the need to be desirable, the need for status etc. We need to learn to ignore this stuff and be happy with who we are and we need to teach our kids to see it for what it is.

          Advertising may be telling us that we need to shave to be attractive and find a mate but we don’t need to listen. Regardless of what noise is going on around us we need to stop and think, who am I really and what really matters to me. The rest is just noise.

  13. I personally love it when a woman doesn’t shave her armpits. It looks womanly and sexy–and like they’ve been through puberty.

    The whole obsession with women having to shave everything but their heads is more than a little creepy to me, especially when combined with the cultural “norm” (demand?) that women also be small, absurdly thin, and young-looking. Sounds like a lot of American men are attracted to teen–or even tween–girls, which is disgusting. JonBenet Ramsey, anyone? That’s kinda where this all leads, isn’t it?

    I prefer real women, thank you very much. They’re way less creepy.

    I’ll admit I prefer the sleekness of shaved legs to unshaven. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite, or just says I’m born post-WWII pinups, but seeing a woman with unshaven legs doesn’t make me want to wriggle and scream “ewwwwwwww!”, call her names, then run for a cooties shot. Some of the comments I’ve seen about NoShaveNovember sound just like that.

    Men: Most of us manscape at least a bit here and there, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel groomed–men or women. But to tell women that they’re out of luck, out of dates, out of order, etc., because they aren’t shaving–especially if you’re not shaving your own legs, pits, chest, and back? That’s high school. My advice? Don’t try to date high school girls, and don’t try to pressure the women you know into looking like them. Man up, and let them woman up.

    Deborah, this article is right on point. Keep up the good work.

  14. Forthright says:

    I totally admire women who have the courage to reject the stupid fad for shaving that emerged during the First World War. Natural unshaven women are far more beautiful than shaven ones – they radiate an aura of power, maturity and feminity. It is totally wrong for the press or anyone else to harass any woman, celebrity or not, for refusing to shave her armpits or legs – we need a total rethink on this one! Natural women should be appreciated for the beauties that they are – carry on with your good work brave sisters and continue to ignore this inane modern trend.

  15. I don’t understand this. If you are a woman and don’t want to shave, don’t. If you are a man and like women who don’t shave, find one.

    But there are people who like to keep groomed (I do not mean this in a negative way.) I know women who like to shave, who feel better after shaving. I personally pluck my eyebrows, trim my underarm hair when they get long, and of course shave (or trim) my facial hair.

    What is the debate? That women are forced to shave by social norms? I think it is more about grooming, and personal appearance. It’s a personal preference. Maybe when you are in high school it’s not, but by college/after college, one should be adult enough to make these decisions separate from social norms.

    And if someone wants to shave, let’s not say they are bowing to social pressure, or some kind of slave to a man’s desires. I know plenty of men who changed their grooming habits because of their female partner’s wishes. Is it equal both ways? No. It’s not. But it’s not as extreme as I have seen it presented in terms of male domination. If I may say so, it seems that it’s females who are putting out the social pressure for other females to shave. I heard from a few girls I asked on this that they started shaving in high school because of social pressure from other females.

  16. Originally, I stoppwed shaving as an environmentalist at age 18….I asked why shave? And didn’t have a good answer. Think of all those razors in landfills! And what about if in the future someone has to walk arou d in all that? Unsafe!

    Then I became a feminist bc I am sensible. Of all my silly media induced female body image insecurities, my body hair is never one of them. I almost feel really powerful with all the time I’ve saved.and then I feel super hot about my bod hairs. I wished I could love a natural bikini line hehehehe

  17. Anony Mouse says:

    Sorry if this doesn’t fit in with the general views on this post but I am a man that finds women who shave or at least trim their body hair (especially legs and armpits) more attractive than those who don’t.

    It’s a personal aesthetic preference, I would never force anyone to do something that they don’t want to do but I imagine that I probably wouldn’t end up in either a short or long term relationship with someone that I really didn’t find attractive.

    That isn’t me being shallow, just the fact that I feel that sex is a very important part of a relationship and not being able to “get it up” is fairly limiting!

    To put paid to the opinion that female hair removal is a recent thing, hasn’t the process of sugaring been around for about 4000 years?

    As to those who complain about the pressure put on women to shave, I merely want to point out one little thing. Most professional men in the West are expected to be clean shaven for work. To achieve this we have to shave at least once a day (many have to do it twice or more). To keep pits and legs “reasonable”, how many times (per week) would an average woman have to do it? Out of experience from previous relationships I would say a maximum of twice…..

    Now who is more hard done by?

  18. The reason that most men find women with no leg hair, pubic hair or underarm hair sexy is because the women have masochistically put themselves through this expensive, boring and time consuming routine to please men, look attractive for them and submit to their objectifying control by being approved of. It’s the same reason men love women with breast augmentations – it’s not that the breasts are large and fetishised (and they find that attractive), it’s that women have gone through pain, probably got into debt, risked death or infection just on the off-chance a man might want to fuck them. It is the ultimate control for men, and part of rape/control culture. Imagine how much control women would have/feel they have if men spent huge amounts of their time studying fashion, wearing make up, clothes and shoes that impeded their natural ability to walk or move comfortably and then endured surgical agonies just so they looked nice, and sexy for women. It would probably make you respect them a lot less, and make you feel like they deserved to be judged on their appearance and treated like insignificant little toys, because after all they’d be doing it to themselves. You might even go so far as starting to believe they were ‘asking’ to be sexually violated. It’s so much more than just ‘grooming’ or aesthetics, people.

  19. a feminist says:

    “As to those who complain about the pressure put on women to shave, I merely want to point out one little thing. Most professional men in the West are expected to be clean shaven for work. To achieve this we have to shave at least once a day (many have to do it twice or more). To keep pits and legs “reasonable”, how many times (per week) would an average woman have to do it? Out of experience from previous relationships I would say a maximum of twice…..

    Now who is more hard done by?”

    The women …, because they undergo more pressure from society than you can begin to realize. Sometimes I feel like the only guy that thinks the whole emphasis on women shaving is a massive social Lolita complex with an unhealthy idealization of innocence, youth, and submissiveness. For instance, another symptom of our Lolita complex culture is that a lot of porn focuses on women being “barely 18″. Why the hell would the knowledge that someone’s almost a child be erotic unless you fetishize corrupting innocence to the point where it’s a couple of days away from paedophilia? Why is being so close to being a paedo a turn on? It makes me shudder.

    It’s all well and good to say it’s an aesthetic choice, but that misses the point entirely. Why does it make certain women feel good about their appearances? Why are so many men attracted to it? Until we answer and tackle those questions we’re not really substantially engaging with the issue

  20. Nova Stevenson says:

    I think that people have to stop talking about what they think society wants them to do and think for themselves… anyone who shaves whilst saying, we are so hard done by men expect us to shave our legs and arm pits needs to grow up. You have the power to make your own decisions about your body, so do it and stand by your decision.

    I some times shave and sometimes don’t for months on end. When I can be bothered with a bit of pampering I enjoy the feeling of nice smooth legs and under arms. I sometimes shave my pubic area too, not to look 12 but because it makes the area more sensitive and sex is heightened – it is fun, pure and simple. The idea of shaving the pubic area being all about fantasies of sex with children is just lazy conjecture. The reason it is so prevalent in porn is because it allows you to see the genitals more clearly, the men are also shaven. To be perfectly blunt oral sex is also more enjoyable without hair getting stuck between your teeth, male of female, my guess is that that has a lot more to do with it that fantasies of sex with children.

    During the summer my son who is 17 decided to shave his legs because he thought the hair on his legs looked patch and was odd looking when he wore shorts. He also shaves under his arms at times because he thinks it reduces the smell of perspiration. I have to agree with him. He didn’t do it because anyone expected him to, he didn’t even think it was a girly thing to do which I was very proud of him for.

    Must every decision we make about our bodies be dragged back to some kind of gender debate. Can we make decisions based on aesthetic preference or just what gives us more pleasure. I couldn’t care less what men prefer. I please myself and so should everyone else.

  21. I am 17, in high school in Melbourne, Australia and I choose not to shave anything. I used to but I stopped when I realised that I was only doing it because everyone expects me to do it, not because I actually preferred the appearance. I was completely shocked at the number of people who thought that it was their business to tell me how revolting they thought it was if I dared to leave the house wearing a singlet top. The first thing my mother said to me when she first saw my armpits in the their unshaved state was “oh my god.” Then shortly followed by “you lezzo hippy!” I have had people literally beg me and offer me money to shave before the school swimming carnival because they can’t bear to see body. When I ask why they don’t expect guys to shave before they go swimming their only answer is “because they’re guys.” I have no issue with personal preference, however I think it is unreasonable to deny that there is a double standard. These people coming up to me weren’t close friends or sexual partners. They were, by and large, complete strangers who thought that it was completely appropriate to tell me that they found my body disgusting.

    • I had the same thing at high school in Australia – teasing, odd comments, etc. I eventually started shaving my armpits years after I left school because I do prefer the look of that myself, but I still don’t shave my legs. Keep going strong, people care less after you leave school. I still cover up a lot but guys don’t care!

  22. I love this article! Good to find out there are other hairy women, this could have been written by me. I also don’t shave my legs, I have been shaving my armpits occasionally for a few years (started at 19 lol, so a bit late) because I didn’t like wearing sleeveless tops otherwise. But I HATE shaving my legs. I’ve done it once or twice, and I’m 23 now. My legs look weird and shapeless without hair. Also it feels awful for my skin and dries them out and it’s such a waste of time and money! There is so much pressure on women, it’s awful. Reminds me of this: http://lovelivegrow.com/2010/09/hairy-legs-cause-

    The funny thing is, men don’t seem to mind. In fact, men seem to mind less than women! Though I see typically stupid comments on the internet like the ones above, in real life I rarely notice it. I don’t think I’ve had a man comment since high school on my hairy legs – and guys in high school are stupid and comment negatively on everything. I’ve been to parties in shorts not intending to flirt with anyone at all and been hit on by guys who apparently didn’t even notice?! Or didn’t care. None of the guys I’ve slept with or dated have cared either, in fact I’m fairly certain one of them never noticed! I’ve been really lucky with the boyfriends I’ve had, both have been really supportive and wanted to go out with me despite already knowing I was hairy. Interestingly both made the remark that I’m still a lot less hairy than them which is the main factor – maybe if I was mega-hairy they’d find it a turn off. This links back to the comparison thing you were talking about, except most of the time women are going to be comparatively less hairy even if they don’t shave.

  23. I shave my legs because I find it prettier, but I’m talking about me, I find myself prettier with shaved legs. But I find pubic and armpits hair very very erotic! It shows that I’m a real woman, a grownup. The smell isn’t the same either, so much better.

  24. I’m a woman and I tend to only shave my legs during the summer time, since that’s the only time I wear shorts. I do it simply because I like how my legs look when they’re hairless, not for any social reasons. During the cooler months I let my hair grow naturally.

    I leave my underarms alone, since I’d always get dreadful razor burn on my armpits when I shaved them in the past. It’s not fun not being able to move your arms for a week. As for pubic hair, I only depilate the areas that show when I’m wearing a swimsuit. I do this so I don’t draw attention to my crotch when I’m in swimwear.

    The social stigma surrounding women having body hair is so wrong, and so are the taboos against hairy men. It’s natural and there’s nothing disguising or wrong about it. I can’t say the same thing for the attitudes of the men and women who ridicule body hair…

  25. In winter, I rarely shave my legs or armpits because I live somewhere pretty cold and snowy and I’d like all the extra insulation I can get, but in summer I shave my legs and armpits because it’s cooler and I think it looks nicer when I wear short sleeves or shorter skirts. I’m naturally very pale, and naturally dark-haired, so any leg hair on me is very obvious. Personally I don’t like that look. I don’t give a damn about what society thinks of what I look – unnaturally coloured hair in vivid colours, piercings and tattoos are hardly mainstream. I keep my pubes trimmed because it’s more hygienic and tidier, and doesn’t snag so much in lace underwear. I don’t shave it off, just keep it tidy. I feel it’s courteous towards my partner to be well groomed. I like men and women and I wouldn’t want a face full of fluff while performing certain acts, and don’t want to impose that on my partner. I draw on my eyebrows, that way I can have them different daily if I so choose. It being a taboo is silly, as is any other societal pressure against people making body choices for themselves.

  26. Does anyone else like the way the wind feels on their leg hair? It’s a totally new experience if you’ve shaved for most of your adult life.

  27. I’m so naive… here I was thinking “No Shave November” was MEANT for women, until I read the article. Well, this November, I will be one of the scary women not shaving for the month of November… and maybe beyond! And my man LOVES me any old way, hairy or otherwise!

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