Today I wore a skirt to work. I sashayed around the office, parking lot and park I visited on my break, all the while marveling a little at the sensation of the wind in my hair. My leg hair.
Let me explain: While I don’t shave my armpits, I tend to shave my legs, since I like the smooth feel. Only lately, my razor blade has gotten all used and junky and useless, and well, I’m a busy career woman who doesn’t write shopping lists and I just keep forgetting to get new blades. So it’s probably been a month since I’ve shaved. I’m getting a little fuzzy.
But as you well know, thanks to the body confidence feminism has given me, I’m not one to let society’s rules about body hair on women keep me from showing some skin.
A couple years ago, this would have been unthinkable, Dad. I’ve had a fear of showing body hair ever since middle school. In the first week of wearing uniforms for gym class in 7th grade, a classmate ran her hand up my shin and exclaimed, “You don’t shave? Ew!” I had just started growing little blonde wispies on my legs, but I went home ashamed, told my mom I had to get a razor, and made her teach me how to shave my legs and armpits (where I hadn’t even started seeing hair).
As a society, we teach girls from before they have body hair that it is something to be ashamed of. We make them complicit in this gender role, teaching them to act out what they’ve learned and police other girls. Certainly my classmate didn’t wake up one day and decide, “Body hair is gross and I’m going to tell every other woman to be embarrassed!”
But I want to teach girls a different ideal, to give them a set of choices. I want to tell them that shaving can be fun, if you don’t get a cut. It feels great to put a pair of leggings on a pair of smooth legs. And I want to tell them that not shaving is fun too. That it feels awesome when your leg hairs catch the wind on a breezy day.
A bit of love for you today,