This entry is a response to The Belle Jar‘s post, “Shaving Your Legs is not Feminist (But you can still be a Feminist and Shave)”. To best understand this post and my views on this subject, it is essential that you read the above article first.
I loved this post. Some great points were made, and as I was reading it, I couldn’t help comparing said points to my own life experiences.
For example, I hate shaving so much. I find it tedious and more often than not I forget to do it simply because I don’t want to do it. Yes, I feel confident when I do shave, but as mentioned in The Belle Jar’s post, this is because I have been conditioned to feel this way. If societal approved approved of me never shaving again, I probably wouldn’t. However, that is not the case.
We are at a point where it isn’t just men holding us to these standards of beauty anymore; we women are pressuring each other, too. Over and over again I hear women validating our own “toxic society” (as put by The Belle Jar). Suppression is turning in to repression.
My boyfriend doesn’t care if I shave or not–he respects that it is my body and my choice as to how I want to groom (or not groom) it. It is actually my best girl-friend that has made it a point to comment on my furry legs. She habitually scrunches up her nose, scolds me, and makes some remark along the lines of, “your poor boyfriend!” every time I slip in to a pair of shorts. It doesn’t matter to him or I whether or not I shave, so why does my natural body hair seem to be so offensive to her? In another instance, I overheard my mother discussing in horror the way my grandmother likes to go swimming in public without shaving her bikini line.
We have been brainwashed in to thinking that body hair means lack of hygiene, that faint eyelashes and pimples and stretch marks are things to be ashamed of, and that our beauty can be measured on a scale.
And I want to know why.