To Shave or Not to Shave, ‘Tis the Question…

Some of you may be horrified but hey, everything can’t be butterflies and rainbows all the time.
So here goes:
It’s been so long since I last shaved my pits or legs I can’t even remember when the last time was.
And the time before that was just as long. Folks, it wasn’t just because it wasn’t swim suite season.
It’s because I decided I didn’t want to and I saw no good reason to shave.
…and a hundred people just clicked away…
Alright, now the open minded people are still here. Good, I don’t think everyone is ready to have this conversation anyway. Those of you who know what college I attend will probably blame this on all the crazy hippies rubbing off on me –as if I’m not one already!
Sure, there are all kinds and degrees of un-shaven, un-washed, un-brushed people who are tattooed in strange places and sport hair styles and clothing combinations that might make someone not used to “greener style” scratch their head in pure confusion.  I will definitely agree the community of unique awesome people who don’t make me feel judged made the decision easier.
I had only ever shaved because it was just what you did. I felt I had to, or I would be judged. That not shaving somehow made me less of a woman, less respectable. 
I was afraid of being judged. 
Shame was what brought the razor to my leg every time.How is that healthy?

To Shave or Not to Shave: My hairy legs

Why should I do something simply because it’s what society expects of me? How is it good for me or any other person if the only reason you do it is because you fear being judged. How did we get to a place where the totally natural hair on our bodies is a source of shame?
Not too long into my no shave experiment I wore a short sleeved shirt to church. After church I was talking to one of the other women and I saw her notice my armpit hair.
Wow, just wow.
Her reaction was instant and totally un-veiled. The look of disgust on her face surprised me, and then of course I figured out what it was about. But what really got me was the look that came after that and lasted. I had been judged and found lacking.
I instantly felt ashamed. I was confused by her reaction and by mine.
I kept thinking about the whole thing, turning the event over and over. If it had been a rock it would have been polished to a mirror shine before I was done with it. 

To Shave or Not to Shave: a rock

Why did her reaction matter to me? How was a little tuft of arm pit hair worthy of such a violent reaction and stony judgment?
I realized I cared how people perceived me. I cared a whole lot. I cared to the point of doing things and worrying about things that are really irrelevant and have no impact in the greater scheme of life. It was all not exactly something I wanted to admit since I was someone who already doesn’t generally conform to societal norms.
So I considered my realization.
If someone decides to judge me, to make decisions about who I am as a person based off the presence or lack of hair under my arms and on my legs then I guess that says more about who they are than who I am. 

I would like to think we can all be a little more open minded than that. 

So I ask you, what are you doing, what are you worrying about that does nothing to benefit your soul?
How have you judged someone else based off something so trivial as the presence or lack of body hair?
Now I ask myself that all the time and I check myself when I find that I’m not staying true to my own needs and beliefs. I’m also much more aware of when I’m jumping to a conclusion; when I’m passing judgment on someone based off appearances.
If I shave, it’s going to be because I want smooth legs or pits. Not because I’m worried about what someone is going to think.
Now, I won’t lie, there are still places I don’t feel comfortable wearing short sleeves.  I hope that eventually I can go anywhere in a T-shirt without worrying what anyone will be thinking about my arm pit hair. I also hope that some day we, as a society, can rise above such petty concerns that create so many divisions and so much hurt.
I especially want all of my fellow women to take this to heart. I’m not just talking about armpit hair here; this is a much bigger issue.
Western culture has placed on us such unrealistic expectations of what a woman has to be. I want to smash those stereotypes, to obliterate them from the face of the earth. 

To Shave or Not to Shave: just me

I want a world were girls don’t look in the mirror and feel shame for their perfectly normal and healthy bodies.
I want it so bad my heart aches.
And the fact of the matter is that we are all responsible for keeping these false idols of feminine perfection alive by the way we judge and treat our fellow women and ourselves. Our daughters, sister, nieces, are watching.

What do you want to teach them?

This post is participating in the Homestead Barn, Share Your Cup Thursday, From The Farm, HomeAcre, Inspired Weekends and Mostly Homemade Mondays blog hops, check them out to find other great blogs like ours!

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26 thoughts on “To Shave or Not to Shave, ‘Tis the Question…

  1. Thank-you so much for sharing this. I recently have had a similar revelation. I will admit, 3 months ago, I would have been that women who judged you. That makes me sad, but I am propelled to change!

  2. I recently stopped shaving my pits! Where I grew up everyone shaved their pits, so I never really thought that much about it. But I saw one of my friends recently who has stopped shaving, and I thought it looked so much more natural than shaving. So I stopped shaving too. I love that my arms don’t stick to my torso anymore on hot days. I still shave my legs because I love that silky feeling.

    1. I agree, the bit about not sticking together is a big plus! I just think we need to be able to decide if we do or don’t and not feel like we “have to” do something so trivial. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. I almost always wear long sleeves anyway, BUT I also am guilty of shaving to keep from being judged… But I do like my armpits to be hair free since I smell bad when I have hairy pits, and I don’t like the feeling. I have however mostly stopped shaving my legs and now only shave my legs if I plan on wearing a shorter skirt/dress in which case I can always feel my leg hair being rubbed by the hem of the skirt or dress and it bugs me. I no longer care what others think of my hair tho.

    1. When I started out I thought hairy pits would mean they smelt worse but in my case it didn’t make any difference, when I need washed, I need washed! But the important thing is that you can make the decision and not feel shamed one way or another. Getting over what people think is the hardest part. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  4. I was lucky and grew up in a community where some woman shaved and some didn’t… I never really got the shave bug I guess… I am lazy and shave my legs maybe twice a year in the summer if I am going some where really nice. So I have never gotten the thick hard hair on my legs that comes with years of shaving. I do shave my arm pits more often twice a month maybe? I never really thought about it I shave it when it bugs me.. so I don’t have hair poking out of my shirt sleeves but have ” forgotten” enough to get a few looks over the years.. when arms are raised in the summer. I just laugh and say what ever! I have so many other things to worry about. Hair is not the most important thing on my list. Also after being married for 23 years my husband doesn’t really notice either… so don’t think that all men need shaved beauty it is not pressure from all men that drive this behavior. Woman are the ones who drive most of our beauty behavior.

    1. My husband also doesn’t care, which is awesome, I see that women are behind a lot of the things cultures do for beauty, its rather sad in my opinion. I think its interesting that the US is so obsessed with shaving as a whole but in many European countries no one shaves their legs or arm pits. Thanks for stopping by, I hope to see you around again!

  5. I stopped shaving somewhere around 22 or 23.. I am 56 now. Believe me, it does not matter. People who judge on appearance are cutting their own noses off to spite their faces. It’s just none of their business.

  6. Hi, my first visit here from SYC. I do shave, and like the feeling, but I applaud you for resisting societal pressure as to what makes us acceptable or not. this can be applied to many, many areas, and I too feel very sad when little girls are made to feel ugly because they don’t match up to certain expectations. I think every woman is beautiful in her own way!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your opinion! Hopefully someday everyone who shaves will do it because they want to not because they feel pressured to do it. I hope I’ll see around again!

  7. I love this post! No one should feel like they have to scrape hair off their bodies (or do anything else to their bodies, really) just because other people feel that they should!
    I never shave, but I do sugar my legs occasionally — when the trouble is worth it to ME. But I wear shorts, regardless! 😉

  8. It is sad that people are so quick to judge. I listened to a speaker once say that the minute we look at someone we make a mental judgment. It may not be a bad one, but a thought goes through our mind. I have found this to be true and try to look for the positive. I say, do what makes you happy. Now I am one of those gals who shaves her legs and armpits every night. Oh, I miss once in a while, but rarely. A bath helps me to relax and I can’t stand for my legs to touch unless they are silky smooth. I figure while I’m shaving them why not hit the pits? lol! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. If we can give people a chance and not judge them by trivial things like shaving I think we will all be happier people! Glad you think about what judgements you make about people, we need more looking for good things and less picking at negative things. Thanks for commenting!

  9. I have not shaved my arm pits in almost a year. I still feel nervous wearing short sleeves and always avoid it. But summer is coming and I’m going to have to decide whether or not I’m comfortable with going public with my body hair.

  10. Love the article!! In the last I have shaved because that is what we are “suppose” to do. Now I shave when my legs get itchy. Think I might try growing it out. Another area we judge each is our hair styles. I have my hair super short- like man buzz short– and I love it. But people seem to stare at me funny sometimes. Fine by me!

  11. I was going to say the same thing as stated above…this can apply to so many things. The day I care if you or anyone else shaves their legs and pits or not is the day I must not have anything else to worry about.

  12. I have only shaved a couple of times since I got married. At first, it did make me really uncomfortable what other people thought, but now it is so much simpler. Now I take a pair of scissors to my armpits a couple of times a year, because if I do shave, then the hairs prickle me while they are growing back. If I just shorten with scissors, no problem. I just can’t take it without shortening it a couple of times. The only time I am self-conscious is when I’m participating in Ordinances. I’ve really had to fight that, to keep my mind in the right place. But I am finally getting over that, too. 🙂

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