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?
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.
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.
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?
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