By SAMANTHA GROSS
I officially stopped shaving about seven months ago, and honestly, at that point, it was more of an “eh, no one’s seeing this anyway” kind of thing more than a personal belief issue.
The double standards of how men and women are supposed to treat body hair became more interesting to me recently. This interest began once I got to college and lived with other girls. I heard so many obsessive worries about how long it was since everyone last shaved and even refusals to wear certain outfits because of the fear that other people would notice the hair on their bodies.
I ended freshman year with a very real understanding of the extent to which so many women police themselves to fit these weird and made up rules about what it takes to be attractive.
The next milestone in my path to hairiness happened after sophomore year, when I lost the energy to shave, and for the first time in eight years I found myself with fields of hair on my legs. It was gross, yet fascinating at the same time, and I just could not stop looking at them.
However, school was starting soon, and I felt the need to impress everyone with my smooth and silky legs, so off the hair went. Ironically though, it only matters to people when you do not shave your legs, not when you do.
Then, I was spoiled by my summer off, and I no longer wanted to spend the time or the money for razors and other materials it requires to shave. So after a year of sporadic hair removal, I decided to not care. It is so freeing, to just not care.
Although I did not care, other people did. People stared at me whenever I raised my arms in public, and a lot of my friends thought it was gross. My brother called it disgusting and unnatural.
I thought his comment was rather interesting because it is more normal to grow hair on your body and leave it there than to obsessively remove it in order to feel desirable. It is difficult not to notice that this standard of beauty is only being projected onto women. It is interesting to think how damaging it is to deny someone from feeling beautiful because of such unnatural standards, especially after not shaving for so long.
I am hairy and I am proud. My armpit hair, although annoyingly sparse, is pretty long. Currently, it is also a decidedly unattractive combination of half-white and half-black hairs, which is the result of an incomplete attempt to dye my armpit hair a few weeks ago. I saw a picture of a woman with shockingly green pits and hoped to emulate her.
My leg hair is so long that it practically flows in the wind. Rather, it would if it were not winter and I was not constantly wearing pants. Even though it still looks and feels a bit weird to have all this hair poking out of places that I hadn’t let it be for years, I feel so much happier and at peace now that it is there.