It has been more than a week since I had my lime mishap (which is the delicate way of describing my incurable tendency for idiocy in the kitchen while wielding knives) and I am ten days into what I would describe as an unanticipated shaving fast. This is the longest I have ever gone without shaving my armpits or legs since I started shaving when I was thirteen years old. And let me tell you, the absence of concern about this has made me quite cheerful, and I’m shocked that I can say this.
As a child I realized, with immense horror, that I had abnormally long arm hair compared to my seven-year-old peers. Children can be little sacks of awful, and I remember being tormented by a few of the walking suckbags because of this “enormous ugly” growing on my arms. My mom had to convince me that shaving my forearms was a bad idea and remind me that it would grow back darker and pointier. So I was spared from the premature plunge into depilation for at least five more years. When puberty finally hit in middle school, I begged for my mom’s blessing to shave my armpits and legs — because clearly everyone could see my blonde hairs everywhere — and fell into the habit with much gusto.
My recent moment of clarity occurred about two days ago, when I took a quick look into the mirror and realized that I didn’t give a single crap about the presence or absence of hair under my arms or on my legs.
This is not exactly new to people, am I right? In the past few years, celebrities have proudly showed off their natural look, with mixed responses from the mainstream media and public. No, this is a big deal for me because I have always given at least two or three craps about my appearance. Call it independence, call it “ooky” (thanks, mom), or call it female empowerment, but I’m more interested it in calling it as I see it: the freedom to not care is a beautiful thing.
You can’t ignore the historical social norms that dictate a woman’s “morally superiority” over men, and are therefore expected to be cleaner, proper, and unoffensive in all situations, regardless of context. How curious that we still believe the Victorian Era covered all the truths of a woman’s identity, including her propensity toward passivity, inability to fight temptation, and distinct displeasure in things like the right to vote.
The bigger question is, where does comfort fall into all of this? Is a woman allowed to choose her comfort over what is expected of her from her cultural upbringing? And why does someone have to be apologetic about not shaving their armpits, else they are accused of returning to the roots of Second Wave feminism?
Hairy as F–k
P.S. For some BuzzFeed clickbait on shaving other lady things, see below: