Hair, there, everywhere: Why shave?

Women’s body hair is demonized for no good reason in today’s society.

Hannah Peterson, Senior Online Reporter

As November begins, so does the increasingly popular No-Shave November campaign, which encourages people to put their razors down for the duration of the month to raise awareness about the hair loss that many cancer patients go through.

The people most associated with this event are burly, hairy men that use the month as an excuse to prove to everyone just how manly they are because they can go from a bald, naked mole rat face to a bushy, unkempt beard face in two days.

The problem is the attitude surrounding shaving and No-Shave November is vastly different if the participant doesn’t fall on the male side of the gender spectrum.

As someone who identifies as female and hasn’t shaved in a year and a half, the double standard is glaringly obvious.

Beginning around World War I, women in western cultures began shaving and waxing their leg, underarm and pubic hair because society deemed it unseemly to bear an unshaven leg in public.

Since then, body hair on women has been the victim of a vicious propaganda attack aiming to label it as “unhygienic,” to the point where most people have forgotten that women even have body hair.

Well, they do. They have peach fuzz, hair on and under their arms, all over their legs, pubes and even on their feet. It can be wiry, downy, so light it can’t be seen or so dark that it stands out.   

Women are pressured to take time every day to pick up a razor and shave off as much hair as they can, beginning as soon as they hit puberty.    

The cartoon Bob’s Burgers wrote an entire episode about the teenage character Tina shaving for the first time, because the idea that body hair on women and girls is revolting and wrong is so deeply ingrained in western culture that it’s become a rite of passage for girls to risk harming themselves to meet arbitrary expectations.

Like Tina, they fall victim to razor burn and nicks, and often end up slicing labia and other sensitive areas which can cause excruciating pain.

An entire industry has arisen from this misogynistic societal expectation, every big box store has a least an aisle dedicated to shaving cream, manual and electric razors, waxing strips, hair removal foams like Nair and more.

These items are now a requirement and they don’t come cheap. The popular women’s razor brand Venus starts offering their non-disposable products at $9.99 and a box of eight refill blades is $22.99.

These products aren’t made to last either, which forces women to set aside a significant amount of money just to waste on an uncomfortable plastic razor that’ll be dead in a month and shaving cream that smells like unicorn vomit and leaves their skin feeling tight and uncomfortable.

That, or they have to book an appointment with a waxing salon and spend an hour or more lying naked while a stranger slaps hot wax on their body and rips it off while they try not cry too obviously.

Every waxing salon offers “the brazilian,” where wax is applied to the pubic mound and around the labia and anus, which are all extremely sensitive regions, and ripped off. The following hours are often incredibly painful, and everywhere is sensitive and uncomfortable. The best part is most salons charge upwards of $35 for this torture.

If women can’t afford to spend that kind of money, they face discrimination wherever they go.

They can’t wear shorts, skirts, swimsuits or tank tops because if they do they’ll risk being the subject of retribution by everyone they see.

If they go to a job interview and dare not to shave that day, they get judged on their “sloppy” appearance.

If they go to class wearing jeans they cuffed because they’re short and apparently no one makes jeans for short girls and some leg hair shows, the people behind them grimace and start a rough draft for a tweet they’re going to send to the Meninist account after class.

All this because some guy from decades ago decided that body hair on women is disgusting. Meanwhile, body hair on men is considered sexy and the epitome of manliness.

This No-Shave November, keep in mind that not shaving is always an option. Save time, save money and avoid unnecessary pain. Don’t shave.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Hannah Pederson

Hannah Pederson

Online Managing Editor at The Puyallup Post
The Post has been a big part of my life for over a year now, taking up weekends, stressing me out beyond my wildest dreams and making me grow in every imaginable way. In June I’ll graduate with my AA and move on to a four year university to study communications and political science. Political science was my gateway drug to journalism. I realized not so long ago that the only way democracy can work is if the public is well informed and someone is out there holding public officials accountable. As a reporter, I’m in the perfect position to do this. I’m here to be your advocate, to make sure that your rights are protected. I want to spend my last year here providing you with fair and unbiased coverage of Pierce College Puyallup, whatever that may mean to you.
Hannah Pederson

Hair, there, everywhere: Why shave?

by Hannah Pederson time to read: 3 min