Some shave, some don’t. It has nothing to do with feminism and it’s simply a woman’s choice to do what makes her comfortable.
To shave or not to shave, that is the question!
Even though it is most often a choice of comfort for a woman not to shave her body hair, there are some feminists out there that do keep their hair as a conscious act of rebellion, actively intending to defy gender norms.
Maintaining body hair as a woman is a subtle but influential defiance of beauty standards. There are many women in many cultures and societies who deny gender norms by refusing to shave their body hair.
However, this is not always some committed and enthusiastic anti-patriarchy demonstration. Usually, it’s simply a woman’s choice between comfort and discomfort. Some may find comfort in shaving their body hair and others may find comfort in keeping their body hair.
Unfortunately, based on today’s beauty standards and gender expectations, women are expected not to have body hair (which is a ridiculous expectation because if it wasn’t supposed to be there, it wouldn’t grow!).
As a result of these absurd gender conventions, having no body hair is the general expectation for women (young women and teenage girls especially) and so the ones who choose to keep their hair are perceived by the media as “acting out”.
Women who choose not to shave their body hair are not always feminists. So why are they always portrayed as feminists?
By not following the norms of society – whether in active rebellion or a choice of personal comfort – this subtle show of non-conformity denies the forces of beauty standards that are imposed on women.
However, that is not what makes a feminist. Any sign of social “rebellion” in a woman is demonized. Feminism is continuously slated by popular culture and the media. So minor acts of defiance by women, such as not shaving, are instantly associated with feminism to be mocked and shunned.
At the end of the day, it’s just body hair.
Some women just find it more comfortable (and certainly easier) not to shave.
Women who don’t shave are embracing their natural bodies and the hair that comes with them, despite what society says. Women who do shave simply feel better when they shave, perhaps they simply prefer the feel of smoother skin or because they find that in certain areas it’s easier to clean.
Both of these women can easily be feminists because they are doing what they want with their bodies. They are taking control of their appearance to ensure that they feel comfortable and confident in their own skin and that is what feminism is all about!
Ultimately, there are three main messages from feminism that can be applied here:
1. Do not lose yourself to unrealistic beauty standards.
To the women reading this, do not shave your hair just because you believe someone else wants you to. You deserve to feel empowered in your own skin. If you choose to shave, it should be on your own terms because that is what makes you feel good. The beauty standards for women are constantly changing and constantly moving further and further out of young women’s reach. They also go beyond the realms of what is natural and healthy for the human body. Do not fall victim to the absurdity of society’s inconsistent expectations of women. Do what makes you feel confident, comfortable, and content.
2. A person who believes that women MUST keep all of their body hair is NOT a feminist.
Feminism is all about choice. Women may choose to keep their hair or to shave it but they are under no obligation to do either. Any person – male or female – that intends to make a woman’s decisions for them or push unnecessary and unfair conventions/expectations onto them is not a feminist because they are actively taking away a woman’s right to control over her own body.
3. It’s a woman’s choice.
Women can do whatever they want in their lives and with their bodies. Women do not have to get rid of their body hair and do not have to keep their body hair either. Feminism encourages women and girls everywhere to make their own choice based on what makes them feel more comfortable in their own bodies – not what other people are telling them to do.