This is a topic that has been gnawing at the edge of my brain for a long time.
Women have been shaving their legs only recently in human history–and now it’s become so normal that there are men out there that believe women are naturally hairless, as we tend to get rid of hair, well, everywhere. The thing that was bugging me for so long was, why? Why does it matter that women shave their legs? Can’t we let our bodies grow what’s natural and then run with the wind and cannonball right into a pool or ocean?
I asked this question to my dad when I was getting ready to go to the pool recently. He’s part of an older generation, so his opinion was that it didn’t matter that women shave their legs. He confirmed that he didn’t see this “fashion statement” happen until the early 1980’s or so. Before then, women walked around all the time in shorts, in skirts, in whatever, and they were hairy and perfectly comfortable.
He told me to just enjoy myself and not worry about it. And so, I did. Bravely I walked around the pool with my leg-hair in plain view, and no one said a thing–of course, my own paranoia got to me a couple times and I swore I heard people laughing at me or whispering about my leg-whiskers.
Shaving one’s legs should be optional, not a social sin. I’ve seen young girls begging for their parents to teach them how to shave once puberty reached them, and their concerns echoed the popular media and how the public views women. They were afraid of being mocked and made fun of for what nature has given us for millions of years. They envy the girls that seemingly don’t have any body hair past the age of 13, or the girls that have light hair and light skin, or dark hair and dark skin (we with the clashing opposite are the most unfortunate). There are obsessions for bleaching body hair, and waxing, and shaving, and even going as far as having painful laser treatments for getting rid of it.
It may be that body-hair is viewed as a masculine trait. Perhaps it might be that shaved skin is aesthetically pleasing. It could also be that in our age of advanced technologies and fast-approaching medicinal treatments, body hair doesn’t have any useful function anymore. It used to be that body hair kept the body a little warmer during the cold seasons.
Whatever one’s preference is, body-hair shaving should be optional, not a requirement. This summer should be enjoyed by everyone, and it’s a shame one gender has to take hours shaving everything to look presentable at a pool or beach while men can just put on a pair of swimming trunks and go. Do it as a dare, and perhaps go with a few friends who haven’t shaven as well! Dare go to those beaches and pools without removing one hair from your body, and face those odd looks from others with a smile. The summer is too short to worry about every strand of hair on one’s body. Have fun, and if you don’t care how you look, the more enjoyment you’ll have cooling off in this heat.