Fuzzy Legs

I started shaving my legs when I was nine.  Mom did it, and I wanted to do it, because it’s something girls do.  So I began shaving.  Poorly.  At one point, my dad had to continue my education on how to shave my legs (I am pretty sure I was running the plastic edge of the razor over my legs and wondering why the hair was still there).  In sixth grade, I pressed so hard with my razor that I tore off a chunk of skin on my knee.  Constant nicks and cuts were painful and annoying.

Shaving is hard work.

Eventually, I got the hang of it and then had to deal with the necessity of buying razors and shaving cream.  Even then, I didn’t really shave very often, once a week tops.  I shaved when I wore skirts and shorts.  I did not shave in the winter (because pants, and warmth!)

My ex-husband was grossed out by it, but the way I saw it, they were my legs and not his and why should I decorate myself for anyone else’s benefit if I didn’t like doing it? I’ve had an ex-boyfriend (and even an ex-girlfriend) who didn’t mind when I had fuzzy legs.  My cat doesn’t mind.  I don’t mind.

My sister calls them my “hairy man legs.”  And so do I, sometimes, but I am trying to get away from that… because they aren’t hairy man legs.  They’re hairy woman legs.  Hair is not an inherently masculine bodily feature, and we shouldn’t make it that way.  Having body hair does not make me less of a woman.

The horror! Human legs with hair on them!

The horror! Human legs with hair on them!

I still feel (mentally) uncomfortable sometimes, because the expectation in society is that women should be soft, hairless, touchable creatures.  There is an immense pressure on women to have a perfect body, and the images streamed into our brains tell us that perfect is slim and smooth (with large, perky breasts).  I reject that notion of perfect for the idea that maybe, just maybe, our bodies are inherently perfect and we don’t need to spend the majority of our lives changing them to make them perfect.  Humans are mammals.  Mammals have hair.  The only reason we feel compelled to shave our bodies is because someone told us it looked prettier that way.

This is not an indictment of shaving.  If you want to shave your legs because you like how it feels or looks, then by all means shave! Sometimes I, too, enjoy the feeling of silky hairless skin on clean sheets in the summer time.  I also appreciate the razor because it gives me the gift of well groomed facial hair on men.

downey

LOOK AT IT.

I don’t think we should all just throw away our razors, though I do think we should all reconsider the reusable razor with changeable metal blades instead of those plastic monstrosities.  But I do think we should really think about why we shave.  If I remove my body hair, it’s because I want to.  I don’t do it for anyone else.  Plus, now I don’t have to buy razors and shaving cream!

 

legs

Let’s also just take a moment to think about how ridiculous commercials for razors and shaving cream are.  Women shaving already-smooth legs?  As read on  Dear Blank, Please Blank, “if you want to impress us, shave a gorilla.”

Who, me?  (I took this photo!)

Who, me? (I took this photo!)

Do you shave?

15 thoughts on “Fuzzy Legs

  1. Maria says:

    Hahaha! “The horror!”. I’m trying to cut down on shaving to. It’s crazy that something that’s perfectly natural for a woman’s body should be considered manly. CRAZY! I shave my legs, armpits and bikini-line maybe once every week or two.That’s not a lot (I think), but it still bothers me that I’m not comfortable with letting everything just be. Oh well, baby steps. I find it really crazy also when I hear women and men saying that hair on a womans vagina/vulva is disgusting. A few decades ago no-one even thought about it. It seems like we managed to reproduce just fine before.😉 It’s totally an unnecessary social construct (that I’m also very much affected by). And, I find it disturbing that having your pubic area (and your legs and armpits) look like that of an 8 year old should be the standard for sexy!

    • Caitlin says:

      I agree… why is “beautiful” having the body hair of a prepubescent girl? I appreciate smooth skin but I don’t think it’s a necessity. I confess that I let my armpits go for a while and finally shaved them before a concert I went to last night just because I am not ready to let my favorite band see my hairy underarms hahaha.

    • Caitlin says:

      Also I want you to know that I tried for five minutes to respond about pubic hair but that’s such a personal topic and I can’t find a way to tell the internet what I do with my pubic hair that doesn’t make me feel like I shouldn’t be telling the internet that. But I do agree with you that it’s an unnecessary social construct. lol!

      • Maria says:

        I thought the same thing – I could say more about pubic hair, but I just won’t!😉 I totally understand the not wanting your favourite band to see your hairy underarms! Several years ago, after a long-term relationship ended, I decided to let the armpit hair (amongst other areas, as I recall) grow. I caved somewhere along the road though, as I found myself asking myself in disbelief: “WHEN WILL IT STOP GROWING?!” Lol!

        I was on vacation in a warm place recently, and I shaved before and during. I just use reusable razors with changeable metal blades, water and soap, and it’s not that much of a hazzle if I don’t do it that often. Except that the skin can get irritated, I don’t like that. What I also don’t like is that I sometimes feel like I have to, to be both accepted and attracitve. I think I’m more relaxed about it now than before, so I’m counting that as progress! Blog posts like yours help aswell!

        And I have to say that I have nothing against wanting to feel attractive and taking care of our looks! I just don’t like impossible and unnatural beauty standards that feel like a requirement, or that our worth is determined by how close we are to those standards. Booh!

      • Caitlin says:

        I know the feeling. Nobody’s looking, so why bother with it if it doesn’t bother you? Been there!

        I also don’t like feeling like you HAVE TO have smooth legs, or armpits, or whatever, to be sexy or pretty or attractive. After a while I think you become more confident in your body… for instance, today I went shopping, and I wore a dress (and no bra) and bought a dress, all the while with my fuzzy legs and I didn’t even notice them in the mirror. I thought I looked super hot in my new dress, which is all that matters. Anyone else who minds my fuzzy legs can kiss ’em🙂

  2. Nicola B says:

    I shave the pits (when I want to wear something sleeveless) with a razor with changeable heads; I epilate my legs (but only to the knee) when I feel like it/ when I am wearing something leg revealing. In prefer epilating, as you don’t get nasty bristles, but as it is quite painful I’ve not yet been brave enough to do it on the pits! Not sure if it is better for the environment or not than shaving- uses electricity, but does not create as much waste…hmm!
    I agree with Maria that the whole looking like an 8 year old thing is disturbing.

    • Caitlin says:

      I agree too about the childlike body ideal. It’s weird.

      Epilating sounds kinda cool but like you said it’s painful. Looks ouchy!!

      I have heard that you can prolong the life of a razor blade by running it over denim. I will have to look it up, I don’t remember exactly how it works. Could be a good compromise with razor heads!

  3. EcoCatLady says:

    Hmmmm… Well, I didn’t shave at all for about 10-15 years. But in the past 5 years or so I’ve taken it up again for personal reasons. I know this is gonna sound really crazy, but when I was growing up my mother wouldn’t let me shave, or wear a bra, or use makeup or wear pretty clothes, or do any of those “girly” things that “everybody else” got to do. It wasn’t that she was trying to raise a young feminist or something like that, she was just EXTREMELY uncomfortable with any outward evidence that I might actually possess a smidge of sexuality.

    I, of course, did all of those things behind her back, but I always felt like it was “forbidden fruit” that was somehow “dirty” or unacceptable. So I’ve sorta had a curious relationship with all things girly, and have swung wildly from one extreme to the other in that department.

    It wasn’t until I was nearly forty years old that I actually took up unashamed, out of the closet shaving – along with things like wearing shorts or a tank top in public, which I had NEVER done before, at least not since well before puberty. It was sort of an act of rebellion for me, and in a funny way it allowed me to stake a claim to my own sexuality. I know that sounds crazy, but that’s how it felt.

    So to answer your question, yes – I do shave and I really like it, though I’m not compulsive about it. Makeup, dresses, bras and other “girly stuff” though… um… well, not so much! And NFW am I EVER cramming my feet into high heels!🙂

    • Caitlin says:

      I hate high heels🙂

      I feel you on all of that!! I think there’s nothing wrong with shaving as long as it makes YOU happy! Although I just shaved my armpits recently and it made them break out in an unhappy razor burn rash. Ugh. NOT HAPPY. But I really wasn’t digging fuzzy pits. Even I have a line somewhere!

  4. Drop that Debt says:

    I wholeheartedly love and support this! Although I shave all the time, I see no issue with letting the hair grow. I personally enjoy the feeling of smooth legs and when my legs are hairy they bother me, otherwise I’d shave a whole lot less and tell my boyfriend too bad for him! My armpits are very sensitive so they can’t be shaved all the time anyway, so I usually only do them every few days. I definitely feel the embarrassment of not shaving if I end up in public with hairy legs/armpits etc, but I am trying to overcome these feelings and do what makes me feel best.

    It seems like male expectations are pretty extreme when it comes to how much women are supposed to primp for them. I am very glad my boyfriend and I are on no makeup terms, and that I am not one of those people who refuses to go outside without makeup on. I have a friend who wears makeup… to the GYM! eek.

    • Caitlin says:

      Wow, to the gym? The whole point is to get all sweaty and be a giant mess. Nobody should be cute at the gym, haha.

      The embarrassment about fuzzy legs is definitely lessening. 🙂

  5. Debbie Tittle says:

    Kind of off the point here.. but i just learned through my husband that you can sharpen any razor blade, even the disposable kind, if you rub the blade in the opposite direction of normal shaving, on an old pair of denim jeans! Awesome, right? Totally going to try it.

    As for the shaving, I don’t do it but once a week except for my pits. Must shave the pits. I love having “bare floors” too. ^_^

    • Caitlin says:

      I have heard that too! I want to try it out. I relented and shaved the pits last week, and since then I STINK SO BAD.😡

      Also thinking about shaving the legs again too, but I am still trying to figure out if I want to shave them because I like it, or because I am worried other people think I have Hobbit legs.

      Bare floors are the bomb. I don’t put in the investment when nothing’s going on with any regularity though. Hahaha.

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