I am a teacher. I have a year 8 form class. This morning we happened to be chatting and one of the girls talked about shaving her eyebrows. I mentioned that I had never done anything to my eyebrows and it was perfectly ok to leave them natural. That bit was fine, they were all satisfied that it is personal choice whether to pluck/shave/wax eyebrows.
The next part of the conversation caused quite a sensation though. Somebody moved us on to shaving legs and i shared the fact that I don't shave my legs either and that's personal choice as well. Every single child in the room looked at me as if I had admitted picking my nose and eating it, or some other equally disgusting habit. The comments of disgust about "but what if you're wearing shorts?", "but ALL women shave their legs" and "you must have shaved them when you were younger though, it's alright for older people" (I'm 33 here, not 80!).
Why are our young people so disgusted by the thought of a woman's body in it's natural state? It doesn't really surprise me, but it does sadden me that every girl in that class thinks they absolutely must shave their legs/armpits (we didn't talk about private parts but I got the impression that they thought they should shave those too) and they will be considered disgusting if they don't.
Cat, how does it not have anything to do with feminist principles? Interested, not sarky!
I tend to de-hair legs (although they are a faff as my skin is sensitive and honestly if it weren't for societal pressure I'd leave them. Sad but true.) I trim my pubes, sometimes shave around the sides a bit, sometimes take the whole lot off - don't feel much pressure to do anything in that area. My flatmates are HORRIFIED that I don't wax the whole lot off. Hello? Wax my entire vulva? That sounds unbearable.
My little feminist treat to myself is my lovely pit hair. I will be honest, I am sometimes shamed and find myself clamping my arms down, especially when I am around my judgy judgy flatmates (lovely, but judgy) or idiot men even though I shouldn't care. But my pit hair is cute and soft and furry. I LIKE the way it looks. I used to get rid of it, but more and more I am leaving it.
But it pisses me off that if I went to the beach with my flatmates they'd be AGHAST at it. Poor pit hair.
I'm an lp aged 22 and not all that fussed anymore.
I realized every time I had a 'relaxing' bath, I'd spend 15 minutes on hair removal then it would be getting cold and I'd get out. Not the best way to unwind after a long day etc.
So I just thought to hell with that! I shave my legs every now and again when the mood takes me. Trim down there as that's how I like it and it's less itchy for me that way. And I shave my armpits because it seems to 'catch' the smell otherwise but not because I care much how it looks. I only do it once a month or so iyswim.
And I'm not single, so I feel like shaking younger girls (who feel they have to do it rather than want to) by the shoulders & saying if you don't want to then don't. You won't be marginalized from society for all time just because you don't see the point in having glossy hair free legs etc.
But it really does feel like that when you're a teen & I wish someone had just told me yonks ago not to bloody bother & that not all blokes/women see it as a must.