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Author Topic:   Why shave... anywhere?
Rizzo
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Posts: 582
From:Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 08-09-2000 09:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It irks me a little, to see all the girls on here who are seemingly so pro-shaving. In most of the posts about shaving pubic hair, the replies indicated a pretty positive view on the subject.
In a way, I agree with Hanne that shaving really isn't as big a deal as it's made out to be in many of the posts. It isn't, really, I mean, hair grows back, shaving isn't permanent.
But part of me thinks it IS a big deal. It's a little depressing to see that we're all so ashamed of our bodies that we need to take away what nature has given us. I believe in a woman's free choice to do what she wants with her body, but I also think many girls don't even realize they HAVE a choice, when it comes to shaving. There are hardly any role models for girls who don't shave, so the societal pressure for them to be hairless is enormous! I didn't even realize that women HAD hair under their arms until soon before puberty. I'd always seen it on men only.
I wish that women could be proud of their natural bodies instead of feeling like they don't measure up. I wish they could stop worrying about what men want. We'll never change the world if we don't stop giving in to unreasonable demands by partners and the media.

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Beppie
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From:Australia
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posted 08-09-2000 10:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Beppie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think though, Lisa Jain, that just because we do some things that aren't "natural", it means that we should be pressured into doing other things if we don't want to. I don't have any problem with women shaving, I do so myself, but I find it dreadfully unfair that society expects us to shave when there is really nothing wrong with body hair. If you didn't use tampons or pads, you would leave blood all over your own belongings, and most likely everyone else's. It would smell bad and cause a lot of trouble in cleaning up. Body hair hurts no-one. In some countries, like Italy, women don't actually shave. People from countries like America and Australia are often quite shocked.

When I was in 9th grade it annoyed me so much that I went for nearly a year without shaving my legs, just to show that you didn't somehow turn into a different person if you had no body hair. It would probably shock you, the number of women who told me to my face that they thought I was disgusting for it. I showered every day, used deodorant and wore clean clothes, but for some reason having a few hairs on my legs made me some sort of freak. And some guys told me that too- and trust me, they had hairier legs than I. That's what I think is wrong- the fact that women can't choose what to do with their body hair and not be judged for it. There's nothing wrong with choosing either way, but that's not reflected in society.

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Pittied Fool
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From:Okla Homie
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posted 08-10-2000 12:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Pittied Fool     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think that's true at all, especially since I just got done arguing with a girl who completely insists on shaving. She was telling me how she cut herself, it hurts, and she wants that "Nads" stuff on the info-mercials.

I don't understand why women shave, but I'm almost certain they have a choice; they prefer it.

AND, I don't think shaving is shameful at all. It's showing your bodies... to whomever you might let see, but it's NOT hiding behind hair, it's showing it to the world.

As a man, I may see things differently, but women seem so ashamed. So many seem so unsure about what goes on down there. I've known many who are scared petrified to touch themselves down there. Let alone are aware of what's going on, or how it all works.

So to me, it seems like shaving is just a way of... being proud.

Or maybe we all put too much thought into it. I don't think about shaving my face. But for what it's worth I AM ashamed. It's patchy... it's weird. *LOL*

Idunno... I guess it's a lot less maintanence, and for all intents and purposes, it makes girls feel pretty.

Just like matching bras and panties, or jewelry. I feel ugly with my patchy beard, so I shave it off. Some (or is it 'most' now?) men like a shaven woman... so women like to make men happy, and hence, that makes them feel pretty.

And, many women I've talked to about it, prefer it. Maybe it IS for the prettyness factor, but they say they don't care what anyone else thinks, and they do it for themself. So... I guess, whatever's at the persons best interest.

I know not what I speak of. I appologize

------------------
"Now I've been crying lately,
Thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating?
Why can't we live in bliss" - Cat Stevens

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ningrrl
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From:Lucasville, OH, USA
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posted 08-10-2000 01:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ningrrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey,
I know what you mean.
Due to hormonal imbalances, genetic make-up, and the fact that I was on steroids as a child, I have an excessive amount of body hair. My stomach, my chest, my butt, everything. Yeah, it's awful, but I guess it's something you just have to accept.
I use Nair to remove it most of the time. Why? Because I'm embarrassed..There have been many times when I wish I were french. You just have to grow to love yourself and who you are. It doesn't matter if you are as hairy as a gorilla or if you have no hair at all, if you don't love yourself, you probably won't get anywhere.

------------------

shedding skin sucumb defeat
this machine is obsolete

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Miz Scarlet
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From:Minneapolis
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posted 08-10-2000 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Miz Scarlet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think, like anything, shaving is just fine if your reasons for doing it are just fine.

If you're doing it and really don't want to, but feel your boyfriend will dump you, or someone will look at you funny, it may be time to reassess. But you know, if it's just something you do because you want to, I don't take issue with that.

I didn't shave at all until I was in my mid-twenties. For starters, my body hair is very fair and fine, and it's hardly visible.

However, I had a kindergarten classroom in an area where none of these kids had ever seen an unshaved leg on a woman before, and it became completely distracting when I was trying to teach them something. getting a six-year old to pay attention to one thing is hard enough. Two? Forget it.

After than, and as of now, I shave (or wax) when I want to. When I've done photo shoots, or gone out in full dress, I usually zap the hair that's showing simply because I'd like to have an evening where the whole world isn't fixated on my body hair, or think I'm trying to make a feminist statement. Sometimes, I do it just because I'm in the mood. Sometimes, I go months without because I'm in the mood, too.

But I'd be kidding myself if I thought that during the times I shaved I was being more "natural." I have tatoos. I get my haircut and have it dyed. I am covered in tattoos. I have piercings....you get it.

Ultimately, it seems to me that it is in fact sad that people feel they MUST do something with their bodies because everyone else says so. That's the real issue, methinks.

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Rizzo
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From:Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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posted 08-10-2000 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think I was more trying to get at the forced choice issue than the natural issue.
It seems like most girls shave to please other people. Why do girls do it to feel prettier? Because men tell them it's prettier. It doesn't feel better, it isn't cleaner, and if we de-program ourselves, we see that is doesn't even look nicer (I think it looks nice either way).
I just wish girls didn't feel like they have to shave because otherwise they'll "distract" people. What's wrong with distracting people? What's wrong with making a feminist statement? What's wrong with trying to broaden peoples' minds?
(Please don't take this as a personal attack, MizScarlet, I'm wishing the world were different, not disdaining your choice.)
I just wish the world would learn to accept new forms of beauty. I wish children in grade five weren't already wearing makeup and shaving their legs. I know I'm an idealist, and I can't change the world with my hairiness, but I hope I can make people think.

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Miz Scarlet
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From:Minneapolis
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posted 08-10-2000 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Miz Scarlet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Rizzo, as far as the feminist staqtement thing goes, that bothers me because I don't feel that when I don't shave I AM making a feminist statement, nor necessarily being feminist. Would that it were that easy.

And when you're trying to teach a roomful of kindergartners, believe me,m there is plenty wrong with distraction. My husband teaches as well, and stopped wearing earrings to class for the same reason. It just makes it too hard to do the job you're there for.

I want to add, too, that not all woman (and not just homosexual or bisexual woman) don't give a hoot about catering to an entire legion of men, and that not all men DO think a woman free of body hair is a lovlier one. My own partner has taken many a photo of the sun as it catches the hair at the base of my back and neck, and the down on my legs when it's there. During the years when I never shaved anything (and as I said, I vascillate now), I never had a single romantic partner, male or female, suggest that I should. The be-all end-all here is that when you're with someone and it's right, what they find beautiful about you most are those things that make you *you.*

I think it looks nice either way, too. And I agree with you, I truly wish that more people used body modifications as a way of celebrating their own beauty, rather than as a way to cater to a norm.

It's funny though. You know, I used to also have my head shaved. When I would walk around bald, tattooed and pierced, most people my own age started at me long and hard. On the other hand, old women and men never even seemed to notice3, or if they did, appreciated it.

As you get older, and see more and more diversity, it becaomes far less important. I think some of what you see is far more prevalaent in young people, because the peers they are often surrounded with haven't looked any further around the world than their back doors.

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playingbyheart
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From:Chicago, Il
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posted 08-10-2000 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for playingbyheart     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Even though it's not going to kill anybody if you don't shave + wear an outfit showing your legs, where I live, you'd have to go through a lot of torment and crap-- laughs behind your back- just because of those dark hairs sprawled across your limbs.

Personally- I've been through phases of shaving. I absolutely hate the process of doing it, although I have a fetish for soft, smooth skin (which, on my legs, is impossible.) I have really dark hair and no matter how hard I shave, there is still lots of stubble. Sometimes I get so frustrated i end up cutting myself really deep accidentally. Also, though I haven't done this much anymore, there were days when i'd sit on the floor for hours tweezing my legs. I really liked getting a small area very smooth but it just took too long. I think i also enjoyed the pain a little bit, just because i knew with each pull there would be a little progress.

But one pain that i couldn't handle was getting my legs waxed. I thought that would be a good idea since it was just like tweezing all the hairs at once, and a hell of a lot quicker... but when it was finished, there were still a lot of hairs left and i went home to tweeze/shave/then tweeze again, making my legs extremly bright red. I've used nair, qvc wax, and just about everything else before and nothing can make my legs smooth. It's weird because during the winter months i barely shave at all, but when i do show my legs, I get conpulsive about it and need them to be perfect.

I think it does have a lot to do with where I live, because this summer when I was staying in NYC (the east village)- i still shaved my legs, but i didn't really care if i missed a spot or two since i've seen womyn around there walking around covered in hair. Even the girl that I hung out with there who attending the same pre-college program as me had hair on her legs (she shaved it occasionally but having it there when she was in brown cord capris didn't bug her one bit.) -- i dunno-- i think that shaving is extremly annoying, time-consuming and pointless but i'm so influenced by society that i do it anyway--

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Aja Valderamma
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From:Capr Coral, Florida. USA
Registered: Jul 2000

posted 08-10-2000 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aja Valderamma     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi All
I think most girls choose what they want for THEMSELVES. Lot's of girls I know dress goth, some are preppy, some go for all the hyped up commercialized stuff like Old Navy, & Ambercrombie. Others dye or bleach their hair. Some are overweight and don't care.

It's all about indiviualism. Here in Florida it's always hot and sticky, to me it's more comfortable to shave my pubic hairs clean. I don't do it for a guy, since i'm single I do it for me. It makes me feel clean.

Many cultures are different. In some, body hair on females is considered attractive, similar to discolored teeth in Asian socities which portray people as wise as an elder.

We all come in differnt size and shapes, and all prescribe to different styles and fashions. As long as your not struggling to be the prototypical ideal of what a young female should look like, such as this pencil thin supermodels, and starving or purging yourself. Shaving seems to be as personal of a choice, painting your toenails or wearing lipstick.

If it makes you happy and comfortable thats all that should matter.

Aja

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Miz Scarlet
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From:Minneapolis
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posted 08-10-2000 11:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Miz Scarlet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Brava!

(Oh, Aja, I am so happy you're back, chica. We all really missed you.)

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Hanne
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From:boston, ma, USA
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posted 08-10-2000 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hanne     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yay, Aja came back!

Whee!

Nice to see ya, chicamundi!

------------------
Hanne Blank
Associate Editor, Scarleteen

"Be Excellent To Each Other" -- Bill and Ted

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Aja Valderamma
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From:Capr Coral, Florida. USA
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posted 08-10-2000 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aja Valderamma     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks
Mz S & Hanne you guys are much too sweet and I missed you all so much. I'm gonna try to behave so I don't ruffle any feathers.

But it's so great to be here again. I feel so happy!!! I love you guys!

Aja

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Gumdrop Girl
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From:Los Angeles, CA ... somewhere off the 10
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posted 08-10-2000 02:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gumdrop Girl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I shave because i like the smoothness of my skin. It feels nice. I keep my pubic hairs neatly trimmed because it's more comfortable for me. I don't want to make a socio-political statement with the way i style my body hairs.

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i think you're special ... and i don't mean that in a short bus kind of way

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Rizzo
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From:Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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posted 08-11-2000 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SIGH... There's so much I want to say, and I feel like no one agrees with me. Oh well...
Perhaps I'm paranoid, but to me, it seems like we're all being brainwashed to believe only shaved women are beautiful. I find it very hard to believe that the majority of women shave because they WANT to. It makes me angry, when people say it's prettier, or cleaner. I take it personally, like you are saying I'm ugly and dirty.
Anyway, (sorry to disagree again, Miz Scarlet...) I do regard shaving as a feminist issue. I think that trying to break free from the restrictive standards of beauty that are forced upon us is an important feminist battle. I'm just curious, but when you were teaching, did you hide your piercings and tattoos, as well? I know what it's like with young children, as I've done some volunteering with them, and I've found them to be quite open-minded. Sure, children are curious, but it seems like exposing them to new things is a good way of educating future generations to be more tolerant.
Also, I'd just like to say that I don't think pressure to shave comes only from men. It doesn't matter if it's your boyfriend or your girlfriend who wants you to shave. Lesbians aren't immune to pressure to conform.

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Beppie
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From:Australia
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posted 08-11-2000 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Beppie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with you to some extent. Remember, I did go a year without shaving my legs in protest once. I think that some women do just blindly shave because society expects it of us, but the fact is that some do because they like it.

I think that it's a feminist issue of women are doing it solely to please men (or women, as it may be). But you have to acknowledge that unshaved women would just be another social standard, another "norm". The fact is that whether or not someone believes they have equal rights with all other human beings has nothing to do with whether they have body hair. It annoys me that women can't not shave without being harrassed for it, but by the same token it would annoy me if women (or men) were harrassed for removing body hair as well.

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VeNT
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From:truro cornwall england
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posted 08-11-2000 07:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for VeNT     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
May I just point out that its not just girls that shave
I often shave
and not just on my face
me and my girlfrend decided that it would be funny to shave all our body hair off
she didn't like it so she let her hair grow back
but I liked it and have shaved as it where for about half a year now
just thought I would add my two-pennys-worth
cyaz
~VeNT

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Rizzo
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From:Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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posted 08-11-2000 08:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry, y'all, for replying to my own topic so often.
I quite agree with you, Beppie, that girls shouldn't be harrassed for shaving or not shaving. Despite my possibly radical seeming facade, I'm pretty tolerant, and would never be mean to a girl just because she shaves. I just think that, right now, it's important to focus on balancing the scales.
And VeNT: I know that not only girls shave, in fact my boyfriend shaves more than just his face at the moment. I don't have a problem with that. However, boys certainly aren't being brainwashed into thinking they need to shave their legs/armpits/pubic hair. I am more inclined to believe boys when they say they do it for themselves.

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bettie
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From:Canada
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posted 08-11-2000 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bettie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As for guys shaving more than their face, I know plenty of guys who wax their backs and other body parts because they are seriously embarassed by the hair there. Some other guys I know tried waxing, but didn't like it and now never take their shirts off in public. One guy will only do it when he is Europe where body hair is not seen as freaky.

I think women don't have the monoploy on selfconsciousness over body hair. With all the sleek Calvin kelin models out there, a guy can be influenced by the imagery just like a girl can. When Burt Reynolds was the sex symbol of the day things were different. the pendulum is bound to swing for men and may even swing for women.

As a side note, in some muslim cultures even though women are covered from head to toe and there is no sexual media images to speak of, they wax or sugar all of their body hair and men do much the same thing.

[This message has been edited by bettie (edited August 11, 2000).]

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Ryuu
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From:Colorado, US
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posted 08-12-2000 02:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ryuu     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The aforementioned societal forces are much to strong to difuse. I think you'd find more peace of mind if you excepted that that's how society has evolved over the years. In addition, do what's right for yourself and people respect you for that. When you find someone who loves you, they won't give a **** if you have body hair. (Or maybe they will give a **** , depending on how you look at it =) ).
Incidentally, other than my face, I like to shave designs now and then into my pubic area. I think it's very erotic :P .

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Rizzo
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From:Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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posted 08-14-2000 10:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't believe that one should have too much peace of mind about something s/he feels strongly about. Great figures of the past didn't get where they did with a defeatist attitude. I do realize that the societal forces against me are very strong, but I can't let myself believe that. It takes a long time to change things, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
I'd also like to say that I do feel comfortable with my body, and I have found someone who doesn't give a **** about my hair (well, actually he says he likes it).

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Brandy
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From:Winnepeg, MB, Canada
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posted 08-14-2000 12:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brandy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although society may push women into believing that shaving is considered to be "normal", I think that most women have enough sense and independence to make their own desicions. Just because some of us choose to shave, it doesn't mean that we're following what society says. A lot of us have our own reasons for shaving. I know I do it because I like the way I feel. It makes me feel clean and pretty, and feminene. I don't like the way I look in a skirt with hairy legs. I keep my pubic hairs trimmed, because it makes me feel sexy when I'm with my boyfriend. Like everything else, shaving is a prference. Some choose to shave, some don't. It's one of the many things that makes us individuals, what makes us feel good about ourselves. I don't really understand the controversy, because it's simply someone's personal choice. It's our mind, our bodies, and I don't think we shouldn't be condemmed for making descions for ourselves.

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Milke
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From:I *came* from the land of ice and snow
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posted 08-15-2000 01:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Milke     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rizzo, you should see my legs. Scarred in many places, thin skin, scabs and ingrown hairs, all from my finally getting sick of being teased some years ago, and taking blade to tender skin. As I see it, it's really a part of self-loathing; some girls slash their arms, but I'd just try to make myself hairless, sort of a way of avoiding puberty. A few months ago I gave up shaving under my arms, only to find I had very little hair there anyway, I've since let my legs start growing, on the advice of my partner who prefers me hairy and unhurt. And what gets me, is how few people have noticed. My scars get so much more attention than hair, which is something I find appealing on other people, flower child that I am. All I can really say is that if it's bothering you enough to spur you to write, it's time to give it up!

[This message has been edited by Milke (edited 05-30-2003).]

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Rizzo
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From:Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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posted 08-15-2000 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey Milke, I agree with you, I think shaving is (for some) a kind of puberty denial. It really freaks me out to think of shaved pubic areas, that seems like really sexualizing children. Anyway, um, I'm a flower child type myself, and I already don't shave (I probably wouldn't be so adament about this all, if I did).
Brandy, I disagree. I don't think most women do make informed decisions about shaving. My whole argument is that we are being force-fed this notion that shaving is prettier/sexier/cleaner. I mean, really think about it. Why does it make you feel clean/sexy/pretty? Because they tell you it should. Is it, objectively, any cleaner or sexier or prettier? No, it isn't. That's all I'm trying to say. If you want to shave, more power to you, just think long and hard about why you're doing it.

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bettie
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From:Canada
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posted 08-15-2000 06:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bettie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just wanted to add that I truly did start to trim and shave my pubic hair for a"cleanliness" reason. Not to be too explicit, but my pubic hairs would stick painfully together when I would have my period. No one told me to trim. In fact, I had no idea that some men and women shave their pubic hair until much later. I know I can't be the only female in North America to have done it for this reason.

I am not saying that the media and societal forces don't play a role, but it isn't the only force. True discomfort can too. In any case, I don't see why the unnaturalness of shaved legs is such an issue when people don't get very upset over the unnaturalness of washing. Why should the perceived offensivenss by one sense (touch or sight -as in the one's legs) be different from the perceived offensiveness by another (smell). Some people find stinkiness bad and others don't. Some people find hairiness "icky", others don't. Live and let live, I say. I'll shave or not shave and do my thing and let others do theirs.

[This message has been edited by bettie (edited August 15, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by bettie (edited August 15, 2000).]

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Ryuu
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From:Colorado, US
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posted 08-15-2000 07:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ryuu     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rizzo:
I don't believe that one should have too much peace of mind about something s/he feels strongly about.

There's a contradiction there.
However, since you are doing what is right for you, best of luck in your crusade.

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