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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » Women Who Don't Shave

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Author Topic: Women Who Don't Shave
BeauteAmericai
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I'm just wondering if any other women (biologically or identity) here choose not to shave? I didn't realize what a reaction I would get when I decided to chuck the razor for good when I was 16. In my opinion, women look beautiful and natural with body hair and always thought of it as a persoal preference, certainly not something I would receive a negative reaction for.

I find myself wearing sleeves and pants 95% of the time or for the occasion I'm not, I keep my arms down because I'm sick and tired of the loud whispers I hear from others regarding it. I don't want to openly debate with someone in a public place about something this trivial but I'm left with this empty feeling that body hair is a male privelage I'm not entitled to without some consequences.

Also, this idea that it
is "cleaner" , "sexier", and more "feminine" to shave is hard to entirely rid yourself of. Everytime a relationship ends for me, I panic a little in thinking that my furry legs are a mark against me in the desirable department. Even though I've had my share of male and female partners who either don't mind one bit or prefer it. My parents really don't like it and never pass up a chance to mention it when I stop by their house for a visit while my ape like brother sits feet from me undisturbed in his naturally hairy glory.

It's like people have forgotten that women naturally have hair, just like men, just like all humans and it's a societal expectation to remove it. I don't personally agree with any practice that would completely discriminate against one gender for the difference.

What does everyone here think about it and what are your personal experiences as a woman if you don't shave?

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"I'm as pure as the driven slush" Tallulah Bankhead


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HumanTornado
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Interesting you should bring this up. Just yesterday I was reading one of those dreadful magazines (this one was called "Glamour") and they had this huge lead article called What guys really want from sex. Made me curious, of course, so I checked it out. Most of the answers and poll resulsts sounded quite reasonable, until I got to a question on what guys think of oral sex and if they are ever bothered by the smell. It was split evenly between guys who didn't mind and guys who did and then, halfway down the column, the writer went on to say "of course, what is totally unacceptable to all the guys in our test is natural pubic hair. We prefer a Brazilian, at the very least, if not cleanly shaven." They then went on to quote a guy as having walked out on a woman because she had pubic hair.

I sat there, with my mouth hanging open, for aproximately five minutes. I mean ... it's hair, dude! You have it, too. It's supposed to be there and serves a purpose.

Then again, the only thing I can think of saying to a guy who'd walk out on me because I refuse to attack my privates with a razor blade to look aesthetically pleasing is "Good riddance".


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Beppie
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I remember when I was 14, I was in personal development/health class, and our teacher (who was very cool, and did heaps of great sex ed stuff with us), asked about what forms of sexism girls still have to deal with. I suggested that the expectation that women shave their legs and underarms was sexist, and most girls very quickly insisted that this wasn't sexism, it was just a natural thing for women to do for the sake of cleanliness. After the teacher and I pointed out that men don't face the same sort of stigma for their unshaved legs and underarms (not to mention that it's acceptable for them to have hairy chests and backs), most girls did (very reluctantly) admit that it was a gender issue.

I'm sure that I've mentioned it on these boards before, but when I chose not to shave for a while in high school, I had some girls (supposedly friends) try to forcibly remove my leg hair with a "waxing" strip, made with paper and sticky tape.

If you want to read a really good book (fiction) that deals with issues of gender and hair removal, see if you can get your hands on Sky Legs by Irini Savvides (this is an Australian novel, and I'm not sure how easy it would be to get it overseas, unfortunately).


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Deunan Knute
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I've never shaved my legs before, but I've been tempted in the past. I try to shave my armpits every now and then so I can wear tank tops without feeliing uncomfortable and self concious.

As for pubic hair, I've only shaved mine once for my boyfriend. It wasn't a matter of appearance, but more a matter of him being annoyed by getting hair in his mouth everytime he kissed me down low.


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Heather
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At the ripe age of 35 after many, many lovers of both genders, I am actually for the first time in my life with someone who has a preference for LESS body hair/depilation. Until now, absolutely no one I have been with, long-term or casually has cared one whit, and very many partners of mine have made clear in the past they enjoyed the fact that I don't often depilate. So, the idea that this is something all men or all people prefer is pretty fallacious. No doubt, in some social circles, I'm sure that'd be the case, but we get to choose our social circles.

I found that with the more proper half of my family it now and then was an issue too, but as I got older I realized the easy answer to that was just either to dress at formal events in such a way that covered my hair, or to just wax for that occasion. Avoids conflict over something that seems pretty superficial to me: I've got bigger fish to fry. But anything non-formal, they get what they get.

The idea that the lack of body hair where it grows on all women is more "feminine" we see propegated is a truly silly thing unless, of course, "feminine" means subjugates oneself to anyone's/fashion's every whim.


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BeauteAmericai
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"They then went on to quote a guy as having walked out on a woman because she had pubic hair. I sat there, with my mouth hanging"

Oh my word. Now I know where some of the women I talk to get this stuff. So I'm guessing he probably didn't have pubes? But I choose this quote because I was my current partner's first sexual experience two months ago when we first got together. I was el natural in that department, I mean not even a trim because I hadn't been partnered and no preference allows mine to take charge!

Any ways, he didn't even mention my pubic hair and I thought, "Hey, this is a really great guy but I'm sure he expected what he sees in the media and I'll trim it back a bit until he can get used to the idea." Well this turned into a completely shaven look and he was horrified. Ha! I was waiting for a look of admiration and all he could say was "W-why did you do that?" It's nice to have someone who doesn't mind my happy trail, the fact that in it's natural state-my pubes spill out onto my thighs and other places no one seems to want to disclose

"I suggested that the expectation that women shave their legs and underarms was sexist, and most girls very quickly insisted that this wasn't sexism, it was just a natural thing for women to do for the sake of cleanliness."

It's amazing how people can't see what issues they deal with every day until directly confroted with a contradiction or view that hadn't yet thought of. I think it was Gilette who launched the advirtising in 1915 to target women in order to bring up their sales. Prior to that, it wasn't an expectation because most women didn't even wear clothes revealing enough to display those areas of their body. It's interesting even now that it's acceptable for a woman to choose what she does with her pubic hair, and it's "normal" that many women leave it alone. However, any body part that society may see when you leave the house is under strict observation.

And it's funny that being natural gets me everything from "granola" to "ugly" because I don't wear makeup, my hair isn't touched beyond shampoo, and I've only just started discovering the joys of lotion for the dry Maine winters.

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"I'm as pure as the driven slush" Tallulah Bankhead


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daria319
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I honestly don't feel like shaving is a pain. I've always been a little creeped out by body hair(and monkeys too..there might be a connection,lol) so I actually enjoy shaving. I almost went nuts last week because I didn't have a decent razor to shave my legs with. Guess I'm just a little odd,lol
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Kisses Me Pink
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I personally shave, but I really have a preference to have no hair besides on my head. For some reason it just makes me feel cleaner. I like feeling clean. Of course, I tend to like guys with less body hair too, although you could never tell that from the guy I'm with. It's just a preference. I like the feeling of just skin. Smoothness. Yay.

Although, the main reason I started shaving my pits like every other day at least was simply because I read in a book that you should shave to smell prettier because that hair being there traps smelly bacteria.

I actually did though, know a girl who moved last year named Emily, and she was on the swim team and she never shaved anything. I heard that now, she has like 3 girls who she convinced to stop shaving or something. I've personally never heard her beef on lack of body hair, but I thought that was pretty funny.


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BeauteAmericai
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quote:
Originally posted by Kisses Me Pink:
I personally shave, but I really have a preference to have no hair besides on my head. For some reason it just makes me feel cleaner. I like feeling clean. Of course, I tend to like guys with less body hair too, although you could never tell that from the guy I'm with. It's just a preference. I like the feeling of just skin. Smoothness. Yay.

Although, the main reason I started shaving my pits like every other day at least was simply because I read in a book that you should shave to smell prettier because that hair being there traps smelly bacteria.

I actually did though, know a girl who moved last year named Emily, and she was on the swim team and she never shaved anything. I heard that now, she has like 3 girls who she convinced to stop shaving or something. I've personally never heard her beef on lack of body hair, but I thought that was pretty funny.


I personally don't buy the bit about shaving to smell nicer. I actually have found I don't sweat or smell at all with armpit hair but I sure did when I used to shave! Kind of an odd contradiction I found to the popular opinion.

Personal preference and difference is what the makes the world go round but I hate when it's openly used to degrade others, you know? I remember I was in the grocery store and I had to reach up to grab a box...I hear two young women, probably college age say "Oh my God, did you just see that. No, keep looking...maybe she'll do it again...I'm serious! I don't think Matt has that much hair!" Now I don't know who Matt is or if I truly do have more body hair than him but what business was it of theirs? Or if they are overcome with repulsed thoughts...can't they keep them quiet until the next aisle? Sexism is still all around us baby. She made clear by that statement that she expected and was okay with that her (I'm assuming boyfriend) was unshaven but some woman she doesn't even know is fair game for her sexist observations. It really made me sad.

I had a long conversation with my boyfriend about this last night which is why I'm revisiting the post. I think it's so funny how many women I've asked why they shave, assume there's an expectation on their partner's part. The vast majority of my multiple partners have in fact preferred it even when they had never experienced it before. I've been made a spectacle
more than once at my friend's house and not
in a bad way. She keeps saying how she wishes she "had the balls" to stop shaving but just couldn't deal with the adversity. That to me is so sad...someone not allowed to live their life and dress themselves, treat their body as they see fit because of a hidden agenda on society's part.

They mask it with ideas that you're cleaner this way, that you smell nicer, you look sexier, and let's face it-look what happens when you don't. Apparantly men don't care about cleanliness and looking good if that's the case.

We can't be ignorant to what's actually taking place in these routines.

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"I'm as pure as the driven slush" Tallulah Bankhead


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Heather
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I absolutely hear you there, Beaute.

But just do remember that for some women, it truly IS personal preference, much in the way that for some of us when we choose not to depilate, it's not just a political statement, it's because we personally prefer our bodies that way.

In the lesbian community, for instance, it's usually a given, in nearly all of them, that body hair is A-OK, no matr how you present, and those cultural influences to do things for men aren't there. And yet, a lot of femme-presenting dykes still shave or wax. An awful lot of them.

And yes: body hair has little to do with cleanliness. In fact, pubic hair is there in part to help keep bacteria away from the vagina and urethra, so. But sometimes it varies on the person. I teach kickboxing and train a lot, and in the summers I almost always wax my pits once because I do find I sweat more -- I'm Irish/Italian, so my hair all over tends to be very thick -- and I overheat a litle less when I have, enabing me to train longer. Again, different strokes.


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fonz
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Me - Hairy!

All my family seemsd to be (again perhaps the irish thing)

When i was 14 i went on holiday to spain, naturally we all walked around in skimy clothing because it was hot. One day myself and my cousins all went to a water park for the day. it was a blast but when i was in a queue for one of the slides these two girls of about my age came right up to me said something in spanish, staring right at my legs and laughed outright. how horrible and bitchy is that.

That was the part of myu life when for anti-sexism reasons i too did not shave. And let me tell you, I AM HAIRY! ; )


Cant help it. its genetic. I shave now and im actually thinking of waxing my bikini line because i feel hate that my pubes spill out onto my thighs (awkward for swimming and getting changed in public changing rooms) at 14, i just thought "hey its there problem not mine" but ok, for the sake of an easier life i do shave now though not obsessively. i do actually prefer it if my skin is on show anyway.

Point is, this year at 16, i actually found more hair growing on my body - thick straight hair on my nipples (is this normal?)and a couple on my chin!!

everyone is hairy but to different degrees - deal with it how you will.


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JamsessionVT
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Absolutely normal. Hair is very much a human thing, so you'll find it growing pretty much anywhere.

I must say I'm not a very hairy person. The Irish influence in my family gave me reddish brown hair (which is darkening as I get older) and blond hair everywhere on my body. So I went for a long time without starting shaving (until my freshman year of highschool, actually). I rarely shave under my arms just because A) I have no hair and B)the little I do have is very light colored, hardly visible unless you get up close and personal, something I don't catch most people doing

So, yeah, I shave my legs. But I don't do it religiously. My uber sensitive skin can't take constant razor burn and painful ingrown hairs I get from shaving, so for me, all the fuss about silky smooth legs just isn't worth it.

[This message has been edited by JamsessionVT (edited 12-02-2005).]


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PerdyDinosaur123
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I myself, do shave my armpits. I only shave my legs when I wear skirts or shorts (which is not very often). And as for my pubic area, I only give it a little trim every now and then, because I dislike how the hairy mess sort of makes my undies "poof" out. Haha. I honestly have never had a boyfriend. But I would never go out with one that disliked pubic hair. I will never shave my entire pubic area, why? Because it is natural. It wouldn't be there if we were meant to shave it off.
I don't know why our society has progressed so to the point that, showing off as much skin as you can, but making sure it is completely hairless, is "hot" for women. Why has the idea of hair on any place except your head become such a turn-off? I have no idea.
By the way, I'm 13. I loved reading the replies to this post. Fantastic topic. And all of those that have chucked the razor- you are my heros!
[A Woman Without A Man Is Like A Fish Without A Bicycle --Gloria Steinem]

[This message has been edited by PerdyDinosaur123 (edited 12-02-2005).]


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naturalbeauty
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up until 8 months ago i shaved. i used to be so self conscious all the time about what people would think of my hair under my arms, on my legs, under my chin, above my lip, trailing from my belly button down to my pubic area...even the hair on my toes!! all except the hair above my lip i used to shave. i used to pluck the "stray" eye brow hairs, too. i started shaving under my arms in 5th grade, and my legs in 6th grade. i've gone through periods of shaving my pubic hair because i thought one of my boyfriends would prefer it.

i got a new boyfriend 8 months ago who asked me why i shaved my body hair, why i wore makeup...i didn't have a good answer for him. i reread my old journal that i had when i was in 6th grade and read about the disgust i expressed at putting on "gunky" makeup...how embarrassed i was about my leg hair and it was stupid that i had to shave and cut myself. i realized that i was really smart in 6th grade. there's no reason for me to wear makeup, to shave. so now i don't. my boyfriend loves my hair everywhere. he didn't tell me not to shave, he merely asked a question and i realized something that's been true about me for a very long time.

i've recently started a conference/discussion at the college i now attend called "natural beauty" where we discuss body issues and how the media influences us. i was searching for some articles on body hair for the conference, and found this website!! so exciting!!

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"I have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat." - Rebecca West, 1913

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin


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daria319
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Does anybody else find body hair kind of itchy sometimes,though?

Even the hair on top of my head makes the back of my neck itch almost every day. Of course, my allergies are acting up right now, so my entire body itches if someone even looks at me.


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Heather
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Not when it's the soft stuff that's been around for ages rather than stubble or new growth, no.

(Btw, people with general anxiety disorders do often apperantly tend to be more sensitive skin-wise, get bothered more by itching, by, like, tags in the backs of shirts,etc.)


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Michelle Ravel
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I don't shave very often, especially not in the winter, mainly because I can't be bothered. I'll do my underarms if I'm about to play a concert in a sleeveless dress, but that's about it.

I've never had any guys who have had any problems with my hairiness. Honestly, I don't think they notice or care. I certainly don't care that they have pubic hair, and I don't care if my boyfriend hasn't shaved his face for a few days and is scratchy. Meh.


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auntie_rochelle
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Wow, all dots on the spectrum here. Shaving for me began the day I was swinging from a pole in a friend's backyard and to my horror . . . there was hair under my arm!!!! This was a crushing blow to me. (Not really sure why anymore.) I have been shaving ever since. I can understand the need to shave your underarms for many. I feel like I sweat far more when I have hair there.

I shave my legs because I still fall victim to pathetic social stigma, but I will admit I catch myself caressing my silky smooth legs. But it seems to just dry out my skin and fuzzy isn't bad, it keeps you warm. Where I live it gets quite cold in the winter.

The pubic region is a whole different story. I seem to get it into my head to shave the nether regions on occasion, even though my ex never had a problem with my pubic hair. I pay for it the weeks later. Just imagine constant itch in the crotch region for hours on end. That's my situation.

I commend all you ladies who don't care about the views society has on shaving and not shaving. Maybe someday I will free myself from the shackles of "needed" conformity. Until then, I'll still blow my money on razor heads and wish I was a man in the shaving respect.


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blueveggie
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I shave my underarms- I'm the type that needs liberal deodorant (and a reapplication if possible before heavy excersize) and prickles.. agh!

Legs? As needed (or the mood strikes me). Aveeno Positively Smooth body lotion is your FRIEND!!!!!!!!

Pubic? I did for about three weeks just for myself. Letting it grow again- it was nice while it was gone but no huge need for it. Keeping it trimmed is fine by me. However if a boyfriend preferred it, I might give him something to drool over every once in a while *cackle*

I do keep it trimmed, though. No fun to get it stuck in the sticky part of a liner if it slips (!!!!!!!!)


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