I saw an article in a magazine recently talking about 4th and 5th grade girls shaving and how their parents should let them “because all the other girls will be smooth and your daughter will want to be too”.
That just didn’t sit well with me.
Shaving is and has been a big issue for me. I don’t like to shave and feel like I have better things to do with my time; like write this post for instance! I also feel that I have hair for a reason; it’s part of my earthly, natural beauty – why expend all that time and energy to shave it off day after day in a fruitless attempt to be smooth in spots the Universe gave me hair!
But, I’m also a pretty self conscious person, and, as a result, over the years I’ve gone back and forth from shaving all the time, to being hairy, and back to shaving again. I can see the advantages and disadvantages of each choice and each time I vacillated from one to the other, the motivations were different, personal, and actually really mixed.
When I started shaving around 12-13 or so it was for the “Everyone else is doing it” reason. As I got older, I wished someone would have discussed the fact that women didn’t always shave and that shaving, while a US societal norm, isn’t the norm in most other countries even today.
In fact, the history of women shaving in the US is not even that long of one, and that, in and of itself, is something to consider when deciding whether or not to shave; or discussing the subject with a girl in your life.
Not until the early 1900s did you see shaved American women and this ad is credited by historians as being why :
This ad ran in a 1915 issue of Harper’s Bazaar and informed women that their underarm hair was “objectionable”. The ad was paid for by a razor blade manufacturer who wanted to expand his market place. To do so he informed women of a problem they didn’t even know they had and, of course, offered a way to solve it! His ad campaign was extremely successful and changed the way a woman’s natural beauty was, and continues to be, seen.
After the hair on the underarms went, women were shown how and why they should shave their legs too. Again, razor manufacturers are at work here and have made gobs of money off of disposable razors, razor blades, shaving cream and more now that both genders feel the need to shave off the hair on various parts of their bodies.
Since this ad ran and shaving became a norm for US women, there have only been pockets of ladies who chose to go the road less shaven. The largest and most notable of these are the “hippies” of the 60s and 70s; but there are others too. Mostly though, women in the United States shave – that’s just how it is now….or is it?
Actually I know quite a few women who don’t shave. They’re definitely not the norm, but, more and more women are starting to explore the idea of not shaving. There are many different reasons for this of course but, each one has thought about it all quite a lot, including yours truly.
In fact, currently, I’m still struggling with what to do with/about my leg hair.
I know shaving isn’t the most earth friendly pass time in this world. Between the plastic razors, the sharp metal razor blades, the often toxic ingredients used to make shaving creams and lotions; it’s much less energy to leave the hair there.
But there are options. Electric razors aren’t ones you throw away and while they do run off of nasty batteries and require electricity to charge said nasty batteries most allow you to dry shave which reduces the amount of water and shaving cream used.
Also, companies like Preserve make razors from recycled plastic (yogurt cups actually) that you simply replace the blades in; they even allow you to send the razor handle back to be recycled again once you’re done with it. This is another great option to help make shaving more eco friendly.
And, there are more and more organic shaving lotion options out there made from non toxic ingredients that are good for your skin, but don’t harm the earth of the animals that reside here with us.
In my opinion though, there’s just something to be said for allowing your natural beauty to shine and to me, part of being naturally beautiful is hairy armpits and legs. And, no matter what, shaving does use up resources that can be saved by staying hairy.
The main thing that article brought up for me though is that we do have a choice to shave or not to shave. Yes, societal pressure is a factor but, that’s all it is – a factor; it doesn’t make shaving, or anything else simply what we do.
Many women I know decide to shave after really considering weather to or not because it’s more comfortable to them – at least it’s a choice though, instead of just blindly following the heard.
Others decide they are going to let their natural beauty show regardless of what the rest of folks say and do about it! Again though, it’s a conscious choice not just one of following a fad or trend.
What do you think? What do you do? Have you struggled with whether or not to shave your armpits/legs/face/other naturally hairy area of your body? Talk about it with us! It’s always nice to know you’re not alone and we sure do love a good conversation here at naturalmammas.com so share away!