Editor's column: Stop telling girls they ‘need’ to shave
The other day as a couple friends were getting ready for a night out, one guy hurried them up, to which a girl responded, “Wait, I’m shaving my armpits!” He said, “Who cares?” And another girl said, “Excuse me, but if you saw an attractive girl and then she raised her arms and had hairy armpits, you know you would automatically be like, ‘Ew!’”
This deeply irritated me. I know it seems like a silly thing to get riled up about — but let’s put it into perspective. When it comes to finding a suitable [female] partner, does anyone actually rank “shaving habits”? Isn’t it something along the generic lines of “good personality, honest, attractive, good communication, etc.” (in whatever order you choose)? How big of a deal should shaving really be?
This weirdly imperative need to shave is deeply rooted in history. But can anyone in this day and age actually elucidate why shaving leg, armpit and pubic hair raises a female to the bare minimum of social acceptability? In terms of functionality, I suppose hair has a tendency to trap odors, and when it gets too long it’s apparently painful and itchy (I know even some guys trim their armpit hair for this precise reason). Beyond that, though, why is shaving still a process that necessitates hiding female body hair as if it’s a shameful secret?
We’ve finally faced the fact that girls do, shockingly enough, poop; maybe it’s time to come to terms with the fact that girls grow body hair. Let’s be real: If you are an average human being, you have body hair — simple as that. In our current era, someone shouldn’t spot a girl with body hair and think, “That’s a freak of nature right there.” (Honestly, that should never have been the case.)
Even if you genuinely love shaving, you have to admit that shaving takes up time, it’s a little dangerous (particularly in certain *ahem* areas) and it’s costly. It’s also not the most utilitarian move in terms of everyday body care.
I’ve noticed more and more that girls sometimes just don’t shave. Did I recoil in disgust? No, I did not. Granted, I noticed, but that’s just an effect of the majority. One time, I was watching a major fashion publication’s Snapchat story, and noticed that the woman giving style tips had foregone shaving her armpits. I felt a pleasant jolt of surprise. Maybe if we stop trying to pretend girls don’t grow body hair, others will follow suit and accept the fact that girls can just not shave if they don’t want to. If you think it’s gross, I’m sorry, but that sounds like a you problem.
Girls: Next time you hop in the shower and get to scrub-a-dub-dubbing, before you touch that razor, ask yourself why. Are you shaving because you want to and prefer yourself hairless in a certain area, or because you think when you raise your arms to tie up your hair people are going to stare? Shave because YOU want to. At the end of the day, shaving body hair is an absolutely personal choice; it contributes nothing to society. Take care of your body, make sure you’re comfortable and clean, but for goodness’ sake, can we please stop pretending that girls don’t grow hair?
If we can #freethenipple, I say we should be able to #freethebodyhair, too.
More from The Rice Thresher
We live in an illusioned and disillusioned world. Misinformation swarms everywhere as a pandemic ravages the planet. Every person has an opinion, every opinion an archenemy next door. We are divided and afraid. For many, another semester of squelched college experience is now wholly overshadowed by the tangible threat of disease and death all around.
The use of racial slurs by college students toward their peers is a problem that permeates across college campuses all over the country. The Rice community is no exception. When students say or do racist things, specifically toward other students, there is usually outrage, and rightfully so. However, in most of these instances, the immediate response is to look to student leaders for a reaction. If we, as a community, are serious about being anti-racist, then it is on all of us to hold our peers accountable.
This week, we transition to (mostly) in person instruction after one and a half years of largely doing classes online. Half of the undergraduate population at Rice has never experienced traditional in-person classes here, and for the other half, that experience is a distant memory.