Body hair is not unhygienic

Recently I had a discussion with my 8 year old son about body hair. In particular, myy body hair. I am fairly lax when it comes to shaving, especially in the winter. I don’t really see a reason to keep my legs and armpits completely smooth when no one – apart from my husband – is going to see them anyway.

My son, noticing my armpit hair one day, commented: “Mum, you have to shave, your armpit hair is gross.”

First of all, I don’t know where he got the idea that armpit hair is gross. But I asked him why he thought armpit hair was gross.

“It’s not natural for women to have hair there,” he replied. I set him straight right away. If women were not supposed to have armpit hair, then we wouldn’t. Simple as that.

As I said above, I do tend to shave. I don’t actually care personally whether my legs and armpits are smooth or not, but I have to admit that I am not enough of a non-conformist yet to let my hair just grow. I guess I am still beholden to society in that respect. But that does not mean that I don’t respect women who defy these arbitrary societal norms and go without shaving.

Body hair (not just armpit hair) is natural. Just because at some point in the last century women were convinced to shave their legs, armpits and even vulvas, does not mean that this is the *right* way to be. Women who shave do this out of personal preference (or because they are not ready to go against society). Women who don’t shave are not any less hygienic than women who do. In the same way, men are not any less hygienic because they don’t shave.

Feminism is about allowing women to make choices for themselves. I have read articles that shame women for shaving and for “conforming” and that is wrong. Some women simply prefer to be smooth. They have shaved their whole lives, it doesn’t bother them or they simply feel sexier with smooth skin. That is perfectly fine. What isn’t fine is men and women telling women that they have to shave. It should be a personal preference, nothing more.

Armpit and leg hair is less controversial to vulva hair. Lately there have been many idiots on Twitter spewing off about how shaved vulvas are better than hairy ones, and those same idiots consistently get the terminology wrong. Vulvas become vaginas, as if they can ever be hairy. Again, whether or not you shave your pussy is up to you. How much you shave off is up to you as well. Whatever you feel like doing is fine. As long as it is the choice of the women.

No one should be shamed for the choices they make with regards to their own body. Whether it comes to your weight, your pussy or any other aspect of your body. The myth that body hair is unhygienic is yet another lie perpetrated by the patriarchy to control women. Let’s just do what we feel comfortable with – and let’s support each other in this. The more we can have representation on both sides – shaven and unshaven – the more our children are going to see that there’s nothing wrong with body hair, irrespective of what gender you are.

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2 thoughts on “Body hair is not unhygienic”

  1. Very well argued. I agree a lot of the shaving I do is conforming to the ‘image’ I have been presented over the years that smooth legs and armpits are sexy. I feel more glamorous shaved but I can be a bit lazier in the winter.
    I actually love a waxed vulva though, that really makes me feel sexy, but it is personal preference only (OH likes it too, which is nice but wouldn’t sway me)

    1. Isabelle Lauren

      I tried waxing, but found it too annoying to keep up. I only shave my pussy partly, I leave the hair up top, so only really shave my outer labia. I prefer it that way, although hubby would like me completely smooth. If I was better at non-conforming I would leave the hair on my armpits and legs and only shave my pussy.

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