Bad Feminist

My decision to shave

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Rebecca Mennecke

More stories from Rebecca Mennecke

Horoscopes?
September 16, 2019
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Bad Feminist

Photo by Carolyn Mennecke

Photo by Carolyn Mennecke

Photo by Carolyn Mennecke

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Yesterday, I ran out of extra razors for shaving.

Usually, I  keep extras around my room so, when I need a new one, I have at least one on hand. But, the last time I went grocery shopping, I didn’t buy more because I assumed I had more at home. So it was a Tuesday night, and I needed a razor since it’s warmer out and I wanted to start wearing shorts. I had articles to edit, a paper to write, articles to finish up on and a research project to crank out.

But still, the thought of having legs with thick fur covering my skin horrified me.

I didn’t want anyone to notice any hair on my body, lest they think I, a human being, actually grow hair. So I ran out with some friends to a local drugstore and spent about $15 (yes, 15 whole dollars) on a pack of razors. So I not only spent money on something I don’t really need, but I also wasted time — time I could have been using to work on the numerous things I needed to do.

I got to thinking: Why do I feel like I need to shave my legs? I mean, it’s completely natural to have hair on our bodies — it is what’s supposed to keep us warm in the winter. (But even that may not be enough in the Midwest.)

I know the typical feminist will say, “Well, Becca, you didn’t need to buy those razors. You could have just left your legs furry. That’s how they’re supposed to be anyways.”

And they would be absolutely right.

I hate the expectation that women have to shave literally all over their body and men don’t. It’s an unfair standard that benefits men, since men only have to shave their faces (and only if they choose to).

I don’t understand who even came up with that double standard, anyways. After a little research, I discovered the root of the problem was capitalism (which is unsurprising).

Basically, King Camp Gillette (known for Gillette razors) wanted to make bank and so he advertised razors for women too — when they never needed them before, according to a Bustle article. The timing couldn’t have been better either; it was the era of shorter skirts, so the leg could be revealed.

According to Mental Floss, women’s hair removal items began being advertised around 1908.

Around 1915, the razor began being advertised for women. It was no different then than it is today; women looked to magazines (or I guess social media today) for models of femininity. And what they saw reflected back at them was shaved hairless. So they did it too.

I don’t get why women have to get rid of something that’s 100 percent natural when men don’t — particularly when it’s natural. I can’t stop my hair from growing. I can’t tell it to stop.

Yet, I still shave my legs. It’s a personal decision.

I know, I know, I’m feeding into the patriarchy and whatever, but it really is a personal decision. I don’t like the way hair feels on my body. I love feeling like a plucked chicken.

It makes me feel squeaky clean — especially if I have my cherry blossom lotion to smell extra fresh. It’s a personal decision I make, and that’s my right to make that decision. If you shave or if you don’t — or however you deal with hair — is your decision.

It’s a decision we as women have worked hard to have, so I’m going to take full advantage of it, even if it means I have to spend a ridiculous $15 on a Tuesday night when I have other things to do. It’s a nice break, anyway.

Mennecke can be reached at [email protected].

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