Firstly I can’t believe I’ve written 50 blogs and secondly, I was recently featured on Grunnill Fitness’s Strong Women Week as a woman who “defies societal norms and doesn’t follow the crowd”. It was really nice to be featured and it made me think about writing a blog about it. It may not be about vegan food or travel but it may be of some interest to some readers.
So, I haven’t shaved my legs or armpit hair for two years now. And before that, I was never one of those people who shaved my legs obsessively every day or anything, I didn’t mind a little bit of fuzz occasionally but I was pretty on it with my armpit hairs, shaving them every shower I had. It was a normal part of my routine and I shaved my legs when I knew I’d be wearing shorts, dresses etc. I played a lot of sports growing up like netball, badminton and hockey, and all these required me to wear short sporty shorts or skirts. I was concerned about having hairy legs in front of people and was conscious of looking smooth like all the other girls. As a rule though, I never shaved above my knee.
More recently I have done five winter ski seasons and I think that’s when I really decided to stop shaving. In December 2014 I went off to France and I literally don’t get my legs out for 5 months. As you can imagine it was very cold and obviously hair is there to insulate you! I decided to simply stop shaving my legs but continued with my armpit hair. I spent the summer of 2015 working in northern Italy and after 5 months in the snow, my legs tanned pretty quickly and I always had shorts on as it was one of the hottest summers I have ever experienced. I got used to having hairy legs around our Italian colleagues and literally no one cared. I am a redhead therefore I am blessed with blonde body hair and in the sun the hairs became lighter and you couldn’t even really see them. I guess it kind of started off as a bit of a protest, then I just got used to it, then forgot about it…
I find that some people are so horrified by the fact I don’t shave, a lot of these are women. Common comments are “but you have a boyfriend?!”, “don’t you smell?”, “aren’t you embarrassed?” and I’m not kidding but after a while, I started to stop giving a shit about what people thought. I believe shaving and having “smooth skin” is a massive societal pressure for women and I am so over it. When I was 14, my mum begged me not to start shaving and I remember her saying, “you’ll regret it!” and I wish I had listened to her. I was hitting puberty and copying all the other girls at school and for 10 years I felt pressure to shave my legs. I was a total tomboy and had lots of male friends but still felt pressure to shave.
I got so mad recently after watching an awful advert for Venus razors which said something along the lines of “Girls *hot, skinny, tanned woman walks from the sea to the beach* feel more confident in your body with smooth skin”. I was horrified, like you can’t go to the beach with hairy legs?! I have attended two summer weddings along with being a bridesmaid with hairy legs and although people have stared for a split second, I want to inspire both girls and boys that it’s actually normal.
Also, I couldn’t afford the fancy razors with interchangeable heads so I bought disposable razors and now the thought of throwing more of these into landfill is horrifying. A good alternative to these are the Safety Razors that are plastic free and reusable. Pete, my boyfriend, uses one of these for his beard and I know some women use them on their legs.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against women shaving their armpits and legs, as long as they are doing truly out of their own choice and not because of pressure from magazines, adverts, celebrities, partners, friends or family members. Just do what you want, let the hair a grow a little and maybe see how liberated you feel.
Be brave, be free and be comfortable in the skin you’re in!