As I got older, I kept shaving day in and day out. Even though I have extremely sensitive skin (thanks, psoriasis), I just kept doing it because I am a woman and I was under this weird impression that if I stopped, I would be the only one on the planet who didn’t. It would trigger my skin to get hives or be red and blotchy or simply throb for a few hours, sure, but I thought it was totally worth it to prevent any judgment.
Although I never really felt comfortable shaving my entire pubic area, I still did it because I was terrified that if I stopped, nobody who saw me without clothes would ever think I was sexy again. Hair, after all, is sexy on men while the absence of it is equally sexy on women; at least, that is the assumption I operated under every time I stepped into the shower.
However, every summer starting in 2009, I would stop shaving my legs. After all, I was always in relationships with people who were far away (again, I did it considerably due to my significant others). I loved how short my showers were, how much I saved on razors and the way my skin was never irritated. And, to be frank, I even more loved the fact that I looked like an adult with my clothes off as opposed to the uncomfortably bald childlike parts I saw every time I looked down after shaving.
Without being too explicit, I still do some maintenance, but I don’t remove everything because I feel so incredibly exposed. Perhaps it’s in part because of my past, but I feel extremely uncomfortable when men tell me that they only like having sex with women who don’t have any body hair. I can’t help it; I think it’s inherently creepy to prefer your partner to appear prepubescent. Even if that partner isn’t a creep, it still gives them a creepy factor to me and I don’t like it.
In fact, the elimination of body hair below the belt is probably the one I take most issue with being dictated as some kind of femininity requirement. It’s one thing if you prefer your body that way, so please don’t think that if you get Brazilians, I’m somehow calling you strange or insulting your habits! It’s just an entirely different one to be a man criticizing women who prefer their pubic area to show signs of development past their preteen years.
Upon recently writing about a survey I did regarding many women’s shaving habits, I received a comment from a man who stated that he “expects women to be clean and groomed” for himself, as though it’s somehow unhygienic to not shave. And it’s not really okay to “expect” anything outside of basic hygiene for your partner’s appearance; if you don’t already enjoy that person the way he or she is, why are you banging them? I get that people have preferences, which is fine, but insisting on altering your partner’s choices is different. If I had a nickel for every time I had heard a guy friend state that they found it “gross” when females didn’t shave, I could probably buy those fellahs each a trip to the spa so they could feel how awesome and totally pleasant it is to rip your hair out of its follicles. (Men, read: IT FUCKING SUCKS.)