With around 25% of millennial women now opting out of shaving their armpits and legs, it is clear that this apparent rebellion against the patriarchy is rapidly growing in popularity. It is becoming synonymous with feminism to proudly exhibit one's unshaven pits, but doing so implies the idea that any woman who prefers the shaved look and feel is simply conforming to the standards imposed on women by our patriarchal society.
Firstly, and without even entering the debate on whether it is in fact women and not men who put such societal pressures on women (that's another rant for another article), why do some people feel that the custom of shaving is worse for our gender than for men?
Yes, there is a precedent for women in the west shaving their legs, armpits and bikini lines, but these are all parts of the body that can be easily covered up if you are so inclined. Men have had to shave their faces on a daily basis for centuries in order to be accepted as anyone of importance in society, and in what world is that not worse?
Do I like my legs shaved? Yes. Do I sometimes go weeks without shaving them because I'm rarely out of thick tights or trousers? Also yes. Were I a man with two days of stubble, however, that's out there for all the world to see.
Now, I'm not saying for a moment that all women should have to shave. If you prefer to let it grow, then by all means, throw away the razor - you do you. But this needs to stop being a feminist statement to the extent of shaming those of us who prefer the look and feel of shaven skin.
As I said, I sometimes go a couple of weeks without shaving my legs if I'm not getting them out, I'm not ashamed of it, but the reason behind it is laziness rather than some political statement. I love nothing more than freshly shaven legs against my duvet or pyjamas. So yes, I'm shaving for me, not the patriarchy.
I know that many hairy and proud feminists who preach that hairy armpits are great also tag on the end of their sermons that it's fine to shave if you're doing it for yourself... Well, thanks for your permission to do what I want with my own body, and the assumption that it isn't for my own benefit already. How patronising.
Personally, I find hairy armpits repulsive, but that extends to men as well. In fact, I just find armpits repulsive and therefore want to keep mine as hair-free and easy to clean as possible. Yes, there is no social pressure for men to shave their armpits and for a man to shave them would be going against the norm, but honestly that's probably less gross to me personally. Each to their own.
As well as their faces, some men are so hairy that they feel obliged to shave or wax their backs and chest, so does that not imply that body hair removal is a human thing rather than a female thing? After all, it's only leftover genes from when we were apes, and there's a reason that we've evolved to be less hairy than them.
I think what some feminists fail to understand is that you can be feminine and still want equality for your gender. I love being a woman, it's great. I love make-up and having long hair and shaving... But that doesn't mean I look down on less stereotypically feminine women, so I don't expect to be looked down on, judged or pitied by extreme feminists for any of my life choices, especially when they affect nobody but me.