I’ve mentioned in the past that I have a love/hate relationship with shaving. I don’t like performing in-shower acrobatics and pulling muscles, but I also don’t like getting my hair snagged in my clothes or that sweaty, itchy feeling during the summer.
A few weeks ago, during my second week of school, I had an incident. I was on the very last day of my period–and I apologize because this is about to get really personal–and my flow wasn’t heavy enough to wear a tampon, so I just wore a pad. You know what pads are, right? They’re big diaper-feeling things with a sticky adhesive on one side that doesn’t actually cling to your underwear at all, that kind of catch your menstrual blood, but mostly just lets it bleed out the edges onto your underwear.
So, I was wearing one of those and rushing to the bathroom because I really needed to pee. Happens sometimes. In my haste to relieve myself, I just kind of yanked everything down. Big mistake. I nearly cried right there in the bathroom stall because some of the hair at my bikini line had gotten stuck to that adhesive that never sticks to your underwear. When I pulled my underwear down, those hairs were ripped from my body (okay, that’s a slight exaggeration; there’s not enough adhesive grip on a pad to remove body hair, but it certainly felt like it for how hard they pulled).
Needless to say, I was not in a great mood. Obviously, such incidents weren’t problems when I shaved. So, when I got home, I immediately hopped in the shower and shaved myself completely from neck to ankle. I might have gone a bit overboard in my frustration, because even when I shaved regularly, I never shaved completely if you catch my drift.
But, oh man, you guys, my witches, when I was done… when I was done…
IT FELT SO GOOD!
I really had missed that fresh-shaved feeling, when my legs would rub up on my sheets or whatever. I mean, I mentioned that before, but I really didn’t know how much I missed that feeling until I felt it again.
But, oh, I also felt so guilty. I felt like a bad feminist for giving in to patriarchal beauty standards (even though beauty had nothing to do with it). I’ve spent years being bombarded with op-ed pieces about “I stopped shaving my legs and here’s why I think everyone else should” or “I stopped wearing makeup and you should, too!”
Then I thought about it. I mean, I really thought about it, and I decided that’s bullshit. When so-called feminists tell other women and AFAB non-binary people that they shouldn’t wear makeup or shave or wear heels or whatever, they’re no better than those upholders of the patriarchy saying women and AFAB non-binary people should do those things. Both sides are still telling us what to do. Both side still assume we’re too stupid to make our own informed decisions on the matter.
So, I’m gonna keep shaving and I’m never again going to read another article/blog post/op-ed that has the words “and you should, too!” in the title.
I love you all.