Hairy armpits, legs and pussies. Is it an “ew” or “rock on”?

Posted on 12/04/2012


The image of feminists has always bothered me. Mostly because the word itself is so loaded that most people can’t get past it. They only see bra-burning, hairy women shouting about the evilness that is The Man. 

As I talked about here some time ago, it took me years to actually admit that, yes, I am a feminist. For the longest part I didn’t know I was a feminist at all because I too, thought that feminists were horrible creatures.

But no, they aren’t… for the most part.  And no they aren’t bra-burning hairy beasts.

Of course there are feminists out there who fight against the normality of women shaving their legs, armpits and groin. But I don’t necessarily agree with that fight. Sure, if you don’t want to shave, don’t shave. But don’t tell me that I’m conforming to the patriarchal misogynistic world of The Men by shaving.

Again, of course, beauty standards are mostly made by men, because after all they are the ever looming bosses of the world (at least in the Western world). It is not all fine and dandy in the material world of the Western hemisphere.

It still doesn’t mean that I can’t make my own decisions. I do admit freely that when I started shaving my legs, at around 14 years old, I did it because I thought that was what I was supposed to do.. in a way. I didn’t suddenly think: Oh hey, I’m almost grown up (yes, every 14 year old thinks that), so I need to shave my legs. Otherwise I’m not a valid currency.

But I still saw it as a grown up thing to do. And I knew that hairy legs were not considered cool in any way (as you can sometimes hear on the bus, when almost pre-pubescent kids are talking amongst themselves: “Oh my god, did you see her legs? She’s like those women in Spain.. or Italy or somewhere where they never shave their legs!” Ah, the joy of stereotypes!).

There is one thing though I know is a product of the society. The fact that I think when I see women with unshaved legs/armpits: “Ok, ew. Shave.”

Every single time that thought crops up in my head, I metaphorically give me a good slappin’.

I have no right to be so judgmental of others. If they don’t want to shave, then so be it. Why on Earth, should I care?

I know why I care though. I associate “dirty” with body hair on women. Not dirty as in “Oh, you dirty, dirty, girl!” but as in “Ew, need to take a bath NOW” kind of dirty.

So I see these girls and think: Ugh, take a shower and shave.

Which is a completely ridonkulous thing to think. I can think any way I please about my own body, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. But I have no right to think that way about someone else.

But a part of my brain is a rebel and when I try being reasonable with myself, and say: No, Helga, this is not cool. This girl can shave her armpits whenever she wants and if she wants – that other rebelling part (I think it thinks it’s a punk or something) tells me: “Well, why shouldn’t you think like this? Odds are this very same person you are so ashamed of for judging, is judging you for shaving.”

And oddly, it makes sense in my head and I think all: “Yeah… YEAH! Why shouldn’t I judge when this person is CLEARLY judging me back, I can see it in her eyes. They’re all judgy. She’s Judgy McJudgington… From Judgeville!!”

However, my reasonable half usually wins and in the end I just think: She can shave if she wants or not shave if she wants.

But then I read articles like the one I read the other day from the chairman of the feminist association of the University of Iceland.

There it said that there was a direct correlation between paedophilia and women shaving their pussies. All I have to say about that is WTF.

And that by shaving your pussy, you are basically inviting all the bacterias to grow and live a happy life in an infected pussy.

And that the only reason women shave their pussies is because of porn. And that it happened around the year 2000 (.. which is a weird year to choose. Why 2000?).

So, some feminist don’t exactly do a good job at saying: Women should be able to shave if they want or not shave if they want.

It often seems like those women that do not shave are even more judgmental towards those who do shave than the other way around.

A woman in Sweden who dared to show her unshaved armpits the other day was met with ridicule… which is ridiculous. But that just shows the beauty standards of today.

And people are stupid.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t question why a woman can’t decide to not shave her armpits without being ridiculed for it. I’m just saying that there have always been beauty standards, for both men and women. ALWAYS.

Judgmental people will never go and those who do not conform to the normal beauty standards will be ridiculed for it.

Just as much as women would be looked at with a “WTF” look from doom if she donned a pair of low cut jeans with her thong half way up her back as was popular 10 – 15 years ago or a guy showing up in a low cut dress, a woman who hasn’t shaved her legs or armpits (it’s harder to see the groin area) will be met with looks of “ew”. Just as a guy who is shaved all over, will be met with “this guy is definitely gay.”

Discussion is always good. Questioning the normality of things is also good. But judging in the other direction just makes you as bad as the person who did the judging in the first place.

Posted in: feminism, gender, society