Why My Leg Hair Shouldn't Be a Political Statement

Like most female-aligned people, growing up I was expected to start shaving and wearing makeup. Yet in middle school, I didn’t really care about my appearance. At the time, girls in my school were experimenting with new hairstyles  and crazy makeup. However, I did nothing with my hair and nearly nothing to my face.


After a few years, I realized it’s okay to care about your appearance. How you present yourself can be a part of your identity and changes how people are going to perceive you. At times, I thought I might go a little crazy and possibly wear some...eyeliner. It was enough that my best friend might notice and question me, but not that big of a change. I liked wearing it on special occasions such as to a dance, but not other than that. Sometimes I would plan on putting eyeliner on before school, then I’d be busy getting ready and just...forget. I’d arrive at my first class, sit in my desk, and remember that I had forgotten my entire makeover plan. Introducing makeup into my everyday life never seemed to work.


I’ve always had a hard time including a hair routine into my morning, too. I would brush it and run out the door. I had long, straight hair most of my life. Then, junior year of high school I convinced my mother that I could have a pixie cut and it wouldn’t matter if I looked “like a boy.” It should be about how I want to present myself, not society’s gender expectations. My hair became a huge part of my identity. I mean, the most I do  now is dry it and put hairspray in it. But it’s still important to me.


My mom taught me how to shave my legs when I was in middle school, because my leg hair had gotten so long that she felt like it needed to be cut. It had never really crossed my mind before that point that my legs needed to be different from how they naturally were. I suppose it was similar to how I considered the hair on my head--it was just sort of there. After a few years of shaving, I started questioning why I was doing it. I didn’t really want to, and I didn’t feel the need to keep doing it just for others’ expectations of how my body should look.


This became a huge issue for my parents. They argued that it was unhygienic for me to stop shaving, yet mysteriously they never pressured my younger brother into doing anything of the sors. From time to time I still try to teach my parents about feminism, so I tried to explain that people shouldn’t have to shave hair off parts of their body if they don’t want to. They took this as me making some big statement and refusing to go along with what society wants from me.


While I do enjoy making statements, shaving my legs or not is about me having control over my own body. I have the right to say I just don’t feel like it. I should be allowed to be just as lazy as my dad is about the hair on his body and I should still be taken seriously as a person. Honestly, sometimes I do go into the shower with a plan to shave, but I just forget. Like the makeup, it’s not worked into my everyday routine, and I don’t think it needs to be. I’ll shave every once in a while (mostly because I want to continue listening to music and have nothing to do but stand there), but I shouldn’t have to keep up this performance of femininity all the time.


Over the years, I’ve started to understand why people care about their appearances. It’s perfectly normal to want to shape how people see you and express who you are. Once I realized I could do that in my own way, I started caring and creating my own outward identity. It can be important for me to wear some makeup or do my hair or shave my legs sometimes. Other times I simply forget to keep up with it, and that’s okay too.



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