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Can you recall how enthused you were to finally wield that pink razor for the very first time? How it felt like taking a primary milestone on the road to genuine womanhood? Shaving: have you ever questioned it?

Something that is such an essential part of a woman’s routine, that we will spend $10,000 and 72 hours on within our lifetime — have you ever questioned why? Well, fear not, dear reader, I’m here to tell you.

Prior to 1915, body hair on women was far from taboo. But as fashion developed a more modern and revealing edge, King Camp Gillette, inventor of the disposable razor, realized he could double his profits by doubling his customer base. He made it his goal to bring blades to the hands of the everyday woman, and that he did.

This is when he partnered with popular fashion magazines to advertise the razor as an accessory that was equally as necessary as a hat or pair of gloves, even cleverly marketing these products together. The key to making these ads effective was to make shaving an unquestionable part of femininity — that body hair was unattractive and a symbol of poor hygiene. A hairless woman was a desirable woman.

The goal of these advertisements wasn’t to solve a woman’s dilemma, but to create an entirely new one by preying on the unquenchable longing to be seen as beautiful.

Woman shaving her legs in the bathtub
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

With that said, there are certainly pros to shaving. We all adore that fresh feeling of smooth, bare, post-shower legs that we can flaunt with pride. However, we can’t ignore the lacerations, ingrown hairs, irritation and razor bumps that follow. Because no woman in history has ever been truly hairless, the media sets an unrealistic and impossible standard that we all abide by, despite the negative effects.

The concept that hairlessness equates with womanhood is something we’ve been taught to thicken the pockets of a greedy, 19th-century businessman.

A woman with body hair isn’t unfeminine; in fact, she’s as naturally feminine as it gets.

The decision to shave shouldn’t be left up to him, or society at all. It should be up to you, because your body is no one’s business but your own. Just as men have the option to do as they please with the hair on their chins, I advocate that we allow ourselves the same level of autonomy.

So wear those shorts unapologetically, and show off that sundress you’ve been excited for.

Life’s way too short to worry about a little stubble.

Born and raised in South Florida, Emily Seggio is a first-generation Cuban-American majoring in the Business track of Human Communications. She published her first book at the age of seventeen entitled "Why We Play With Fire" and sold copies internationally. On her days off, you'll find her enveloped in a perception-altering memoir, snuggling with her kitten, Copper, or listening to Hozier songs while painting with watercolors. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll catch her on a late-night drive, seeking an adventure worth writing about. Looking for more? Check out her website: www.emilyseggio.com
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