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Feminism and the act of not shaving

Updated on July 2, 2015

Now this is a tough one because it's not one that I fully understand. How is the act of not shaving one's legs or armpits related to feminism?

Many women avoid the razor as they do not believe that they should be trying to achieve something which is in line with a notion of femininity, something which is a construct of a patriarchal society. Many women, on the other hand believe that shaving one's legs and armpits really has nothing at all to do with feminism and everything to do with taking care of oneself and wanting to look one's best.


Many feminists would argue that not shaving is a deliberate form of activism, going against patriarchy and a social idea about how a woman should look, and I would say more power to them. An image of a woman with unshaven armpits is a very strong image that does oppose the images of smooth-skinned skinny models and celebrities that really have nothing to do with real women. On the other hand some women do aspire to this level of attractiveness and there is also nothing wrong with that.

Then there's the notion of wanting to be natural, as let us not forget that adult women naturally have hair under their arms and on their legs, so why remove it? There is also a cultural standpoint to this argument against shaving as well, as many cultures contain women who do not shave and thus naturally have hair under their arms and on their legs.

It is an attention grabber, and I'm sure that that is why many female celebrities join in, and display the hair under their arms to cause a stir, although I'm sure that there are many who genuinely don't care and wish to show themselves to be feminists by this often controversial form of feminist activism.

It's quite a conundrum and many feminists struggle with this choice. But ultimately, that is exactly what it is – a choice, and feminism is everything to do with a woman's right to choose. So if you feel like shaving or you don't it really is up to you. Don't let anti-feminists tell you that you have to shave, and don't let feminists tell you that you shouldn't. Your body is your own to with what you wish, so hairy or smooth, you go girl!

What do you think, is armpit and leg hair a feminist issue?

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