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What Happened When I Stopped Shaving My Legs

There’s nothing wrong with shaving, but it shouldn’t be an obligation

I still remember shaving for the first time. I was eleven years old. My mother, somewhat reluctantly, taught me how it’s done. I say ‘reluctantly’ because my hairs had been growing for a while but she hadn’t intervened — until one day I got invited to a pool party.

Up until the age of eleven, I was a home-educated kid; I’d grown up in a nice little bubble. Strangely enough, when long dark hairs started to grow on my armpits, I didn’t instantly hate them and feel like they needed to be exterminated. In fact, I don’t think I even noticed or cared; I wasn’t overly interested in my body back then.

So now my mother faced a moral dilemma. She knew I was blissfully ignorant about the fact that girls aren’t supposed to be hairy. Yet if she let me go to the pool party without shaving, there was a strong possibility that I would be made fun of and potentially traumatized for life. Would she stick to her feminist ideals or tell me to shave? She chose the latter.

Once I’d been exposed to the world of shaving, I couldn’t simply revert back to my former state of ignorance. I now knew that body hair was bad, and that I had to get rid of it.

A few months later, as I was getting out of the bath, I looked down at my legs. For the first time, I noticed how the water stuck to my legs hairs and made them look more pronounced. I felt horrified. Impulsively, I grabbed my new razor and shaved off all those disgusting hairs that I had learned to be ashamed of.

‘My legs are so hairy,’ I later complained to my mother.

She told me not to be silly; my leg hairs were blonde. Then she pleaded with me not to shave them, saying that this would make them grow back darker and that she wished she’d never shaved her own legs. But it was too late. Now I’d seen the result of smoothly shaven legs once, I couldn’t go back to being hairy again.

Next, it was my stomach. I’d felt self-conscious over my ‘snail trail’ for a while, but had held back from doing anything about it because I was scared it would get even worse. Then one day, when…

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