A story of shaving, or not shaving

by Veronica on December 13, 2013

in Sponsored Posts

This post mentions a product I was gifted at the end, so it’s definitely sponsored, but I’m also going to talk about female beauty ideals and my childhood a little, so if you want to stick around for the stories, I’d like that.

And now that I’ve killed anyone clicking through from an excerpt, let us begin.

I was teased in Primary school for having hairy legs. I have black hair, so it was obvious that any hair on my legs was going to be dark as well, and that offended some of the children at my school. Now bear in mind we’re not talking about teenagers here, we’re talking about 7-12yos. I was teased mercilessly. All because I grew hair.

My mother was anti-shaving. Well, no, that’s not even right. My mother was anti-spending time doing things she didn’t enjoy in order to satisfy a cultural demand she didn’t agree with. Or something. So she didn’t shave her legs 99% of the time, and under her arms ever.

I was twelve the first time I picked up a razor while home alone, and shaved my legs. The razor was blunted, and old, and disposable, but it took the hair off my legs and I was silky smooth for the first time ever.

I loved it.

From then on, while I was in highschool,  I shaved my legs once a week, using disposable razors at my grandmother’s house. That in itself is a long story – my parents’ house didn’t have running water and yada yada. I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s. Which is why I still miss her so badly, especially after this week in hospital with Evie, but I digress.

At highschool however, nothing was said about leg hair, because we all shaved. But OH, the hair on my arms? OFFENSIVE, on so many levels. One boy went so far as to asking why I didn’t wax my arms and shuddering every time he looked at my naked arm flesh. True story.

Jeremy, you were kind of an arsehole.

Because hair on arms isn’t seen as culturally distasteful though, I never bothered to shave my arms, or wax them. But I didn’t think twice about stripping the hair off other parts of my body, which is even stranger when you think about it. Sacred arm hair of the Gods. Or something.

Eventually, I ditched disposable razors, and the angels sung, and prophets wept and everything was very smooth and easy and lovely. Being fifteen is hard enough, without also being fifteen with body hair. You know how this story goes.

Then I met Nathan, and to cut a long story short, we fell in love. And he didn’t care whether I’d shaved or not. Well, he didn’t tell me if he did. I continued to shave my legs regularly because of summer, and dresses, and fulfilling cultural norms.

Nowadays, after two years of marriage, nine years together and three children, I shave my legs very rarely. When I was pregnant with Evelyn, I went nearly the whole pregnancy without shaving, and I didn’t care. Neither did Nathan. It’s just not a thing I feel I need to do anymore.

But, it is still something I like to do on occasion. Sliding into bed with clean sheets and freshly shaven legs is a pleasure.

Women are told over and over how our bodies need to look in order to fulfil the desires of other people. To have your self-worth as a teenager tied up in how much body hair you have is a miserable experience, and hypocritically, while I truly believe everyone should be able to make their own body hair decisions, I was grateful to see that Amy’s hair is soft and fine and light, sparing her the teasing I experienced.

The other day, Nathan was online and there were a group of men belittling a selfie taken by a woman. He said “it took me forever to realise what they were talking about – she hadn’t shaved under her arms.” I’ve desensitived him to the point that he didn’t even notice her underarm hair. That is kind of awesome.

(This is where the product talk starts, so if you hate this kind of thing, skip to the end and tell me about your shaving stories? I’m interested)

Because I shave rarely, and I shave fast, I love my Schick Intuition razor. It’s a funny thing, I actually spent an hour the other day online looking for cheaper heads for it, before finally giving up and accepting that I’d have to pay the usual amount. Then a press release landed in my inbox, letting me know that they had a new product line out.

I love that they have the guidewires so I don’t cut myself, because I used to do that a lot. And I like that the soap is already in the razor head, because I’m lazy and I want to be able to shave fast.

And the coconut/almond oil in the soap smells nice. Summery. I shaved my legs this morning in the shower . It was easy, I don’t have razor burn, and I didn’t cut my kneecaps to pieces.

10/10, would use again.

Schick Intuition


Kim @frogpondsrock December 13, 2013 at 7:43 am

My mother was anti-shaving. Well, no, that’s not even right. My mother was anti-spending time doing things she didn’t enjoy in order to satisfy a cultural demand she didn’t agree with. Or something. So she didn’t shave her legs 99% of the time, and under her arms ever.

Thank you sweetheart you have my motivations in a nutshell. I started shaving my legs in grade 6 because of the teasing. Because black hair. My arm hair was also ridiculed but I had forgotten about that. I am a fast and furious and clumsy shaver and I always cut my ankle so I only shave once a year because of the clean sheet thing and nice shiny ankles with 3/4 pants.(probably ruined by the crocs but oh well.)

But you know the WORST THING EVER, I have a dark moustache and OMG some shallow people are convinced that the world will end because I have a moustache that I refuse to remove because why the fuck should I? *sigh* good post. and I even read the marketing bit xx

carly December 13, 2013 at 7:54 am

The impact of other people on our body image! I had long, dark arm hair and was teased for it. In year 7 (at the tender, impressionable age of 12) I shaved my arms. Big mistake. Big. Huge. And the first time I shaved my legs? I cut a 15cm x 2cm hole in my shin. F*** it hurt! And because I hadn’t told my mum I wanted to shave my legs, I hid the layers of bandages – in Summer – under clothing. So many things to tell my daughter when she’s older (and hopefully wiser).

Eccentricess December 13, 2013 at 8:04 am

My nickname in highschool was gorilla. Blonde hair, but my celtic heritage showed up with black and thick leg hair!
I refused to shave for the same reasons that Kim does. Why should I shave when it was only to fulfill the criteria set by this century and culture’s fashion?
However, I do like a man to have a shaven face. And Hubby does like a woman to have shaved legs. On that basis, I am happy to shave as we are mutually giving to the other. Plus, the leg hair looks really silly when it pokes through the lycra pants I wear to do trapeze!

Caroline December 13, 2013 at 11:01 am

I too suffered the teasing at high school because of dark hair and that’s when I started shaving.
Gotta admit now I hardly shave over winter and really only shave over summer if I’m going to wear a tank top or shorts or dress.
Amanda Palmer wrote a great post on shaving awhile back. It was great. wish i could find it so I could link it up

Dorothy December 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I didn’t even know shaving was a thing for women until I arrived in Australia. And even then it took me a few years to catch on. My most embarrassing moment was when my father gave me an electric lady shaver for Christmas, so I would stop wrecking his razors. True story.

Happy Elf Mom December 13, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I LOVE YOU!!!! You know, as an American a million years ago in an Australian school, my mother made me wear bras and shave my legs. I was 12. The kids teased me because I didn’t have “skivvies” and pinched my legs because they looked like I was wearing stockings, having no hair like that. LOTS of girls back then kept their leg hair, and I went to a snooty-snooty school.

Guess the American culture caught up with ya. Sorry for my part in that. ((hug))

river December 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm

I don’t remember when I first shaved my legs, spending most of my childhood on the beach meant my already light hair was bleached almost invisible and I have hardly any arm or leg hair anyway. I began shaving my underarms at 17-18 I think, after I’d moved to live with mum, before that it hadn’t occurred to me. My dad had never mentioned anything like that, neither did my mum, I didn’t even know about deodorant, mum never mentioned it, I learned about it because the girls in that house learned from their friends at school and had spray cans of the stuff. It still didn’t occur to me that I should be using it too until an older woman at work took me aside and gave me a little talk. I was mortified, why hadn’t my mum taught me this? I didn’t say anything to mum, but I did start shaving my underarms and using deodorant then. Now, I shave my underarms when they need it which is not so often and my legs only in summer and only if I’m going to be wearing shorts into the city.

Krista Petrauskas December 14, 2013 at 2:02 am

You are in good company, my daughter buys that one.
She works in an information centre, and is a direct face to the public, job dress code, and a clean, sleek, groomed look, is it.
She worked out the shave or not to shave dilemma, (very black hair), all out on her own, and between her peer group – stole my razor, or her father’s. Year 6-7.
“Mum can you get more razor’s next shop” and, ” I have run out of Lynx, again”
My shaving story is too long. Horses for courses.
Going to boarding school, you soon catch on, fast. Shave.
My mother and sister, ( 6 years difference) rounded on me, when I was 11 0r 12 years old, and caught shaving, – the hypocrites,
they just got a shock that I had suddenly, grown up.
I had to convince my mother that I needed a bra, and she only relented because of some school do, in which we had to buy a special dress and the woman took her side – your daughter could do with a bra- the relief for me, was palpable. (Year 8).
A bit strange, because I grew up in New Guinea, at a time before the indigenous women and girls wore bras and covered up clothing.
Going to Art School, at 17 – 18, at that age, you kind of want to be arty and sexy and skimpy Indian clothes with no bra looked sexier without black hair, tufting out.
Living in an Ashram you let it all hang out while your head was in the clouds, and your mind on your navel.
Non attachment to personal appearance (ego) is the practice.
A hippie commune solved it all, and it was a relief not to bother – different form of sexy.
Having to work and as a teacher, highlighted it all over again, and having to hold some sort of formality, especially teaching boys.
Students can be very cruelly, judgemental about a teacher’s appearance
You seem to have more cred if the boys you taught were not distracted by your hairiness. It puts you more in a position of power, if the students you taught had nothing to pounce on; it was better for one, to circumvent, the whole hairy problem, and not give any undermining, ammunition, nor to give your student audience, any excuse to find fault with your appearance, or a reason to doubt your authority, your authority seemed stronger, if you didn’t have black hair peeping out anywhere.
The men on staff were no different to the boys you taught.
Loved winter, summer was a pain.
Sheer bliss now, don’t care, except occasionally, when particular social functions arise or going to the swimming pool, then I bother.
Somehow, black arm hair, underarm hair, leg and fanny hair tufting out all over, in a swimming costume is confronting and shocking – but naked, it seems perfectly fine, especially on nude beaches.
I guess it is situational.

Laura Rose December 14, 2013 at 5:25 am

I have extremely light and thin leg hair, which I shave once or twice in the summer, it’s a pain in the ass to do it more often than that and I can’t be bothered. My underarm hair, though, I shave twice a week, or so, because I sweat a lot, and it’s just not comfortable otherwise.

A story about shaving my legs though: When I was 14 or so my father told me that I needed to “mow the lawn, which I found extremely offensive. Of course, this is the same man who used to check to make sure I was wearing a bra and tried to enforce daily showers.

Bec December 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I think I was about 11 when I first shave my legs. I suppose my mother found out when she came into the bathroom one time and I was shaving. She just told me I needed to be careful, and then the next time I cut myself so badly I still have the scar. Heh.

Now I shave a bit more often in summer than in winter, when I hardly shave at all. That’s my legs, though. I love having cleanly shaven armpits… I do them all year round, more frequently in summer. I find I sweat less and smell less with less hair there.

I enjoyed reading your story, and the story of others. Society’s expectations–and those of our parents and family–really have such an impact, and often we barely stop to think about it.

Bec December 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Oh, and welcome home! I hope things go very smoothly with the eating from now on.

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