Let it go, women can let it grow

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Photo Credit: Alexandra Vanderhider | Daily Texan Staff

Hide your razors and hide your shaving cream. It’s No Shave November — a whole month without shaving, waxing or any other form of body hair removal. Everyone is encouraged to participate, but for women, it can be a bit of a challenge. For women, body hair is considered  taboo, and hair removal is the norm for females. This month and in general, women have the right to grow out their body hair if they want to and not be criticized for it. Individuals who are against women not shaving should learn to be more accepting and realize it’s not a huge deal.

My mom taught me how to shave when I was going into sixth grade. That’s when all my female friends started shaving their legs and armpits, too. Women, and some men, shave for multiple reasons. Body hair can make them feel dirty, or they just might not like the way it feels.

However, from 2013 to 2016, the percentage of women who shave their armpit hair decreased from 95 percent to 77 percent, and the percentage of women who shave their leg hair decreased from 92 percent to 85 percent. These numbers are changing, but women who keep their body hair still receive negative comments.

Personally, I do shave the majority of my body hair, but this November, I’m experimenting and not shaving my armpits. When I told my friends and family this, their reaction was not as supportive as I wished it to be. I went around campus asking students about their opinions on women’s body hair and whether it should be shaved or not. Unfortunately, their responses didn’t surprise me.

“These women at the very least will demand our respect by going against such a taboo practice,” exercise science junior Carter Tomsu said. “I’m not sure why it is more accepted by society for women to shave their armpits and legs, but I can confidently say that most men are not as attracted to women with unshaved armpits and hairy legs.”

Some responses from male students were nicer than others, but overall, most said they prefer women who do shave.

“A girl who shaves her legs and armpits shows that she’s clean and feminine,” economics freshman John Gutierrez said. “I would definitely consider it a positive thing that most girls should do.”

On the other hand, the majority of the responses I got from women were supportive and understanding.

“Women who do not shave their legs and armpit hair are extremely brave,” sociology freshman Madeline Diamont said. “Many people despise them, frown upon them and question their hygiene, but men are never condemned for it. To all the women with hairy armpits and legs: Rock on.”

The way a woman displays her body is her business. She shouldn’t have to change just because people disapprove or think it looks dirty. Men and women who are against not shaving should try to be more accepting — it’s not your body. Hair shouldn’t change the way you look at someone, even if it’s not normal to you. Women on campus: This November, I challenge you to try it. If you’ve never gone without shaving before, see what it’s like, and if you end up enjoying the experience, live that lifestyle. No Shave November is a time to jump out of your comfort zone and push away society’s boundaries. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed — it’s your life.

Pape is a journalism freshman from San Antonio.