Why I Don't Shave My Legs

I started questioning why I spend so much time removing something so natural. Surely if we weren't supposed to have hair on our legs, or anywhere for that matter, it would not be there in the first place? 

So why do we spend so much money, energy and time doing so? And more importantly; why did I do it? I started removing my leg hair pretty early because I had long, dark hairs and I felt ashamed. I felt like there was something wrong with me when I had hair on my legs. It was engraved in me and my mental state was literally that if I did not have smooth legs then I would not be the perfect woman - and I felt it was my mission to be exactly that. To do everything in my power to be a 'real woman'.

Shaving my legs became a symbol of perfection. I could not go outside with bare legs and have even 2 mm leg hair. It. Needed. To. Be. Gone. Or else I would wear long leggings. I remember an incredibly hot day where I was not able to shave my legs so I wore long, thick leggings because I had about 4-5 mm leg hair. I was dying of heat but I could not get myself to wear shorts. How crazy is that?

Something was definitely messed up. I know that that is not every woman's mindset around having leg hair but it was mine for over 10 years and I no longer wanted that. It was an oppressing prison I needed to get out of to better my state of mind.

We live in a world where hair on a woman's leg is so 'wrong' and forbidden that even hair removing commercials features no hair at all. Hair on the legs of a woman is considered so disgusting that I have seen women sharing a photo of their leg hairs and received rape threats for not removing it. I get that this is not every man's view on it but when I stopped to really think about that I was stunned. Because of leg hair??

So I started questioning why I did it; I did it because of an illusion that it would make me perfect. An illusion run by society's beauty standards of what is expected of women. When I started to question this action that filled so much inside I actually realized that I had no issue with my hair, anywhere. In fact, when I started growing it out I started liking it. I had never seen my body in it's completely natural state and it felt liberating to let myself grow.

I wanted to figure out how we ended up here where women were shamed for their body hair.

Do you know why women started shaving their legs? Around the 20's the razor companies wanted to make more money but how could they do that? Almost every man was already a customer buying their products so what then? Women. How could they make women their costumers? Most women did not have any facial hair so they choose armpits (around 1915 when sleeveless dresses appeared) and later legs (when short dresses made its appearance). Up until that point women's leg hair were not on anyone's mind - The hair was considered completely natural, in fact it was not considered at all, it was just there. But when the first magazines were released with hair free legs (and armpits) on women with articles stating that the hair was wrong, it was everywhere, women's leg hair was now wrong and no longer a normal part of a woman's body.

And that is a reason why I stopped. It is nothing other than a way to make money. Today there is an entire industry on hair removal and I do not want to contribute to that so I stopped. Because it was so engraved in my mind it has been quite the journey and I still feel insecure about it. But I have also gained so much since letting the hair grow. It is liberating because:

It is my choice. It feel like I took the power back. I do not feel the pressure to chase something I deep down don't agree with. I am not saying that you cannot be body positive or love yourself if you shave your legs - because you definitely can. I am saying that it should be your choice and yours alone. You should not feel obligated or pressured to do anything. And I have made a promise to myself that I will not do anything because of anyone else other than me. And that included my body hair.

It is like a heavy burden removed from my shoulders. I am no longer doing something because I feel required to do so. When I stopped spending so much time and energy on something that did not better my mental health, something that did the exact opposite, I felt a huge burden lifted from my shoulders. I felt free from expectations both from myself but mostly from society standards.

I am at peace with my body. Like many other people I have struggled with my body image and how I treat and think about it. Stopping something I did not want to do has improved my negative body image by miles. Again, I am not saying that if you shave your legs, you are not able to love yourself. Because you are. But I did not and therefore doing what I want to do, or rather stopping something I did not want to do has led me to peace with my body.

I am more relaxed in my body. I still sometimes get caught in the 'oh no I have hair on my legs' now and then and I am working on removing that completely but overall I feel so relaxed in my body. I feel happier within my own skin and how it looks. I have removed the constant stress of having to always, always, always shave which has left me relaxed and removed so much angst.

I save time, energy and money. I no longer spend energy thinking about buying hair removal products. I no longer spend money buying the products. I no longer spend time or energy removing the hair. It is incredible how much time I have gained from removing the simple act of shaving. I did not think it took that long when I did it on a regular basis but then I stopped and wow I have shaved ( ;-) ) 15-20 minutes off my shower routine and I don't have to spend time on buying products. I also avoid razor burns, ingrown hair, prickly legs when it grows out and painful cuts. Things I absolutely hated about shaving legs and always made me wait a bit longer to shave.

Ultimately, I stopped shaving because I did not want to do it any longer. I have let go of so much anxiety and gained so much confidence, self love and acceptance for my body. I am not saying that you should do the same, to stop shaving but I am asking you to question why you do so. Keep questioning why until you are down to the core of the reason. Keep asking until can't get any longer. For me it went something along the lines of:

Why do I shave my legs? My immediate response is: because I like soft legs and running my fingers up my smooth legs.

But when I really think about it; I don't know, other than the expectations of smooth legs and everything revolving around the standards of woman's body hair. It is really because I feel like I have to. A burden.

Why do I feel like I have to? Because I am a woman and that is something we need to do.

Why do we need to do it? Because it is normal to do it.

Why is it normal? Because body hair on a woman is considered disgusting, gross and unhygienic. Because it is not feminine to not do so.

Why? Do I think so? No, not at all actually.

So why, do I do it? I don't know, I don't really want to.

So I stopped. Because when it came down to it the only reason I did it was because I felt like I needed to, otherwise I would not be a 'real' woman but I have come to find that that is not true. Shaving your legs do not make you any more or any less of a woman just like not shaving your legs do not make you any less or more of a woman.