I’ve been growing body hair underneath my arms and between my legs since I was in second grade. It was pretty early to grow pubic hair, so my mom wiped some Nair on my pits and I sat with my arms up on the couch while the smell burned my eyes and melted the stubble off before anyone could see.
Since then, I’ve shaved my underarms in the shower every day or three, especially if there was a big event coming up or I was “seeing” someone. In high school, I’d hack away at my lady bits a few times a week, attempting to reach every nook and cranny of my English muffin with a 2-blade razor.
On top of all that, I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which often leads to excessive facial hair growth in women. For me, that means if I don’t shave my neck and chest daily or get my sideburns waxed every month, I look like a female version of Hugh Jackman in Wolverine.
The reality of it all is, being a modern hairy lady can suck.
When you choose to conform, that is.
There are so many expectations ingrained into our minds on the acceptability of pubic hair or not shaving your armpits. We’re conditioned to be self-conscious about the natural state of our body, so much that we go out of our way to spend good money on razors and conform out of fear of not fitting in. Or not getting laid.
And it’s been that way for 100 years.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with shaving your body hair, as there is a level of comfort instilled in shaving — we’ve gotten more comfortable with altering the appearance of our bodies than we are in our natural state.
With that being said, I encourage you to experiment with your natural physical appearance, even if it’s just for the winter months or when you’re single. Do it however and whenever would make you most comfortable.
After starting college and reaching that pinnacle of early-twenties self-exploration, I lost interest in shaving my body hair — save my neckbeard, as it’s pretty bad.
I started with not shaving my junk. That was pretty easy. I hated the feeling of shaving it anyways, as I thought it wouldn’t The only struggle was at the beach and constantly looking down to tuck in some stray hairs.
I eventually moved on to not shaving my pits, which started as just forgetting to do it (but probably also because I was depressed, not gonna lie). After a month of watching the bulbs bloom, I decided to leave it indefinitely.
I was partially expecting some kind of Julia Roberts-esque life discovery, looking down and seeing my billowing pit hair and having an emotional breakthrough about how to truly love myself.
Instead, I just got deodorant stuck in my underarm mane and constantly played with it when I was bored.
Deciding to grow out your body hair is not an easy decision to make for various reasons: you don’t know how it’ll look, it’s a social taboo depending on who you’re with, and your mom will most definitely have something to say about it — your armpits, that is.
As a hairy woman, I’ve done the deed for you and here’s what I have to say about the experience.
Pros of Not Shaving
1. You’re all natural, baby.
It’s pretty cool to see your natural self in a way that you’ve maybe never seen before.
2. Old men at the gym won’t stare at you as much.
Creepy old man checking you out since you’re the only chick in the weight room? Stick those arms up and I can almost guarantee he will not look at you again.
3. It didn’t affect my sex life.
I was worried that if anyone saw my hairy pits, they’d be immediately turned off and not want to be anywhere around, on, or in me. It might’ve been that they were incredibly open to the idea of body hair or just had low standards for physicality, but nothing was ever said about my hair under there.
View this post on Instagram
I don't typically post close ups, as I normally like to have my body hair just "be there" as part of a larger image, as part of a whole body (except when it's dyed, that can be a fun added element that invites focus), but I thought I would post some to encourage other women as part of my campaign for normalizing female body hair. Some people (of all genders) don't like it, on themselves or their partners, and that's totally fine too, it's a preference and bald vs hairy are two different looks, but the immense pressure on women to be totally hairless at all times or else they ARE NOT beautiful is a harmful mindset that needs to die out. Preferences or not, not having it be your cup of tea doesn't mean women deserve shame for it. More about this topic coming to my blog soon. . #armpithair #armpithairdontcare #femalebodyhair #bodypositive #naturalwomen #bodyhair #bodyhairpositivity #bodypositive #naturalwoman #januhairy #noshave #noshavewomen #normalize #normalizebodyhair #hairy #hairywomen #hairyarmpits #effyourbeautystandards #fuckyourbeautystandards
4. It helps you “weed out the trash.”
And by trash, I mean men. Once upon a time, I asked a guy if he would reciprocate, and he said “I don’t like it when it’s hairy.” and I never talked to him again. I ended up finding someone better. And my pubes and I lived happily ever after. The end.
Cons of Not Shaving
1. You might be a little self-conscious.
I enjoyed growing out my pit hair because it forced me to accept my body’s natural state in all it’s sprouting glory. However, I’ve never grown out my pit hair ever before and looking down when stretching or relaxing and seeing the hairs shooting out was a little off-putting sometimes.
2. Your conservative family will hate it.
They’ll ask you about your “radical feminism” and say they don’t mind it, but then ask you things like “so if you went to the beach where a lot of hot guys would be, would you shave them then?” (TBH, this could also be listed as a Pro.)
3. Deodorant sucks.
Deodorant will get stuck in your pit hair, and your pit hair will get stuck in your deodorant. Shit gets itchy, too.
4. Pulling out a tampon is a whole new battle.
There’s a special kind of pain that occurs when your pubes get enclosed between your fingers while pulling out a tampon. To sum it up in a white card from Cards Against Humanity, it feels like using teeth.
I eventually shaved my pits again because I missed that summertime feeling of looking in the mirror and seeing my hairless body and feeling like a sexy fair-skinned cherub. It also got irritating because I used stick deodorant sometimes twice a day (in the morning and before the gym), which made it look like chunky pit dandruff.
The first week, I was scratching my naked pits like an ape because they were so itchy, but after that, all returned to the prickly normal that I had gotten used to since I was 10 years old.
Sure, my life wasn’t completely altered in a pube-based euphoria. I wouldn’t even go as far as saying that it had a noticeable impact on my life. Which is exactly why I’m encouraging you to try embracing your natural body.
It didn’t negatively impact anything major in my life: my self-esteem, my workout routines, my intimacy, my ability to take a half decent selfie — nothing.
So that’s why I’m encouraging you to try it. Even for a few weeks or a month — maybe you’ll be like me and just get itchy, but maybe it’ll help you find comfort in who you are as a natural-born human lady.