I read an article recently that had a lot to say, in a very clearly opinionated way, about why women shouldn't shave their nether regions. Apparently, there are serious consequences to shaving "down there"–like red bumps and friction-burn and even decreased sex appeal.
Clearly this article was written by someone who appreciates the hirsute, which is all well and good. But to come out and say: "We have hair there for a reason, and it should stay there!" We have fingernails, too. Should we never cut those, either?
I'll come right out and say that I'm biased. I'm completely shaved. Bald as a baby. I started shaving ten years ago, and haven't stopped since. I enjoy shaving. (Well, I enjoy being bare!) I don't mind nor am I saying that "au naturale" is a bad thing. Not at all. I love females in all shapes, sizes, and textures. Equal opportunity lover, that's me. Women are beautiful, however they come... (every pun intended there!)
But what is this "Real women don't shave!" nonsense all about? The moral judgment there is enormous and completely unnecessary. Last time I checked, not every man had facial hair. They choose to shave–or not–depending on their personal tastes. I didn't see any articles out there on "Real Men Don't Shave!" — at least, not outside of the Amish or Orthodox communities, and I don't think I'll be seeing their views on the Internet any time soon.
So men can wear goatees or full beards or shave twice a day - and no one talks about the "shoulds." It's all about "want." Men do what they want, according to their preference. The topic of women's pubic hair, though, that's apparently up for debate. Discussions rage all over the Internet whether a woman should or shouldn't have the option of a landing strip, a full triangle, or shaving bare. Holy double standard, Batman!
Not only that, but men have actually started trimming or shaving (or waxing, or using depilatory cream on) their nether regions, too. But I don't hear the same debate going on about men shaving that I do about women. Who gets to say if I go hairless or hairy? Frankly, I do. No one else – not my husband, not my culture, and certainly not some judgmental Internet article.
I shave because I love the feeling of being shaved – I love the increased sensation, the baby soft feel of my vulva, the extra friction created, the extra wetness. Hair down there irritates me, in more ways than one. I want to shave, so I shave. It has nothing to do with cultural fashion mandates. It has to do with what I want, what my preference and desires are.
An older friend of mine expressed surprise when she found out I shaved "down there." (We were at the gym at the time.) She informed me, rather wryly, "Just wait until you're my age. The hair down there just starts falling out on its own!" Funny, that our cultural judgment is that shaving bald makes a woman look "pre-pubescent," when, in fact, we could equally judge that it makes her look "old" instead!
I think we need to have a little more acceptance and a whole lot less judgment when it comes to the women's bodies. And what we need more of, a bunch more of, is love when it comes to the feminine form, whether we're talking about weight or breast size or the care and feeding of the kitty. We need a lot less "shoulds" and a lot more "wants." Desire itself should be the only thing driving the decision to go hairless or hirsute or something in between.
So, if a woman wants to give herself a Sinead O'Connor cut, I say, yes!
If a woman wants to let her pubic hair grow like Cousin It, I say, yes!
In fact, I think that's the root (ha, pun intended) of the whole debate. There really shouldn't be a debate at all–and that's the only "should" we should be throwing around. I may be fashionably bare, but I don't do it because I want to be fashionable. I also don't defiantly not shave because I want to make a fashion statement. That's just playing the game.
I do what I want to do. If more people would, fashion would have a lot less influence over our perceptions. So say "yes" to what you want, when it comes to your body. Let's all say "yes!" a whole lot more... to ourselves, and to each other.
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