Yes, I do realize November ended quite a while ago. Unfortunately, December is the busiest and stressful month of the year for me, so, although I had already begun formulating this post in my mind, I had never gotten around to typing it. For the first time, I fully participated in No Shave November this year. It was an interesting experience that taught me many things about myself, similar to the no makeup challenge. Oddly, I have never been self-conscious about growing my leg hair, but my armpit hair is a different story, even though there is much less of it.
I think part of this insecurity took root in 7th grade. I hadn’t shaved my pits in at least two days, and when I lifted my arms, hair was visible. As I raised my hand to answer a question in social studies, a boy stared at me in disgust. Anxiously, I asked him what was wrong. He continued to stare, then whispered in disgust, “Hair…you have HAIR!” I awkwardly tried to conceal my armpit while still raising my hand. Although this is a comical story now, at the time it was horrifying. Since that moment, I was always self-conscious about that one random part of my body.
No Shave November helped my conquer this insecurity. At first, I felt a bit anxious about it, but after a while, I was showing up to the gym in a tank top with zero worries. Why should I worry, if it’s only natural? My boyfriend helped, actually being supportive. I tried to grow my hair longer than his in a playful competition (it didn’t happen). I did not realize how lucky I am until I had a friend tell me she was jealous since her boyfriend required her to shave every few days.
Through this experiment, I found myself more comfortable with my body in general. I learned that the best way for me to personally conquer my insecurities is to embrace them. Also, I realized how ridiculous it is that any part of society requires a woman to shave in order to be considered beautiful. I’m not saying that I believe women should never shave because it only benefits the patriarchy, but that women should not be ashamed of their natural hair. Shave because you want to, not because you feel obligated to. If you haven’t in a while, there is no reason to be insecure.
I have friends who felt like bad feminists for not doing No Shave November. This is dumb! It is a personal experiment. Just like you are not obligated to shave regularly, you are not obligated to try this. I would suggest doing a period without shaving if body hair is an insecurity of yours, but choosing not to would not make you any less of a supporter of self-confidence.