I know, I know, what does body hair have to do with veganism??! As intertwined as veganism and feminism are, I’ll leave that comparison up to your imagination. There are so many important causes worth fighting for, no activist is limited to just one branch! Reading about the comparison between feminism and veganism is actually what made me go from pescetarian (like a vegetarian, but also eats fish) to vegan, but I’ll save that blog post for another day!
A year ago today I decided to stop shaving my legs and underarms, and I have never felt so free. Within the past two years I’ve been dissecting feminism farther than my previously social-acceptance-craving-yet-patriarchy-questioning self was willing to dig into. After contemplative inner-debates, I realized no matter how much I wanted to convince myself I was shaving for the feeling of sweatpants after freshly shaved legs, I took note of why I felt so fearful of something as trivial as leg hair in comparison to men. I went from considering the hairy-legged feminists “the ones who took it too far,” to wishing I had the guts to be the woman who let her braid-able leg hairs fly free, to becoming the fearlessly hairy creature nature intended me to be. And trust me, my thick black Indian hair ain’t playin’! After the initial hesitancy and blatant fear of my new furry coat (the cruelty-free kind) taking bloom, my wonder and worry faded. My legs were no longer a spectacle to my own eyes, no longer a social experiment within my environment and towards myself. On certain days I looked onto my legs in admiration of the mental and physical hurdles it took for me to reach that point (shorts, shorts in public, etc 😉 ), but for the most part, my legs became exactly what they were supposed to be: a way of transportation and balance, and nothing more.
But beyond just defeating the patriarchy one leg-hair-braid at a time, it’s easy to forget in the aesthetics of it all that body hair does exist for a reason. It has decreased over time due to humans creating heat out of nothing (space heaters, parkas, etc), but there are still positive contributions our tiny hairs make to our health! They aid our body’s sweat-cooling response, protect our bodies from being fully exposed to sunlight, act as a layer of comfort to keep your skin from burning when rubbing all up against your other skin (think armpits) and protect against minor abrasions. As for the other hairs that receive all our lovin’, eyebrows and eyelashes exist with the purpose of shielding our eyes from sweat, rain, and any day-to-day debris out of our eyes. Who knew hair was so important?
So if it’s your thing, let your leg hair glisten and blow in the wind – or maybe just your head hair, whatever you’re feelin’! Our bodies were made to be functional machines we exist in, so when it comes to strands of dead cells gracing your body, you’ve got nothing to fear!
Signing off for the Sentient,