Monday, November 25, 2013


In case you've been living in a cave and haven't noticed, it's NoShavember, also known as Movember, during which men proudly sport mustaches (Movember) or allow all their facial hair to grow unchecked (NoShavember) (If you've been living in a cave, this is probably every month for you, so I don't blame you for not noticing). Ostensibly, this is done to raise awareness of various forms of cancer*, but in practice, I think it is more of an excuse to gleefully neglect shaving for a month and/or prove one's manliness by sprouting a bush on one's jaw, and the cancer card is just convenient to reach for when someone criticizes it.

My boyfriend is an avid participant in this sport cause, despite his less than stellar ability to grow facial hair. I have to say that in the last week of the month, he still resembles nothing so much as a dog with the mange. When he was just starting to look scruffy in the first week of the contest campaign, I told him, "I'm going to stop shaving for November, too!"

His response was, "NO!" Imagine the most horrified no a person could utter—the kind of no you might say if I offered to cut off your finger—and that's the no that came out of his mouth. If my boyfriend has one fault, it's that he has very parochial views on female beauty...but to his credit, he didn't break up with me when I did it anyway.

My reasons for refusing to shave in November are not so much based on cancer awareness (as I feel that not shaving is a kind of misguided way to support a cause, especially when there's no incentive to learn more about the disease or donate to research efforts or whatever, but since I brought it up, here's the Movember Foundation's donate page), and it's certainly not out of a spirit of competition (the last thing I want is to be known for having copious body hair), but it's pure and simple because of that vehement "NO!"

What do you mean, no? Don't I have a right to choose whether I shave or not? You bet I do, and I'm not going to!

It annoys me that society as a whole is so ardently opposed to body hair on women. It's ridiculous that hair on our legs is considered "gross" (like, on a par with "unsanitary") while the same stuff on men's legs is considered OK. And the same stuff on our heads is considered required (god forbid a woman ever shave her head—the world even freaks out every time a star gets a pixie cut).

This is largely a futile gesture, because ever since I've laid off the razor, I've been careful to keep my legs and armpits covered up. If I end up going to a beachy locale for Thanksgiving (which right now is a possibility), I will shave it all off, even though November won't have ended. Even though I want to be free to make the choice not to shave, the societal pressure is still too much for me. And that kind of sucks.

I hope that some day the rest of the world will realize how stupid their hair phobia is. And I enthusiastically applaud all the women brave enough to give it their own dose of aversion therapy. Maybe my little blog post will help.

Until then, I will proudly stride onto the beach with my unnaturally hairless legs and armpits, and wait in cowardice for the tides of popular opinion to change.

*At some point during the last month, I know I saw a website, no doubt left open by my boyfriend, stating that growing hair is a way to remind us of the hair that people lose when fighting cancer of any form, but I can't find that now. The Movember Foundation was started to raise awareness of testicular cancer.