Lets talk about body hair

Fair warning. This post will feature opinions and thoughts. Watch out!

shaving

Lets talk about shaving. It is time consuming, tedious, expensive, and kind of a pain. Don’t get me wrong. I love the result. Smooth, hair-less skin: yes! But here is the thing. It doesn’t always end up smooth. It is bumby, itchy, irritated and even painful. OUCH!

So why do we put ourselves through it? When did we decide that shaving is a must. Well, let me tell you! It is pretty crazy.

Underarms: Back in 1915 Harper’s Bazaar, an upscale magazine, featured an ad with a woman scantily clad in a sleeveless, slip-like dress with both arms above her head. WHAT?!?! I know that is pretty wild. Well, back then women were expected to be covered. Modesty was valued and the style was to wear long dresses and long sleeves to uphold that value.

Harper's Bazaar ad

click image for source

That is why this advertisement was such a big deal. Not only did it use the taboo term “underarm” but it also featured a lady in next to nothing. This ad started a campaign aimed at selling women clothing that was more revealing while also selling them the hair removal products they would need to removal that “objectionable hair”.

From an advertising campaign perspective it was genius. Tell women they need to wear these revealing fashions and that they had to shave their body hair in order to do so. If they didn’t they were gross. Isn’t it strange to think that days before the ad above ran women never thought of underarm hair as a problem. The power of advertising is aparent from this single example.

So a campaign was deployed and women were continuously told that in order to keep trendy they had to shave and wear more revealing clothing. The idea slowly trickled down through the middle class and in 1922 the Sears Roebuck catalog started selling razors and sleeveless dresses. So that is shaving your underarms. When did shaving your legs gain popularity?

fashion timeline

click image for source

Women were a little slower to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to shaving their legs. If you think about it the style was constantly changing. Hemlines became short and long again so women had a hard time justifying the need for shaving their legs. A big spark for the shaving your legs movement would be, in part, to the popularity of the pin up girl in World War II, and more specifically, the popularity of Betty Grable. Again, fashion dictated the need for shaved legs.

So there you have it. The history of shaving. I want to make it a point now to say that I want people to do what they want when it comes to shaving. Shave or don’t shave. That is up to you! Some people prefer to do it daily while others, like myself, do it once a week or once a month (depending on the time of year). Again, it is all a personal decision. Not too long ago shaving wasn’t even on our radars!

What I think is most important is for us not to look down on each other for their decisions. Don’t look at someone with disgust because they choose to not shave their underarms or legs and also don’t judge someone for shaving daily. We are aloud to love and do what we want to our own bodies. If it makes you happy then that is all that truly matters!

Be you and let others be them.

Information for this post was taken from this article.

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Nothing To Cover Up

In high school I didn’t wear too much makeup. It just seemed like a lot of work. When I went off to college I wore it even less. It wasn’t until senior year until I began wearing it on a regular basis. See, I had gained weight and wasn’t feeling as confident as I once did.

The 15-20lb weight gain had me questioning myself. I didn’t feel pretty without mascara. I felt like my usual self wasn’t good enough unless it was caked with makeup. I began wearing eyeliner and mascara everyday. It became my security blanket. I knew that as long as I had my trusty eyeliner pen and mascara tube I could do anything.

I can’t remember the specific day but I do remember the feeling. That realization that I didn’t feel pretty without makeup. That I didn’t feel confident without my blanket. I was telling friends that they were beautiful no matter what but when I looked at myself in the mirror I couldn’t tell the same to myself.

That was when I decided to stop wearing makeup everyday. I decided that I needed to learn to love myself, regardless of my size. If giving up makeup was my way to self-confidence then I was taking that leap.

no makeup and makeup

So I stopped. At first people told me I looked tired. That hurt. But I kept doing it. I knew that I wasn’t doing it for their approval. I was doing it for myself.

It is because of this change that I now feel more confident and don’t have to spend as much time getting ready in the morning, which is an added bonus. As you can probably tell, I do still wear makeup from time to time and for special occasions. It is okay for me to want to fancy it up when I feel like it; I just didn’t want to become reliant. I only want to rely on myself to feel beautiful.

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Catcalling is not a compliment

111014 Public space

I am writing this while waiting at AT&T. Walking into the store, through the mall parking lot, I saw some men walking through a row of cars towards me. I looked forward. I have been conditioned to look forward, walk with purpose. Don’t make eye contact.

I hear them yell after me, “Hey, how you doin’? You are attractive. I think you dropped something.”

I walked forward. I didn’t look their way. The last time I acknowledged a man’s gaze in a parking lot he exposed himself to me. I was traumatized.
So I walked straight. I thought about yelling at them but I couldn’t muster up the strength. I was alone and, unfortunately, I fear for my safety constantly. If I talk back, what will they do? Two big guys against me. I fear for my safety.

Now I am waiting in the store and feel dirty. I feel unclean. Street harassment is not a compliment. “Hollering” at me does not make me feel pretty. I do not take it as a compliment and I’m sure most women don’t. The topic of street harassment has become a topic in the mainstream. More and more people are speaking up and saying enough is enough.

This video, along with many other videos and photo campaigns, have opened a dialogue about the topic.

The woman in the above video, Shoshana B. Roberts, is now receiving threats for her participation in the video. She doesn’t feel safe. Just reading through the comments section of the video will turn your stomach. I feel sick just reading them. People complaining about the women, women sticking up for her then they get attacked. Where does it end? When you comment on a video like this with insults towards women or you tell them to smile you are further demonstrating the point they are making!

111014 street harassment Cat calling isn’t a compliment. It is rude. It makes us feel self-conscious and dirty. It is an intrusion on our right to just be. I do not walk around to please others. I do not dress the way I do to entertain anyone. Women are not just sexual objects. It ISN’T alright. We are people with minds, feelings, opinions, and yes, bodies. We should be respected.

Have you ever been cat called? How did it make you feel?

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Self Love

Hello you beautiful thing you!

Learning to love yourself is a hard and difficult journey. It takes time, practice, and you have to work on it daily.

Fall in love with yourself

I’ve had a really difficult time learning to love myself and there are still days where I look at myself and think about all of my imperfections. I focus on the little features that aren’t perfect and I allow my self-hate to determine how my mood is that day. It pretty much sucks! I recently read a blog post about becoming a happier person. The blogger challenged herself to not say anything negative about others or about herself. She said that it was more difficult to break the habit of self shaming than it was to talk about others. ( I apologize. I can’t remember where I read the post!)

It was enlightening. Why is it easy to lift others up while continuing to put ourselves down? I am guilty of it! I compliment friends and co-workers, tell them that they are beautiful and that they shouldn’t be too hard on themselves then I get home and cry about my weight or hair or whatever.

It has been a hard journey towards self love for me but I am getting better at it. I look at my reflection in the mirror and instead of pointing out my faults I tell myself about my great qualities. I dress myself up in clothes that make me feel good. I continuously tell myself that I am beautiful and that I have worth.

I feel more confident now than I ever did when I was 50 pounds lighter. In middle school I was teased for my weight so I set out to get skinny. I stopped eating sweets and ran a mile everyday. It was hard work but I got down to 105 pounds. Even though I was thin I still didn’t feel like it was enough. I needed a flatter stomach. I needed thinner thighs. I look at photos of me then and think about how small I was. I was thin but still felt like I wasn’t good enough.

Me at my lowest weight

Me at my lowest weight

So I stopped trying to make others happy with my body (because that is just silly) and instead focused on what made me happy. I decided that my worth was not determined by my weight. I’ve gained weight over the years but found a new sense of appreciation for my body. It does so much for me and allows me to have adventures. Why wouldn’t I love it?

I want you to know that you are worthwhile. You are wonderful and fun and special. Try to help yourself remember that. If we can learn to stop shaming ourselves and others then maybe we can promote a healthier body image for those young people that come after us.

Stay strong beautiful.

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