Women Fight Back Against Body Hair Removal

We know you’ve thought about it (because we have!). Decades into the daily fight with face fuzz, leg prickles and sneaky little tendrils peeking out where they shouldn’t, what if we made peace with our body hair and just let it all hang out? Five daring women accepted our challenge. Here’s what happens when you stop mowing the lawn

by Holly Crawford, Andrea Atkins, Amanda Robb, Paula Derrow and Amy Zavatto
Photograph: Phillip Toledano

On my last day at the pool, I strutted the perimeter, forcing myself to display my wild and weedy front lawn. It’s hard to confront your fears head-on because inevitably it means discovering things about yourself you’d rather not face. Would I notice a woman who hadn’t shaved her bikini line? Yes. Would seeing tufts of her pubic hair innocently curling beyond her swimsuit make me feel uncomfortable? Perhaps. Would I judge her? Not exactly, but I would assume a freeness in that person’s disposition that I apparently do not possess. And after five mentally exhausting days of battling my own buttoned-up demons, I was starting to envy any woman who felt that unfettered.

Back at home, I held off shaving immediately. I decided to challenge myself. How far can I push this?

Lounging in bed one Saturday morning, my husband propped up next to me, engrossed in the weekend newspaper, I crawled out from under the covers, clad in bra and underwear, to grab a section that was out of reach. It was now eight weeks past the onset of the experiment: I’d never neglected to trim my bikini line for so long. I was sitting cross-legged on top of the comforter, scanning the headlines, when I felt my husband’s eyes upon me: “Wow,” he said, “you need to shave!”

That morning, after de-tufting in the shower, I pulled on my panties and glanced with satisfaction at my gleaming upper thighs. I’m more at ease with my body this way, and that’s OK. I also feel charged by a new nugget of self-knowledge: that I hadn’t allowed concerns about what other people think (my husband excepted, naturally) to hold me back. Maybe it would be fun to let a bit of wilderness grow in other areas of my life. 

Amy Zavatto, a food writer, is the author of Architecture of the Cocktail.

Next: 3 Women Share What it Means to Live Fearlessly

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First published in the June 2014 issue

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