Feminists Shaving: A Hairy Situation?

by Katharine Ernst


I would say I’m a feminist because I believe in choice and equality. Yes, that includes the choice of whether to shave or not to shave. And there’s no doubt this situation gets a little…prickly. Certainly some of us just like it. But a question mark remains on whether we like it because it makes us feel good, or if social constructs have convinced us that having a clean, plastic-like exterior should make us feel good.

Is there any scientific justification for getting rid of underarm hair? I always tell myself that I either don’t like how it looks, or its too itchy or unclean. But when it comes down to it, there are those days where I just don’t care. The look doesn’t bother me and itch ceases to be a factor. And if I don’t care, I don’t shave. Does my personal hair taste change from day to day? Possibly.


Feminists rallying for the rad campaign, Armpits 4 August – kind of like No-Shave November but with hairy pit pride. Check ’em out.


But I have a feeling that its more social conditioning than personal taste. If there wasn’t so much pressure on perfection and the absence of body hair – or if pristine, plastic Barbie doll looks didn’t reign supreme – would people even bother to stress the stubble? I’m still waiting for a hairy Barbie to hit shelves.

When you think about it there are so more valuable ways to spend time and to enrich our lives than worrying about our armpits. Maybe if we’d never seen a hairless woman, we’d have never even been inclined to strive for the look. But today we are inundated with images of feminine perfection. And to major media makers (cough*orgs-that-profit-from-our-insecurities*ahem) perfection apparently means hairless.


We think you look great, Julia.

Whether you BUSTies choose to pick up the razor or leave it in its place, I applaud your choice. We must acknowledge that this war on body hair is a little silly, but since it’s already infiltrated our society we’ve just got to stand strong and defend our right to choose here like we would in any other feminist argument. Do what makes you feel good and realize you’re not alone. There are thousands of us looking for a way to justify our reasons for shaving-while-feminist, but obviously we shouldn’t need to defend our choice at all.

Of course we can be hairless feminists, as long as it makes us feel good. Don’t do it because you should, do it because you can. And if you don’t want to, then to hell with the razor!


What’s your stance on these body hair politics? Let loose in the comments.


Source: The Guardian

Photos via Entertainment Wise, Armpits4Augustand The Guardian

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.