Shaving is a time consuming endeavor for anyone who participates in it. Especially if they seek to maintain smooth, hairless skin daily. A patriarchal society does cause you to consider if the beauty standards you participate in are ones you genuinely want to be a part of.

For years I’ve wondered if I genuinely want to spend copious amounts of time on a beauty regime, never mind shaving. For twenty years I’ve never let my leg hair grown beyond microscopic stubble. Is this my choice or just social conditioning?

“social media’s beauty expectations of women are completely unrealistic”

A pandemic

Towards the end of January China went into lock down. You couldn’t enter a building (even your own apartment building) without getting your temperature checked. You could not leave your home without a mask, and even then you could only leave with a good reason.

Almost all shops were closed, streets were deserted, people were nowhere to be found. Even in Shanghai, with a population of over 23 million, it felt like a ghost town.

This lasted for almost three months.

Which gave me a lot of time indoors and aside from social media, a lot of time away from society. I found this time to be a great opportunity to experiment with my body outside of societal pressures to ‘fit in.’

As much as we’d all love not to conform, we do to varying degrees, it’s hard not to. Conforming isn’t necissarily a bad thing, but not knowing what you genuinely like and don’t like is.

“Hey, pushing back against unrealistic expectations of beauty for women means pushing back against systems and institutions and expectations, not… uh… hating hot women lol”

An opportunity in a crisis

During the lock down, it felt like a wonderful time to challenge the things I had been conditioned to believe about women’s beauty standards to see if they were things I truly liked and disliked.

Did I actually like wearing make up?
Dressing up?
Wearing heels?
Doing my hair?
Shaving my legs?
Being 90% hairless for that matter?

Everyone is different and some people enjoy doing these things, some people don’t, some people do it because they feel pressure to. No judgement here.

Here’s what I learned about myself …some of these things I do actually like and genuinely do them for myself first and foremost. Again, to each their own.

“women put up with a lot higher beauty standards than men. the fact that there’s so much societal pressure to put tons of time, money and effort into their appearance from a young age is hella harmful & the unhealthy expectations they have to conform to shouldn’t exist.”

The Next Step

Shaving was probably the biggest beauty habit I questioned. During lock down I found it to be relaxing to exercise this method of self care. There’s something almost ritualistic in prepping a shower to shave, exfoliating my skin and moisturizing afterwards.

Maybe it’s more accurate to say that I enjoy shaving my legs more than having shaved legs. Either way, I don’t enjoy shaving my legs all the time. But I struggle to think of nearly any task I enjoy doing all the time.

Take time to reflect on beauty standards and the part they play in your life. Are there any you enjoy? Any you are happy to scrap? In my opinion, it’s worth maintaining a beauty standard if it serves you. And maintaining it only when it serves you.

“I believe I deserve to unplug from our culture’s expectations of me, as a woman. I deserve to teach myself that I am lovable and sexy no matter how hairy I might be.”