Interview here: http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/ar...-at-me-on-the-street/51ea07a478c90a155d0004b6 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paloma-goni/i-dont-shave_b_3568790.html I Don't Shave I'm one of those women who loathes hair removal. I don't know if there are many of us out there, but I suspect there are. Since the first day when, as a teenager, I decided to get rid of the hair on my legs and armpits, I have spent my waking hours in hair removal torture. It's a waste of time that caused me suffering. Nonsense, really. But I didn't question it, either. At the end of the day, I'm a woman, and we have to get rid of our body hair, right? Did I have another option? For a long time, I felt I didn't, so I merely tried to fully minimize my periods of suffering. I chose not to shave in the winter. After all, I was covered up, and nobody was looking at me... That's when I began to realize I was shaving unnecessarily, and only doing so because it was expected of me as a woman. I enjoyed my hairy legs in winter, yet continued to submit to near-weekly shaving torture in summer. Yes, I am a hairy woman. I have very white skin and very black hair. My legs and armpits are veritable jungles. I know there are smooth-skinned women who shave very rarely and have fine, blonde body hair. But that's not the case with me, so trying to camouflage and pretend that hair is not there doesn't work for me. Besides, I live in Málaga, the weather is warm most of the year and the beach is there for enjoying... After three months without shaving, enjoying my dark jungles, time began to tick. The sun is out. It's hot. Summer is coming. Noooooooo! I had to start wearing short skirts and tank tops. And with the change in season comes my internal struggle between my needs and wants and the needs and wants of the society in which I live. This year, I'm seriously debating it: Should I shave or not? I'm very conscious of what I want, that if it were up to me, I wouldn't do it. But is it really up to me? Logically, I can do what I want with my body, but I don't want to turn going out for a stroll into a quarrel, and don't want to decline plans because I feel like I need to hide. Because yes, I'll admit it: I'm not ready to listen to the criticism or endure the stares. I'm not a revolutionary. Yet. How have we arrived at this situation? I'm amazed that we've reached the point where a woman who doesn't get rid of her body hair, hair that grows naturally, is a rare specimen. I'm not judging the millions of women who wax because they want to (although we'd have to dig deep to know why they want to), but I am critical of the point we've reached where there's no choice about whether or not we remove our body hair. It's a given, period. I've been reading articles online in which women defend their right not to remove their pubic hair. We're seeing, little by little, how bikini waxing is becoming a matter of course. I won't go there, that's it, but I suppose in a few years, it will become the norm. I'm reading out there that young men demand it, that they want women with no hair on their sex. Well then, I don't care what those boys demand. I'm not interested in them. Yet, after a rather extensive online search (both in English and Spanish), I've not found many reference articles on the non-removal of leg and armpit hair. I read a multitude of articles about Emer O'Toole, an Irish journalist that went without shaving for 18 months. You can watch a video where you see her unshaved legs and armpits. These are some other posts I found on the topic: What to Expect When You Stop Shaving Why I Don't Shave My Legs I Have Never Shaved My Legs, So What? Reasons why I don't shave There are also Facebook groups in which women show off their unshaved armpits, such as this one in English and this one in Swedish. And some time ago, I heard mention of a documentary, Pitstache, about this theme, which I think is currently in production. But not shaving is still a taboo. A topic one does not talk about. One that people do not want to talk about. That's why I decided to write this article, because I think we have to bring it up and talk about it. Women need to know they have options without seeming like revolutionaries. Women need to know that we have the choice, that hair removal is not an obligation that comes along as part of being a woman. Teenage girls, when they start to grow hair, need to know that they can choose, that they decide if they want to shave or not. That both options are valid. Today, that's not the case. It had been nearly impossible for me to find photos of women with unshaven legs (unshaven armpits are easier) and so I post mine, so hairy, feminine legs can come to light, can be seen. When I asked my boyfriend to shoot these pictures, he refused. I think he didn't want my hairy legs to be made public. He had enough with having to endure the plan (ha!). We had an interesting conversation and a few seconds later, he admitted he was wrong and agreed to take the pictures. He told me the pictures were an assault against aesthetics. I agree. They're an assault against an aesthetic, against an image of female beauty that we have ingrained in our culture and in our society. That same image I want to change, simply because it's not real. Women have hair on their legs. We have hair on our armpits. And on our pubis. And in a thousand other places. We're hairy, the same as men. And that's real. A reality that women, pressured by one another, insist on hiding. I still don't know if this year I will succumb to the pressure, if I will shave again. I've not decided yet, but I'm very conscious that if I finally do it, it will be for others, and that drives me apart from my true self. This post was translated from Spanish and originally appeared on HuffPost Spain. http://www.newstaco.com/2013/07/30/paloma-gonis-stop-shaving-revolution-challenges-cultural-taboo/ Paloma Goni’s ‘stop shaving’ revolution challenges cultural taboo By Paloma Corredor, Voxxi Over the course of the last couple of weeks, a post written by the Spanish journalist Paloma Goñi is creating controversy and conversation all over the Internet over her decision to stop shaving. Goñi defines herself as “a very hairy woman” who one day got tired of the “hair removal torture” she had been suffering since her teens. So, Goñi decided to stop shaving. She asked her boyfriend (who initially refused) to take photographs of her showing her extremely hairy legs and armpits, and then she posted them on her blog to bring the subject up for discussion. While many of her readers praise Goñi’s authenticity and courage, many others are shocked by what they see as an attack on aesthetics. Actually, it is, Paloma Goñi’s remarks. The aesthetic canon dictates that women do not and should not have body hair. But that’s simply not true of our species! So why do we submit to the endless torture of waxing, which can be incredibly painful in the case of hairy women, as Latinas often are? “I’m amazed that we’ve reached the point where a woman who doesn’t get rid of her body hair, hair that grows naturally, is a rare specimen. I’m not judging the millions of women who wax because they want to (although we’d have to dig deep to know why they want to), but I am critical of the point we’ve reached where there’s no choice about whether or not we remove our body hair,” Goñi wrote. Celebrities who do not shave Actress Mayim Bialik is one of many celebs who don’t shave. She wrote in her blog that she have never shaved her legs. Some months ago, “Big Bang Theory” actress Mayim Bialik wrote a column similar to Paloma Goñi’s in which she revealed she has never shaved her legs. A decision she made in her early teens and has firmly maintained all her life. She wants her sons to know that female body hair is natural. “I used to be hurt when other kids (girls especially) teased me for not wanting to conform to societal standards of beauty and aesthetics. I guess I hope that by simply being myself, my boys will find that character trait attractive and desirable in whoever they choose to love,” Bialik explained. Mo’Nique is among the celebs who don’t shave. She told reporters she is very comfortable with it. When surfing the internet for photos of celebrities who do not shave, the most remarkable case is the actress Mo’Nique Imes-Jackson, of “Precious,” who proudly showed her super hairy legs on the red carpet and revealed on Barbara Walter’s annual Oscar Special that she feels so comfortable with her unshaven legs that they’ve never been an issue. Actually, her husband “loves the hairy legs, and if Sid likes the hairy legs, there you go.” Other celebrities who have been photographed with hair on their legs or underarms are Beyonce, Julia Roberts, Alicia Keys, Celine Dion, Juliette Lewis and Drew Barrymore, who warned that waxing is not only painful, but could damage the mammary glands, according to her gynecologist. Celine Dion didn’t shave for her performance in Tokyo, Japan in March 2008 and cameras zoomed in to get the “hair-raising” close up. Beyonce appeared on the red carpet at her “Cadillac Records” film premiere with unshaven underarms, in December 2008. In 1991, Julia Roberts was photographed at the “Notting Hill” film premiere with hairy underarms. Hillary Swank showed off her hairy armpits at Elle‘s 17th Annual Women in Hollywood Tribute, in 2010. In 2005, Drew Barrymore went to a Marc Jacobs event with unshaven underarms. The prejudices against women who don’t wax Waxing hurts and requires a lot of time and attention. Furthermore, it is not natural, but a practice that became widespread throughout the 20th Century, at the same time that women’s fashion began to show more flesh. It’s just a cultural habit. Shouldn’t the origin of its popularity be grounds enough to make it an option, not an obligation? As Paloma Goñi says, “Teenage girls, when they start to grow hair, need to know that they can chose, that they decide if they want to shave or not.” And yet, women’s body hair is still a real taboo that makes many of us feel very uncomfortable. While The New York Times headlined an article Unshaven Women: Free Spirits or Unkempt?, comments on celebs who don’t shave say things like “we saw hairy legs, armpits with several days of neglect, and even a pubis that seemed masculine” or “I would not do it even if Brad Pitt asked me.” Paloma Goni admits she may give in to social pressure To prove how rooted prejudice against female body hair is, Paloma Goñi cites a study by Professor Breanne Fahs, expert in Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University, who conducted an experiment asking her students to stop shaving for 10 weeks. Most of them were accused of being lesbians, while some of the girls’ mothers asked them if they wanted to become men. They were also threatened with the notion that they would not find a partner because their hairy legs and underarms were”gross”. Goñi concludes her article confessing she’s not sure if she will keep natural all summer, but admits that if she gives up, it will be due to social pressure. In any case, the Spanish journalist is a brave woman able to challenge one of the most entrenched taboos about how it should be to be a woman. We admire her courage and ambition!