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Arts/Society I Don't Shave

Discussion in 'Language, Arts & Culture' started by findingmyway, Sep 11, 2013.

?

Are you okay with female body hair?

  1. I am male and my answer is yes

    45.9%
  2. I am female and my answer is yes

    27.0%
  3. I am male and my answer is no

    21.6%
  4. I am female and my answer is no

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. I am male and I am sitting on the fence

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. I am female and I am sitting on the fence

    5.4%
  1. findingmyway

    findingmyway
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    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:

    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!
     

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  3. findingmyway

    findingmyway
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    http://www.kveller.com/mayim-bialik/ive-never-shaved-my-legs-so-what/

    I’ve Never Shaved My Legs, So What?

    By Mayim Bialik

    As fellow writer Carla Naumburg and I have discussed both here on Kveller and also off-post, she and I are very different. We are also very much alike.

    Take her latest post about waxing her nether regions, for example: I too have never partaken in waxing. Matter of fact, I remain the tomboy/feminist who has never in her life shaved her legs or armpits. Ever.

    The decision was made in early adolescence, maybe when I was 14 and all the girls in my school–none of whom had any hair on their bodies–started shaving because it was “grown-up.” Whatever. Seemed like a waste of time, a conformity that disgusted me (I was a feisty feminist even at 14), and an opportunity for blood where it was just not at all necessary. I should note (as you scour the web for images of me at the Emmys or on some red carpet with bare legs) that I’m not a terribly hairy person, but let’s just say that I am hairy enough that if I wore a strapless dress, you’d be weirded out. So I don’t wear strapless dresses. End of that story. As for my legs, having never shaved, it’s not an unbearable level of fuzziness. And I am fair, so the hair is very pale and thin, but you can see it for sure if you look close, especially when my legs are wet (like after a bath).

    I have never written about this, because it really weirds people out. Joey Lawrence used to tease me about it mercilessly in my teen years on Blossom. It’s very unconventional to not shave, and while as a teenager in the 1980s I knew it was a fact that European women tended not to shave, by the late 1990s, I believe the American notion of women shaving had invaded Europe and it was just me, Simone de Beauvoir, and Gertrude Stein left. Oh: and my awesome funky bohemian friend who lived in San Francisco, where many funky bohemian women didn’t (and still don’t!) shave.

    Carla’s post got me thinking, though, about “what if” I had girls. And it got me thinking to what I can and do impart to my boys as a non-shaving woman.

    An anecdote:
    At a recent SWAG event, I received a canister of some fancy “women’s” shaving cream. It was packaged in pink and smelled kind of fruity. Obviously, I have no need for it. So I offered it to my husband (he’s got a beard but shaves his neck daily). My older son saw the canister and thought it was hysterical that shaving cream would come in a pink canister (he is obviously not immune to society’s recent association of girls with pink–in the not-so-distant past, blue was associated with girls and pink with boys, folks!). We had to explain to my son that some women shave. His eyes widened and I recognized the need to clarify: “They shave their legs and under their arms.” He laughed in disbelief and asked very simply, “Why?”
    Great question.

    My son knows I have body hair just like he knows my husband does. It’s normal and natural to have body hair. Mammals have really fascinating patterns of body hair and I explain to him that body hair traps pheromones, and body hair keeps glands protected, and it highlights “special” parts of the body that hold pheromones and glands. Those parts are responsible for helping reproductive behaviours. That’s kind of how nerdy science mamas explain stuff; it may seem weird, but it’s just how it works for me. And it’s natural to be a mammal, and I have told my son I like my body like it was made. He doesn’t have any natural notion of women shaving, just like I always found it unnatural. I mean, in the simplest definition of unnatural, I guess it kind of is. I’m not judging, just defining!

    As for subtler and humanly-contrived aspects of “femininity” and “aesthetics” that we modern women have been told are important: hairlessness, smoothness, and these things accounting for subjective “beauty,” I guess my sons will have to decide for themselves what they find attractive. I wonder if I had a girl if she would find me odd and embarrassing, or if whatever we present to our children about us, whether they be girls or boys, is simply what we teach them we are. Meaning, if we never told girls to shave, would they? If we modeled a cultural acceptance of our body hair, would they spontaneously feel the need to remove it weekly, monthly, or daily? If we all wore bathing suits that covered our natural forms instead of the form that only hairless young girls who have not birthed babies can wear, would our girls and boys have a more or less realistic notion of what the human body “should” look like?

    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. And I have had plenty of women tell me that their feminism is about choosing: whether or not to wear spike heels and push-up bras and bikinis, and whether or not to shave. Well, as a second-wave feminist (think Hilary Rodham Clinton rather than Gwen Stefani feminism), I respectfully disagree. Feminism, to me, is about leveling the field, creating realistic and respectful expectations for all genders, and allowing the natural abilities and properties of all people to be accepted, appreciated, and treasured.

    And when we say we want our children to love someone “warts and all,” no matter who they choose, I hope we can all mean it.
     

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  4. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    My own thoughts are that the only reason a Sikh would grow their hair is love, anything else is just a political statement, and love needs neither reason nor justification.Why do you do anything, because you love it, to love something blessed by God itself is surely either great fortune or the product of much enlightenment
     
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  5. findingmyway

    findingmyway
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    These women are not Sikh and are making a very strong statement - the only reason to remove hair is the pressure of society so why bother? I love their courage to be normal and not give in to false notions. Hair doesn't have to be connected with Sikhi. I see this as a womens' freedom issue :gingerteakaur:
     
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  6. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Sisji

    I have reread the article looking for political gestures and found none, just two people who wanted to live life outside of what society thinks, although I have no problem looking at a woman and looking upon her as a sister or mother or daughter, so to that end anothers hairy legs are a moot point, but to imagine my wife with those legs does nothing but fill me with horror, and yet, that feeling does not ring true, it does not have the litmust test of truth about it, so I have to concede that one must look upon ones wife as a person first, and then anything else, to that end, hairy legs, no legs, all becomes a non issue.

    Your article and subsequent post has exposed a glaring flaw in my attempts to find the 'true' love that exists between a man and a woman,

    to quote a phrase by our american cousins

    my bad
     
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  7. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    i think Muslims have requirements to SHAVE....and its a recommended religious OBLIGATION to shave armpits legs and pubic hair etc. esp for WOMEN. All others do so due to vanity, fashion..feel good factor or whatever....after all shaving is a trillion dollar industry...ONLY SIKHISM prohibits shaving.
     
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  8. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Every 45 days.
     
  9. Ishna

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    So the West DOES have something in common with dem pesky Arabs. [/end drawl]
     
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  10. Inderjeet Kaur

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    I have a Muslim caregiver who has offered to relieve me of my dirty body hair (her word, not mine). I told her that I would never shave. "Not even if your husband wanted you to?"
    "I wouldn't marry a man who would want me to shave."
    "Really?"
    "Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin."
     

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  11. Ishna

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    I wonder if it's a coincidence that not shaving is another quiet act of rebellion against that religion's requirements?
     
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  12. linzer

    linzer Mexico
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    It's all a matter of how you perceive the world. My wife doesn't shave and her armpits look like two kittens. What can be cuter than two kittens? :winkingmunda:
     
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  13. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    spoken like a true Singh.

    You truly see beauty through the lens of truth, the posts here a huge food for thought, my wife shaves of her own accord, and truth be known, two kittens would be hard for me, the question as to why it would has been on my mind since I read your post
     
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  14. Ishna

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    Harry Ji has been conditioned by society to accept a certain model of attractiveness for his entire life. No wonder kittens are so off-putting to him. Its through no fault of his own.
     
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  15. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    I agree. He is dogged by it. Yea! even hounded.
     
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  16. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    you are both correct, sadly
     
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  17. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Anything that becomes a hindrance is a no, no in Sikhi.

    What good does it do to have facial hair or at other nooks for a woman when she feels ashamed of the appearance no matter what the personal reason may be? Sikhi is not about any external imposition but an internal manifestation. It is all in the deeds.

    It does not make a woman less of a Sikh if she shaves her legs, armpits etc. etc. Personally, I have no problems with it.

    It is simply a personal choice.

    Even in the country that invented Brazilian waxing, it was not uncommon to see many girls with hairy inner thighs and bushy armpits at the beach.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  18. Inderjeet Kaur

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    Not less of a Sikh, but she can't be amritdhari unless she keeps her hairs intact. When she accepts admit, she also accepts a different set of rules.
     
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  19. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Inderjeet Kaur ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    But, unfortunately it is sad to notice that dogmas from the above have crept into the beautiful pragmatic way of life, perhaps more by "a few not too good men".

    I have also my personal doubts about the Panj Bhanis as mentioned in the SRM having been recited by Guru Gobind Singh during the great day of Vaisakhi in 1699.

    Our 10th Guru, who sacrificed his father's life to combat injustice and also his four sons', spent quite some time in Machiwara forests hiding from the fiendish Islamists and Hindu Kings who were looking for to get him, added his dad's poetry into the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, our only Guru, to make it Gurbani but the most important, did not add a single word of his own poetic prowess in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, but for some odd reason would chant his very own poetry during the most important Sikh/ Khalsa ceremony of Khandei di pahul which is not Gurbani and yet commanded us to consider Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji our only Guru.

    Why?

    It makes no sense to me.

    It is upto the Sikh scholars/intelligencia to untangle this very knotted and tangled web

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  20. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Some of you said that the reason these girls choose not to shave is different than why a Sikh would not remove hairs... but really when I read the article a few things that they quoted, that popped out:

    1) Women have hair... it's there naturally
    2) Removing it is only to appease society's view of what women should look like (and btw this view only happened in the last century or so)
    3) It's a pain to keep removing it when it constantly grows back... meaning it's there for a reason so why keep fighting it?

    Aren;t these the same reasons we do not remove hairs being Sikh?? Hair grows naturally... it was put there by our Creator... we keep it intact because we wish to remain as God created us. We also recognize that those who remove it are only doing so to conform to society's ideals of how they should look. As Sikhs we respect how we were created and want to keep that image. It seems to me, that these women, even though they are not Sikh, came to these same conclusions on their own. They are recognizing that hair is there for a reason (pheromones, protection of body parts from friction etc) so they recognize that is how the female body is made to be (whether they believe in God or purely science)... and want to keep it that way. Feminism aside, I think they just came to the same conclusions about hair that Sikhs already know...

    And it just reiterates to me that I am made perfectly fine with my hairy legs and underarms... I don't remove hairs at all. I'm not overly hairy... but like the article, I am fair skinned and have dark hair so it does stand out on my legs if you are up close. My underarms only have a teeny tuft of hair each though and if you stand back a few feet, you'd never really know (makes me wonder if I've been jipped in the underarm hair dept since I seem to have way less than others there haha... but I digress)

    Even before I became Sikh I wasn't shaving barely at all. I used to when I was younger but serving in the Navy it just became a pain to do it at sea... so I never did. I used my career as the excuse if people asked... because when I was younger it sort of embarrassed me, even though I didn't want to do it. This is the point that she is trying to get across in the article.. that it SHOULD be OUR choice as women. Women should not feel like it's a necessity that they NEED to conform to. We should not grow up thinking that hair on a man is ok but is gross on a woman. Hair is hair... how can hair be gross?? Why should I have been made to feel embarrassed when I was younger that I chose not to shave??? I totally see the point and it makes total sense!!!

    Men in society just need to stop dictating how women should look - after all its like they want us to look like prepubescent girls!!!

    I refuse to shave... :peacesignkaur:
     
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  21. linzer

    linzer Mexico
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    Akasha ji
    they want us to look like prepubescent girls!!!
    I was going to make a similar comment. It is just a "fashion" and a pretty sick one at that!
    It a sad state of affairs that when people see what a real women looks like they're shocked and appalled.
    I might conjecture that Guru ji had equality of the sexes in mind when he told us to keep kesh.
    By the way it's not just men, some of the most insulting comments my wife has recieved about her hair have come from women
     
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