Feminist Science – an experiment

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I’ve started an experiment that’s going to take six months (or more) to complete, and I’m actually using the good ol’ Scientific Method from high school to put the experiment together. My calendar has reminders for me once a week to make notes on my experiences and thoughts as I go, to keep the data flowing in for future analysis.

So what’s the hypothesis?

Shaving serves no purpose, and not shaving will provide benefits in addition to removing a step from hygiene routines.

My original thoughts on shaving were related to various articles and blogs about women who chose to stop shaving their armpits, or who didn’t shave for religious reasons. It got me to thinking…

Why did I start shaving, and why do I continue to do so?

It’s all trained habit. I don’t feel a need to have prepubescent legs, armpits, or pubes; however, I’d been shown at an early age how to remove “unwanted” hair (especially with how dark my Filipino-Mexican body hair can be). Everyone on TV is hairless, as are porn stars and other women I see on the streets. Even other pagans are hairless, for the most part (and I’ve attended “clothing optional” events, so I know this as fact).

But why? Why shave? What’s attractive about making ourselves look like children again? I happen to like being a grown woman, for the most part. I don’t feel sexier hairless; I feel itchy and then prickly only a couple days later! Men walk around hairy without an issue, and we don’t consider them gross or dirty for doing so.

I had a long, philosophical talk with friends and then my boyfriend. He said it was sexy when a woman was confident enough to own her body and do whatever made *her* feel comfortable and sexy. That was the last encouragement I needed. At the very end of June, I shaved my armpits and legs for the last time.

And so… it has begun!

I have a notepad with the various pieces of this experiment outlined. Essentially, I’m not shaving anything on my body for the next six months. I’ll make notes of how I feel, how my body feels, how others reaction, and anything else I experience in the process. In the end, I’ll decide if it’s going to become a permanent change or not.

I already have interesting data!

For example, I hadn’t realized how hard it would be psychologically to get past the habit of shaving once my hair was visible. I’ve nearly grabbed a razor several times, just out of reflex! I had to move my razor out of the shower (and out of sight) to remove the instinctive reaction to my dark fuzzies growing in. I’m wondering how long it will take for the reflex to fade.

Another random lesson: not shaving has lowered my body order levels. Seriously! You’d think it’d be the opposite, but I’ve found my armpits are less pungent in this wonderful Texas heat than they ever were as naked patches. My natural body chemistry generally leads to quite and annoying body odor in the summer, regardless of deodorants applied; I look forward to seeing if this trend of non-stinkiness continues.

I call this Feminist Science, because feminism is about equality and choice. Looking at societal beauty standards, I don’t see the fairness in making women remove hair and appear like children (a little pedophilic) while men walk around in their natural hairy glory. Sure, some women like being hairless, just like some women like makeup and high heels. I’m not one of them, though, so this experiment is perfect for me.

Have you ever reconsidered a habit after failing to find a good reason for it to exist?

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