The moment I realized I was only shaving my armpits for men was the moment I chose to stop doing things to my body for their “approval.”
I noticed that when it came to hanging out with my other female and gender non-conforming friends, I didn’t think about my armpits and whether there was hair
on them or not. It didn’t bother me and in my natural state, I don’t have the urge to shave. In fact, shaving felt like a chore to me. I only ever thought about shaving
when it was time to go out in public, around more people. Around men.
First I’d like to make it clear that there are people who genuinely do enjoy shaving and I fully support anyone choosing anything that makes them feel good in their own skin. That’s the important factor: the choice.
If it is truly your choice to do something to your body without external influence, then go for it! In my case, I realized it wasn’t truly for me. It felt like an obligation. It was labor rooted in people-pleasing, internalized misogyny and upholding the patriarchy.
This mindset goes beyond just armpit hair; it’s about everything.
It’s about the way we speak, the way we dress and so many more of the choices we make in our life. How many of it is truly about honoring yourself and who you are, and how much of it is just for a cis man?
One of my favorite trends on social media has been when people came together to share pictures of themselves before and after dressing for the male gaze. I loved seeing how drastic the change was and how their new style really told me more about their personality and brought out their confidence.
When people free themselves from the desire for male approval, their true self begins to shine. It genuinely shows. Even if you are attracted to cis men and want to pursue them romantically, the right man will accept you as you are. If they make you feel like you have to change yourself, they are too immature to realize we are all human. In addition, that is not the start to a healthy relationship. Objectively. There are mature human beings out there that won’t judge you for things like having armpit hair when they themselves have armpit hair.
There is still this misbelief that having armpit hair somehow makes you unhygienic, but why is that not applied to men who don’t shave? Why are we shaming everyone else for something that is natural?
Just because someone quit shaving doesn’t mean they also quit soap.
I have not shaved in half a year and I no longer even think about the hair on my armpits. Achieving body neutrality and freeing myself from this almost-subconscious need for male approval has helped me grow and feel more confident. I’m no longer worried about what other people think of me. I care more about what I think of myself.