What happens when a woman joins in on ‘No-Shave November?’

by Talia Raoufpur, Staff Columnist

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As a feminist, I am always interested in any activity that would allow me to defy gender norms and prove my gender does not define my abilities. No-Shave November is no exception. This year I joined six male KCR members and did not shave, wax or tweeze my body hair for 30 days — rituals I have partaken in since I was 12 years old. Mind you, I am Persian, which means my hair grows like wildfire.

My friends and parents were shocked to hear of my new project. Their faces projected a look of disgust and utter confusion, somehow unclear about what my decision meant.

I anticipated feeling embarrassed throughout the month, ashamed to show my body hair, which is partially accurate. I thought my femininity would be lost in the dense forest that was to flourish on my legs.

Although I was proud to silently protest society’s feminine beauty standards I was embarrassed to display my undertaking to the world. Perhaps my negative presumptions centered on the sudden change in my daily routine, or my personal prohibition of the removal of my body hair. My outfits went from short skirts and dresses to long pants and sweaters.

A decision that was made to raise awareness for men’s prostate health became a personal test to see if I was able to be comfortable with natural, unedited being. At home, I was satisfied with my appearance. I would walk around proud of my hair growth and the progress made.

At the law firm where I work, however, I felt unprofessional. Attorneys would roam around the office wearing jeans and t-shirts exuding confidence and professionalism, while I covered myself in fabric.

Among the male members of KCR College Radio, there was no explanation needed for the recent appearance of facial hair. While men’s body hair is considered rugged, strong and mature, mine left me feeling self-conscious and unclean. The positive traits men enjoyed were not garnered by me. Why would something natural ignite feelings of foreignism and anxiousness?

With the passing of November, I realized I still have insecurities regarding my femininity that I did not think I had. I care about my appearance and how I am judged according to society’s standards, which are stricter for women than men.

Although I did not raise money to support men’s prostate health, I did raise awareness in my own mind pertaining to the unnecessary and time-consuming double standards of beauty that foists upon women. My experience raised quite a few hairs and reminded me of the skewed expectations I am handed as a woman.

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