I was doing some shopping for some essentials and picked up some of that hair removal stuff. Kind of like Nair but a different brand and this was a gel, not a cream. I was reading the label when the girl I didn't know looked at what I was doing and felt a need to comment on it. Our exchange went like this.
Girl: "It's a shame women waste so much money on hair removal products. There's nothing shameful in having body hair. I haven't shaved, waxed, plucked or removed a hair from my body in years. I save so much money."
I stopped and looked around quickly, assuming she must be babbling to someone else. I was the only person on the aisle with her and she wasn't on the phone.
Me: "That's nice for you. I prefer not to have any body hair and don't mind spending the money on waxing, shaving, et cetera."
She made a "tsk tsk" sound then looked at me with this look that said, "Oh you poor misguided soul" that was a mix of what I read as pity and sympathy.
Girl: "Of course that's what you prefer because as women we're taught from an early age that we should shave the hair from our armpits and legs and thighs to be more desirable. You shouldn't be ashamed of your body hair."
I looked at her and contemplated ignoring her. I went with that tactic and picked up a different bottle to read. She wasn't deterred by that and proceeded to share her thoughts on the subject more.
Girl: "I'm not trying to be obnoxious. I'm just a feminist girl trying to reach out to another girl. I'm merely trying to help offer some insight."
Me: "Thanks but I'm not ashamed of my body hair. I just honestly prefer to not have any and always have."
Girl: "You don't get it. You think that way because that's what we, women, that's what we're taught to think and how we're taught to feel about it and men and hell society as a hole really -"
I cut her off there because I wasn't interested in having this debate.
Me: "Look, I get what you're saying. Before you start going on about the patriarchy or telling me that I'm brainwashed by what society says is acceptable based on an archaic notion, listen to what I'm saying. I shave and/or wax because I want to. I prefer the look of being shaved and prefer the feel of it, too. I hate having stubble and don't shave because I feel I have to. I do it because I want to, plain and simple. I appreciate your point of view and good for you but I don't appreciate you assuming all women are the same and shave because they feel like they have to just because that's the way you personally feel."
At that point, a store employee came up to us to see what was going on. Apparently, I raise my voice when I get aggravated. That ended the argument because the girl just glared at me, glared at the employee, dropped the things she was carrying and presumably left the store.
Now, I have no problem with women who don't want to shave. Guess what? You don't have top shave, wax, pluck, tweeze, or do anything to your body that you don't want to. If you don't do it because you feel like you're standing up for the right not to do it, more power to you. Maybe you just prefer it that way. I don't pretend to know why people do what they do because unless you ask, you don't likely know. I don't care if you never remove a single hair from your body. If that's what you want, do your thing and don't be ashamed of the choice you make.
If you want to remove the hair from your body, as I choose to do, do it because you want to do it. I've let my body hair go before and personally, I don't like the way it feels. I like the way my jeans feel against clean shaven skin versus hair and vice versa. It's just my preference. I don't do it because I feel like I have to to be more attractive or because it's what's acceptable by society's standards. If you're doing it for that reason, try skipping it for a while and see how you feel about it then. You might like it or you might hate it and find even if hair removal is a pain in the ass that it's a pain in the ass worth dealing with.
My problem is with people like that girl. I've heard other people in real and seen people online making this argument. I've seen blog posts, forum threads and other debates about it. If you stop shaving because you feel like you're standing up for the right not to, that's fine, but DON'T assume that everyone that does it is doing it because they feel like they have to for whatever reasons. Sure, there are people that do it because they feel like they have to but not everyone feels that way. To assume so and to lecture people without knowing what you're talking about is ridiculous and stupid.
And before anyone says it, I know not all feminists are like that girl. I'm not attacking feminists or people who don't remove their body hair. I'm just going off on presumptuous people who aren't as open-minded and non-judgmental as they think they are. In my opinion, assuming everyone does something for the same reason you decide not to do it is a narrow minded way to look at things.