Kyra Richardson, a 24-year-old who has been shaving her legs semi-regularly since she was 12, has officially decided to critically reflect on what truly informs and motivates this practice, at some point in the future.
“It’s a performance of artificially constructed femininity under violent patriarchal norms,” said Richardson, shaving the exposed skin under the holes in her jeans. “Obviously I know that.”
“Does unpacking the naturalization of body hair removal and rendering visible the societal forces that promote it mean I’ve done the work to justify a personal decision to shave anyway?” Richardson wondered. “Is that logic neoliberal, or would it be more neoliberal to put the onus on the individual to stop shaving as some sort of illusion of control?”
Richardson claims she has every intention to get to the bottom of these questions, but she is getting a massage later this week and doesn’t want it ruined by worrying that the masseuse is judging her leg hair.
“I guess then the question becomes, like, why am I even concerned about this theoretical stranger’s judgment?” said Richardson.
“Oh,” said Richardson. “You’re actually asking me why? Yeah, I mean, I’ll definitely think through that while I’m thinking about the other stuff later.”
Richardson admits that there is nothing inherently superior about hairless legs and that she has never looked at a man’s legs and thought they would be more attractive if shaven, but hers definitely are.
“I think I maybe just have ugly hair,” said Richardson. “Maybe my growth pattern is weird and it’s not the sexualization and fetishization of women’s legs that I’ve been bombarded with through pop and commercial culture my entire life.”
“Fuck, no. It definitely is that, isn’t it?” added Richardson. “Okay, after the massage I am going to reflect and make an informed, active decision about whether or not to keep shaving.”
At press time, Richardson remembered that she was supposed to meet that guy from Bumble this weekend, and now plans to begin the reflection the following week.