True Femininity: No Razor or Wax Needed.

It’s May 2013, and I haven’t shaved to any great degree in… about two years. It is also worth noting that I am a young woman of partial Italian descent. Thus, the visible hair on my body does not blend into the background in thin translucent wisps, but rather, presents itself upfront with authentic auburn passion and style. All this is to say, not shaving the visible hair on my body makes a statement, whether I am ready to or not. So I might as well be out with it.

Letting my body hair simply be wasn’t anything new to me when I stopped shaving two years ago. I graduated from a rather liberal college in 2006, so I had seen many a strong woman walking around as God had made them, body hair and all. I, on the other hand, shaved regularly throughout college.

I was shy about wearing shorts when even the slightest amount of prickle began to reappear. I even tried a hair removal cream once or twice, which only partially worked and was accompanied by the enticing smell of burning hair. I eventually went as far as waxing, first on my own (which left my legs blue and purple) and then through a professional. No matter whether you do it in the privacy of your own home or have someone else do it for you, ripping hair out of your body is just that: ripping-hair-out-of-your-body. IT HURTS!

I first experimented with a new simplified grooming regimen after college, when I was all about doing what I wanted to, when I wanted to, and taking care of myself while I did it.

I proudly buzzed the hair on my head (something I had been wanting to do for a long time) and then let the rest of my body hair grow naturally on its own. And I’m happy to say it felt really, really good. I was shirking culturally accepted ideas of femininity and saving time, pain and money while I did it.

I embraced my body in this way, off and on, for about two years. And then, everything changed. I moved away from the safe haven of friends I had created in the Pacific North West, traveled around the country searching for my new home, and finally settled in Boston. Out came the razor!

I think we all want to feel beautiful and comfortable in our own skin. And no matter how many rights women may have gained over time, it is still trying to go against the socially accepted definitions of “womanliness” and “femininity.” I slipped so far back into the hairless body culture that I even got a FULL Brazilian! I shudder to even think of it now.

I, like my feminine body hair, was out of place in Boston. So after a couple of years, I went on another adventure and finally landed in the haven I had always hoped for. And not so surprisingly, there also wasn’t a razor, a tube of mascara or a bottle of hair dye in sight.

Even though I was around people who accepted me as I was, it still took time for me to let go of the cultural programing I had about what body hair signified. There was a friend’s wedding a couple of years ago that I pulled out the razor for, and other large family events where I mostly avoided tank tops and shorts because I didn’t feel comfortable enough to be myself, at least not fully. I am not an exhibitionist by any means and sometimes being really “visible” isn’t my cup of tea. I’m a people person, but honestly an introvert.

Recently when talking to a friend about not wanting to be more noticeable because I don’t shave, she said: Stop over-thinking it!

And she was right; it’s just a little hair! So I’ve decided it’s time to come out to both my friends and family alike.

My name is Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati and I DO NOT SHAVE! I will not be shaving anytime soon and I think it’s ridiculous that in 2013 it is incredibly rare to see a woman in public who feels comfortable not shaving. So there. It’s out, I’m done with it and now I will return to peacefully living my life surrounded by people who make me feel beautiful and loved just for being who I am — natural body and all.

But before I do that, I have this to say to women of all ages:

It is often in puberty, when young girls are taking their first biological steps into womanhood, that darker hair starts to appear on their bodies. Yet those same girls are taught that “embracing” womanhood and being feminine means stripping that new womanly hair from their bodies. When you look at this practice honestly, it does seem a bit strange, doesn’t it?

As Rene Descartes said:

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.

I think it is time yet again that more women and young girls start to question and push against the cultural statues quo. And perhaps that will come in the form of setting down their razors and asking as I did: “Who am I doing this for? And why?”


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Mark Bradford
Mark Bradford1 years ago

I hate when women shave their pubic region and don't have a problem with a woman with hair, just no facial hair. I dated women in the 80's and 90's and they never shaved. It has become a disturbing trend and I hate the look of a woman who shaves it all off. Twisted thinking has led women to think they must be smooth all over, which is why I would love to go to France or Italy!

Mike Wilkinson
Mike Wilkinson2 years ago

this man does not care, I could not imagine being a woman putting on makeup......or doing the shaving Gibbons, Dusty Hill.........Janis Joplin, Mama Cass......I've worn my hair long and face hair of varying degrees since 1973....It has cost me lots of jobs and other opportunities.....there is a saying I started using in response......I bet you would have shaved Jesus before crucifying him, appearances are and let live and I would not look down on someone no matter how ''un-norml '' they choose to be.....rock on.....we are actors on the stage of each others life, lets enjoy the drama......

Cyrille D.
Cyrille D.2 years ago

I can't wax (as it literally rips my skin off with the hairs I'm removing) and shaving tends to leave me with bumps and such unpleasant things. As for creams, they just do not work for me (they take forever to do the job properly, smell terribly bad and give me burning sensations). Even though I've been struggling with hair removal for years (the perfect solution for me would be pulsed light hair removal, which I just can't afford right now), I cannot bring myself to leave it au naturel. I always feel uncomfortable after a few days and, strangely enough, not as "clean" as I would like to feel. This being said, I totally understand you & your choice. You should embrace your feminity, hairless or not ! Society does influence us, either we admit it or not. And I believe it is important to question our own decisions from time to time. Ultimately, you should do what makes you feel the best.