“Mayah!” my mom scream-whispered.
“What?” I replied. I then sat back and sighed.
“You didn’t shave your armpits in the shower,” she hissed at me.
Somehow, I knew this argument was coming.
“Yeah I know. I didn’t want to,” I replied.
“Mayah, we’ve talked about this. There are just some things you do as a lady. Shaving your arms is one of those things. People see you out without your underarms shaved and they judge you. Just… please do it next time you shower,”
To her, that was end of discussion. But I wasn’t accepting that.
“No mom. If I, me, personally, want to shave my armpits, I will. And mom what even is the definition of ladylike? That seriously comes from a time where society told women how to dress. So you’re doing that. Congratulations,” I said, clearly embarrassing her with my tone and frustration.
I could see her eyes become irritated, like this was not the argument she wanted to be having, because she didn't think it needed to happen. But I wasn’t giving up on what she thought, so I pressed her, just not at that moment. She let it go, rolling her eyes at me in the process.
We finished the manicure, and left to go home. Neither of us continued the argument, so it was dropped.
This conversation is always in the back of my mind when talking about my body hair with her. Since then we have had the same dispute over and over, both of us always saying the same thing as before. I don’t see her side, and she doesn’t see mine.
I remember the first time I had ever shaved my underarms. I wasn’t even the one to do it. My mom said I had to start, and that it was something I had to learn to begin to do as a growing young lady. I was terrified she would take the razor and cut me by accident, which would lead to me excessively bleeding. (As you can see I was a very overdramatic scared 12 year old.) We were in our bathroom, and she had me raise my arm, put some water on it, and stay still. To this day I still hate shaving my armpits. No matter how much shaving cream, soap, or water, it always makes me feel like I am going to accidentally hurt myself. And I can describe it as nails on a chalk board. However, I still do it to this day for one of two reasons. One being I like raising my arms when wearing a sleeveless top and being a smooth goddess. But the more serious reason is that I still have a problem with what other people think of me. I do it so people don’t look at me and say, “Ew what is she doing.” This is what society has said and done to women. Young adults, even in this evolving generation and society. I am shamed more than I want to admit, and it pisses me off that this is the society I live in. That I am judged for what hair is on my body.
I don’t only feel judged by my own mother on this issue, but most of society. So many people say women can dress however they wanted that they’ll support them. But that is only half true. When it comes to body hair, there is still some double standard to that. How society doesn’t question why men don’t save their legs, arms, or facial hair, but women are called gross or unappealing if we don’t shave everything. Lastly, the fact that I am even uncomfortable typing the word ‘armpit’ over and over truly shows how much society has put women into this box of feeling ashamed of our bodies.