No Shave November

By: Maddy Rambeau (@lourambeau)

It’s finally November, the month known for Thanksgiving and no shaving. A lot of people are aware of the term "No Shave November." It has been made popular by the internet. Many people fail to realize that No Shave November isn’t just an internet fad. In fact, No Shave November is actually a non-profit organization that uses that slogan and the lack of hair removal to raise money and awareness about cancer victims. The idea is to forgo all methods of hair removal to provoke conversations to raise awareness about the victims of cancer who can’t grow hair because of the harsh treatments they endure. Also, you are supposed to sign up on their website, , and donate money to their foundations. Where are you supposed to get the money to donate? Well by not shaving, waxing, or engaging in any other forms of hair-maintenance for an entire month, you save a lot of money. So all that money you save by simply not doing those things, can be donated! The money goes to foundations such as The American Cancer Society, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Sounds like a good cause, right? All you have to do is let your body hair go natural for ONE month and donate the money you saved. Pretty simple rules.

Raising money for cancer seems like a good idea until, god forbid, you see someone who has decided to let their completely NATURAL and HARMLESS body hair grow out. Why would someone have a problem with that? There are some underlying issues. People have grown so accustomed to modern standards for body hair removal that simply seeing someone who hasn’t shaved in a few days is a horrific sight. It is significantly worse for women than it is for men. It is normal for a man to grow out a full on mustache, but the second a woman has some fuzz on her upper lip, it is seen as unattractive, odd, and even gross.  How could a completely natural body occurrence, like growing hair, be deemed as “gross”? Everyone has body hair, it serves a purpose to protect our skin. Our ancestors had even more body hair than us, but evolution has taken its toll on body hair.

The media has a lot to do with standards, have you ever seen a woman celebrity on TV have body hair anywhere? Nope, they literally look hairless. Women are given insane standards to live up to for removing their body hair. I, a 16 year old girl, have to shave, wax, pluck, and nair multiple times a week to try to reach the standards of hair removal placed on girls. Many of those methods are painful to go through. Waxing has stopped hurting me, I guess I grew accustomed to the pain since I had to start waxing when I was just 10 years old because I didn’t want boys to think I was weird or gross because I had hair. Recently, I even had to switch from commercial shaving cream to making my own all natural shaving cream because of the uncomfortable side effects I was getting from shaving cream and frequent shaving. For putting my body through all those forms of hair removal, I often get cuts (even scars), rashes, ingrown hairs, skin discoloration, and itching.

Those things are deemed just as “unattractive” as having body hair. Girls are shamed for having body hair, but are also shamed for having the side effects that come with frequent hair removal. When will girls stop being shamed and humiliated for their bodies? When will girls stop being harassed for simply existing naturally? As soon as men stop policing girl’s bodies and as soon as the ridiculous standards are broken. Gender roles are so deeply engraved into our society, it is our general way of thinking. It is important that we work hard to end this. Also, natural is normal. It is not normal for humans to be hairless. We are mammals. Look at our closest relatives, apes. Their bodies are covered in hair and so are we (just not as furry obviously).

So this is why I encourage everyone to participate in No Shave November. I encourage girls to take control of their own bodies and grow their hair out if they wish. Don’t remove your hair just because men and society are pressuring you to. It might feel weird at first to be defying beauty standards, but the more you allow yourself to be comfortable with your choices, the bigger the difference you are making. Imagine if every girl stood up against the beauty standards. It would make such a difference! Remember, you are the only one who can police your body. If you want to shave then great! If you don’t want to shave then that’s great too! That message goes for boys too. Boys, if you want to shave then awesome! If you don’t want to shave then that’s awesome too! I hope everyone can join the No Shave November movement and make a difference in more way than one.