No Shave November
I found out about No-Shave November for the first time four years ago, in my junior year of high school. At the time, I thought it was just a thing that people did, like the Pokemon profile picture month on Facebook or something. I’ve recently discovered that it’s actually for a cause, and an important one at that: prostate cancer research, through the Movember campaign. Because prostate cancer (and the ability to grow a moustache) is a primarily male issue, it’s most frequently men who participate. But many women choose to as well.
This led a friend of mine and I to browse the trending topics on Twitter yesterday, one of which was No Shave November. We were shocked by how sexist and shaming many of the tweets were from both men and women. Some of the comments included: “If you’re a girl and participating in No Shave November, get away from me” (female), “Just Witnessed A Female Who C L E A R L Y Started -No Shave November-. Ughhhh. Nasty AF” (female), “Just saying, this whole no shave November should not pertain to girls that’s just gross” (male), and “No shave November? I guess some of you aren’t getting laid
Now, this strikes me as rather sickening. Most guys only shave their facial hair, not legs or underarms like most women. Yet they get no flack about it. And numerous guys don’t shave at all, and it’s completely social acceptable so long as they keep their beards and mustaches more or less tame. Women, however, are apparently expected to keep their bodies completely free of hair, except for the patch on top of the head, eyebrows, and maybe forearms. Not doing so, according to this sampling of Internet denizens, is “gross”, “nasty”, “sickening”, and “disgusting”.
I’ve been lucky enough to avoid body image issues, mostly due to growing up in a very supportive and open family, with little exposure to peer pressure and oppressive social conventions. But even among my lovely cowriters on Teen Skepchick, that’s not necessarily the case. So, seeing comments like those above on the public Trending Topics of Twitter is depressing. Both genders are willing to shame women for the fact that, as decedents of an ape-like ancestor, we have a thin coating of hair on our bodies. They are even willing to do so to hold up an arbitrary social convention, at the cost of women not participating in and donating to a cause which helps research cancer treatment and preserve human life. That is a fundamental problem. As my friend put it, “Why are we shaming women for their bodies or what they to do with them? How is not shaving nastier than prostate cancer?”
On that note, I heartily support all men and women participating in No Shave November this year. More power to you.