1. Mariah

“I initially stopped shaving out of laziness, but it didn’t take long for me to realize I found myself sexier and more confident with armpit hair. I don’t necessarily feel the same way about my legs, but it’s still a lot of work, and I have other things to do. I would so much rather spend another hour in bed, or doing something else I enjoy, than shaving.

“There are situations, like if i’m holding the subway pole above someone who’s sitting, where I avoid eye contact; if they’re disgusted by my hair, I don’t need to know it. But mostly if people mention it, it’s in a positive way. To be honest, I thought it would impact my life more than it has.”

2. Ashley

“When I was 13, I went to the most popular girl in school’s pool party. The other girls there saw my leg and pubic hair, and said my crush wouldn’t like me because of it. I was super confused, so I went to speak to my mom, who told me that I’m human, and I’m beautiful, and if a guy can’t accept me like that, to forget about him.

“If I meet a new guy and he asks why I don’t shave my legs, I tell him, ‘You can shave your legs if you want to, but I’m not going to.’ I want to tell girls that they shouldn’t feel like they need to fit into the superficial standards society sets. We’re covered in hair because we’re mammals! You just have to do what makes you comfortable.”

3. Meghan

“There wasn’t a big political reason I decided not to shave; I just didn’t want to do it. I think second-wave feminism opened the doors of ‘It’s OK not to shave’ for people like me, but not women of color or trans or gender-fluid people. I’m a white, cis, straight woman who goes to liberal arts school — my existence is pretty validated and accepted as is.

“It hasn’t gotten in the way of romantic relationships — there’s sometimes just kind of an ‘Ooooooooh’ moment, but if you don’t want to kiss me because I have armpit hair, really? There are way more important reasons to choose not to get involved with someone.

“Anyway, there are plenty of other ways to be a feminist besides not shaving your armpits. Shave or don’t shave; it’s just a choice.”

4. Nicole

“When I was younger, my mom always told me not to shave — that it wasn’t even worth the bother. She naturally has almost no body hair, so it’s not an issue for her; and when I started growing hair, she was like, ‘It’s no big deal. It’s fine.’

“But girls closer to my age had different ideas. My cousins said since I had only a little hair, why not shave it entirely off? In middle school, in the locker room, people would call it gross and ask the same. But it makes me comfortable, so I decided to keep it.”

5. Sarah

“I’m a musician. In general, we’re supposed sell ourselves as products — to embody a recognizable stereotype so that people can relate to you, and are comfortable with you and what you portray. And then as a female musician, there’s an even larger sense of putting yourself in the spotlight and making yourself vulnerable to the opinions of others.

“Not shaving is always looked at as such a political thing, and being a musician, it gets turned into part of the ‘character’ you are portraying. The way people assign huge meaning to such an insignificant part of you is so odd.”

6. Sara

“I stopped shaving only last summer, but I’d been doing it since I was 9 or 10. For me, the decision was a combination of embracing body positivity and shaving just being a lot of work, but I know it’s hard to see it that simply when you’re going through puberty and you feel like the most awkward human in the world.

“My body hair is part of who I am, and it makes me feel strong and beautiful and powerful. I can have hairy armpits or legs and also do things to the best of my ability and be the best version of myself, and be glamorous and dressed up and wear makeup if I want to. Shaving for women really only became a thing because companies wanted to sell razors to more people, and that seems like a ridiculous reason for us to hang on to insecurities that have nothing to do with the rest of our accomplishments or lives.

“I have gotten negative reactions on occasion — some weird looks and side-eye when people can see hair coming out of my T-shirt or whatever. I just think, Hm, fuck you. You can think whatever you want, but it won’t change what I’m going to do.“

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