My Niece Refuses To Shave Her Legs - And That Is Okay.
I am big on coming to the rescue of those being picked on or treated unfairly. You will find me on comment threads speaking up in defense of someone’s opinion if they are being criticized by others. I don’t even have to know the person in real life and they don’t need to be saved... Yes, I’m that person. The one that will call you out on your shit even if you are not talking to me.
So when my thirteen year old niece chose not to shave her legs, I immediately imagined all the ridicule she would receive. She was never really girly girly growing up but still, not shaving legs? What female in our family chooses not to shave their legs?!
While my sister (her mom) took her daughter’s stance on shaving with an accepting attitude, I on the other hand, was not so accepting. I did not want my niece humiliated at school or have her first crush, well, crush her.
At every opportunity, I would try and provide a compelling reason for her to shave. It’s grooming 101 – what every female does. It was to the point that she would not spend much time in the same room as me. I didn't ask myself why. She is a teenager and teenagers are not very easy to understand. I wasn't the typical brooding teenager so I never got the angst. Or perhaps I did and forgot like most adults tend to do once reason and accountability set in.
I started to observe my niece more. Refusal to shave her legs wasn't really the only thing that set her apart from the average teenage girl. She doesn't gossip or talk about boys. Heaven forbid a discussion on shoes, unless of course they are comfortable. She walks to the beat of her own drum. She doesn't care who approves. So why do I?
I took a step back and realized in my efforts to protect her from an uncomfortable situation, I was the uncomfortable situation. It’s one thing to have to deal with perfect strangers judging you but to have a family member do it?
My niece is beautiful. She has a beautiful heart and soul. She cares about herself and her family. She is creative and inquisitive. There are more important things for her to focus on than shaving her legs. She knows it. I know it, now.
In society we have expectations and “rules”. How girls/women should look and dress. What is considered lady-like. If a girl or woman doesn't meet these expectations, they are tomboys, crass, or whatever other label that gets stuck on them.
What we are doing is projecting our hang-ups onto others. I commend my sister for not making it hard on my niece. She allows her to be a free thinker and encourages her to be comfortable in her own skin. How many of us can say that about ourselves? How many grown ass women feel comfortable in their own skin?
Moral of the story~ If you want to shave your legs because you like how smooth skin feels or looks, shave. If you shave your legs to please others – stop. There are more important things in life to worry about than hairy legs…