Several people felt moved to share their stories about shaving their legs, etc. Feel free to send your stories and I'll publish them here as well, if you'd like me to. I'm fascinated to hear different people's experiences. Each of these women is between 45-55. I'd love to hear from younger women and older to know your experiences - are they different? Do you feel societal pressure to shave different body parts? Is it limited to your legs and under your arms or is it also your pubic area? (If you're new to reading this blog, you might be interested in reading the entry from Feb 15, 2010 about landing strips and the pressure one young woman feels about shaving her pubic hair.)
Susan -- I started shaving in 9th grade and quit for the winter during my freshman year at college, then sophomore spring decided not to resume. Even now every spring when I first wear shorts I have a funny moment, like when you stick your toe in a cold lake.
[My daughter] Margaret started shaving when she went to middle school but quickly got disgusted and gave it up. In eighth grade a classmate who was trying to set up a conflict with her said, "Hey Margaret, why don't you shave your legs? Is it against your religion?" Margaret, secure soul that she is, reported this with genuine amusement.
I remember when my younger sister's first long-term boyfriend used to harass her about not shaving her legs above the knees. He railed at her for for being so "BOHEMIAN!" I'm not sure she even knew what that meant, but it surely wasn't a good thing. It used to piss me off to no end that he did that to her.
Luckily, our mom never pushed us to shave above the knees because we really didn't need to. It actually shocked me that the dork even noticed, much less ridiculed my sister for it. I wish I knew what she did back then, but I can't swear that she didn't cave to his abuse. .
(as for me, a razor has to this day never strayed above the kneecap on my legs) :)
i'm a lucky one . . . never really had to shave my legs at all . . . but the pit hair is another matter . . . my mother was mortified when in my 20's i decided to go all liberal on her and not shave . . . we would sit together around the pool at my apartment complex and she would stare at my armpits while we tried to converse . . . now my daughter has picked up that mantle . . . she has begged me to PLEASE shave the pits this summer, please, please, please . . . must be a generational thing, eh?