I remember the day I came home in fifth grade
and insisted that my mother
teach me how to shave my legs
She tried to talk me out of it
but I was young and fiercely adamant,
so she sighed and relented,
and I shaved my legs and pits for fifteen years
hating every single stroke
and every bump of angry razor burn
I earned with my demand

What I never told her
was the truth about why
I wanted to be allowed this next step of “womanhood”
when she asked, I replied,
“all the other girls are doing it”
(which was a lie, it was only a few)
The truth is this:
a friend of mine told me after school
that during recess, a few classmates
had been laughing at me
pointing at my dark haired hairy legs
while I sat in peaceful bliss on a jungle gym
at a mere eleven years old.

So I, young and confused and ashamed,
took on a lifelong beauty regimen I hated
until I learned the truth
about why women shave their legs-
greedy men in the early 1900s wanted to sell more fucking razors
so they marketed female hair as unhygienic or undesirable
and this lie persists a hundred years later

Beauty regimens should be a choice
not a requirement of society
Do what you want with your body
and stop letting dead old white men
dictate your one precious life