When I first sat down to write this post it was going to be a funny little anecdote about how I’ve never bought myself a razor. Up until very recently I’ve only had one razor that I’ve used for about the last 20 years. It came in a Christmas stocking a long time before I would ever have to use it. Just this week I received in the mail a free razor from Harry’s that a friend gifted to me.
With the book I’ve been reading I’ve been thinking a lot about shame and some of the things that trigger it for me. Remebering back to when I received my first razor brought back some tough memories. One section of the book talks about the different things which trigger shame for men and women. One of the big categories for women was looks and appearence. This didn’t seem to be as big for men, which given our society, was not surprising to me. This doesn’t mean that men can’t be shamed for their appearance though.
The razor was a gift I received around the same time a lot of my friends were begining to shave. As I mentioned it was a long time before I ever had to use it. The exact time has escaped me, but probably close to a couple years at least. To this day I don’t have a lot of body hair. This led to being made fun of a number of times. It even effected the clothes I would wear. Despite hot weather I would never wear shorts to school because I was embarrassed by the lack of hair on my legs. People would question it and I would just say I didn’t like shorts.
One hot summer day with a planned day of mountain biking with friends I did wear shorts because I knew we would end up very hot and likely in water. Besides I was going to be around friends who really wouldn’t care one way or the other. One aquaintance, who I didn’t expect to be there, upon seeing me in shorts took one look and said I can see why you don’t like shorts, you have girl legs.
Looking back there are obviously a number of things which are ridiculous about that statement. Why should anyone be made fun of for something like body hair? Why is it an insult to considered feminine in any way? Why did I let anything this person said have any effect on me?
It pains me that as a society we haven’t made more progress in the last two decades to the value that we put on looks. The fact that my children have to grow up where things like this still matters is beyond frustrating. All we can do is try our best to help them grow up with enough self confidence, and to value people for who they are, that they are resilient to these sorts of views.
Of course there are larger concerns with everything going on in the world these days. If we could all learn just to accept people for who they are and treat everyone with respect, regardless of how they look or the God they believe in, the world would be a lot happier place.
There are still many ways I’m self conscious when it comes to my appearance, but I’m working on it and getting better. Thankfully my lack of body hair isn’t one of the things that bother me anymore. If anything I’m glad I can get away without shaving for a few days at time. It’s probably one of the main reasons I was able to keep the same razor for so long, it didn’t get much use.