On Beards and Legs

The great endeavour of writing a thesis is often associated with the equally great endeavour of growing a Thesis Beard. A man in full beard is truly a magnificent sight to behold! I would love to take part in this time-honoured tradition while writing my own thesis. Alas, I am female, and cannot grow a beard to save my life.

“Still,” I thought, “there must be a way.” Like our male counterparts, women shave regularly – legs and armpits and whatnot. And so I contemplated a time-saving no-shaving Thesis Leg endeavour.

Trouble is, leg hair on females is not received in quite the same way as facial hair on males. When a man grows out his beard, many people think he’s awesome, and at worst he receives some good-natured teasing. But if a woman doesn’t shave her legs or her pits, the majority of people think it’s gross. I’ve seen this firsthand when brave young women, friends and peers of mine, have worn shorts or skirts with unshaved legs. People stare, faces curled in disgust, muttering to each other, “Ewww, did you see her legs? I can’t believe she doesn’t shave!”

Sometimes I think “Fuck it, I’m writing a thesis, I don’t have time for this shit!” And I go for my walk to the beach in my short shorts with my hairy legs on display.

But then the hair grows a bit longer, and I think “Fuck it, I’m writing at thesis, I don’t need the extra emotional battle that comes from knowing how I’ll be judged.” And so I shave.

At the end of the day my thesis is nearing completion so it’s too late for me to start a Thesis Leg trend. But I’m left wondering: What gives, society? Why such a stigma around female body hair?