Bana & Saroop

Part 5: Revisiting Shaving Questions

In “Part 2: Why do women shave?” I listed some common reasons as to why Sikh girls choose to shave. In this post, I come back to the questions and try to give my opinions regarding each point.

Sikh girls! Why do you shave?

It’s gross not to:

  • We have been socially conditioned to think this way.
  • I had a Sikh friend once who used to shave and then decided not to. To get over the idea that “it’s gross,” she would stand in front of the mirror, every day, raise her arms, look at her hairy armpits and tell herself, “I am natural and this is beautiful.” She soon re-conditioned herself to actually believe her hair was beautiful.

I want to be physically pretty:

  • You still can be pretty. Just check out this celebrity page and you can see that it is the way you carry yourself that impacts your outward beauty.
  • The biggest thing is confidence. Be confident, strong, and bold and people will you your charisma and beauty shine through.
  • You personally should define what is “pretty,” not society.
  • “I am a 52 year old woman, and I haven’t shaved — arm pits or legs — since I was about 19. I disagree with the “make the world pretty” statement, and would like to point out that the perception of body hair being unfeminine or “ugly” is something that we have been taught by ads and our very shallow, commercialized main stream culture,” (Laura, 2).

It’s hygienic:

  • Keeping your hair is not unhygienic.
  • If shaving your unshaven armpits was unhygienic then men who don’t shave would be unsanitary.
  • If you have to shave your armpits to be hygienic, why not every other part of your body? Your arms? Your head? Your eyebrows?
  • There is no proof that hairy legs leads to disease, (1).

I want to wear shorts:

  • If you want to wear shorts, dresses, and go swimming, you still can. Build the strength and courage to do so.
  • “Not shaving has given me the biggest confidence boost of my life. I have so much more energy to do stuff now that I’m not worried if my leg hair is showing or about not raising my arms. Never going back,” (Hairy Pits Club, 2).

I don’t want to look like a guy:

  • Your armpits and leg hair is not the way someone tells if you are a man or a woman. If that was the case then winter clothing would send us into confusion.
  • Also, some men choose to shave for swimming or biking purposes. So does that mean, if you, a woman, decides to shave then, would that make you look like a man too?
  • Express your womanliness in other ways.
  • “A great figure or physique is nice, but it’s self-confidence that makes someone really sexy,” (Vivica Fox, 2).

I won’t have any friends:

  • If your friends are so shallow that they can’t accept you for who you are, then maybe you should reconsider their friendship.
  • I did not lose a single friend when I started exposing my legs. It almost served as a test to see who really was my true friend…and they all passed.
  • I asked my friends what they thought of me and my hairy legs and they honestly told me that they didn’t care or that they thought it was really brave of me. One girl said, “I wish I could do that. I hate shaving.”

I’ll get teased:

  • This might be the case. This was one reason I decided not to show off my hairy legs until I was in college. I found by that time, people were mature enough not to say anything or were polite and curious to ask me questions, which was a perfect way to talk about Sikhi. In college I found other girls who didn’t shave too.

I want a life partner:

  • If a person is strong enough to handle who you are, deep enough to see past your hair, and intelligent enough to know that you are empowered, then that person is partner material.
  • If a person is superficial and shallow and demands that you shave, I say, “forget it.” If s/he wants you to fit into the mold of western beauty and injects sexism into the relationship who knows what else s/he’ll want you to do next….never take off your makeup? Always wear high heels and jewelry? Stay at home and not work?
  • There are plenty of good, hot people who will love you for who you are. Believe me.
  • Have an open and honest conversation about it with your partner. If at first s/he is confused, maybe if s/he sees your point of view, s/he’ll come around to it and support you.
  • “I never had trouble getting dates or having a relationship. The men I have had serious relationships with didn’t care about body hair, and they ranged from a street artist to a multimillionaire. What they had in common was a desire to look and live below the surface of life. That’s not to say that women can’t shave and live a less shallow, more meaningful life — but imagine if women shed the market-driven perception of our natural, hairy state as being “ugly” and put all the time, energy and resources we spend on shaving into sustainable living practices and making the world a better place. Include cosmetics and other beauty products, and we could probably solve all the world’s major problems in a couple of years,” (Laura, 2).

Swimming will be awkward:

  • Not if you don’t make it. Have confidence.
  • Get a bunch of your friends together who don’t shave and descend on the beach.  Strength and confidence in numbers!
  • Focus on fitness. If you’re in shape, people will be distracted not by your hair but by other things 😉

Read Part 6 Shaving & Body Image

By Lakhpreet Kaur





  • Sarvjot
    07/08/2014 at 3:20 am

    This is very well written. Inspired me. Thank you

  • Ravkiran Kaur
    08/19/2014 at 10:58 pm

    Hi Lakhpreet didi! I love this article and it taught and inspired me. This is outstanding! 🙂

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