Personal GROWTH

Girls' Life magazine|June/July 2020

Personal GROWTH
Body hair is another opportunity for women to excercise their ability to choose, even if that means having it *both* ways.

ALY VERNON, 1 7, ON HER JOURNEY OF SHAVING (AND NOT) IN A SOCIETY OF SMOOTHNESS.

Let’s flashback 17 years ago: I was born to a mother of Portuguese descent and a Jewish father. I was beautiful, I was smiling, I was gurgling gleefully...and I was high-key hairy. Luckily, because I was an infant and not yet aware of beauty ideologies, my furry appearance was of zero consequence to me.

But, soon enough, it would become an issue that practically dominated my existence.

Fast forward to fourth grade. I had reached puberty and (lucky me!) I developed early, sprouting rampantly growing patches of thick, dark fuzz all over my body.

Elementary school being what it is, my class was full of kids who very helpfully pointed this out: “Gosh, you’ve got really hairy legs!” and “You have really big eyebrows,” and let’s not forget my personal favorite, “You could be a boy.”

In a desperate attempt to gain some smoothness, I stole my mom’s razor and spent an hour in the shower removing every last hair from my body—and then another 30 minutes meticulously plucking away my unibrow.

By the time I was finished, I was nicked and bleeding and exhausted—but you better believe I was hairless. The razor was my new best friend!

The next day, I strutted off to school in a short skirt and tank top and impressed my friends with my lovely dolphin-like legs (and a couple gruesome battle scars).

My glory, however, was short-lived. When I woke up the next morning, I reached down to stroke my sleek calves and recoiled in horror—my fingers instead encountered an unexpected prickliness. Upon closer inspection, I found tiny black hairs poking through my skin’s surface. I ran to my mom, confessed to my razor thieving and pleaded for help. She informed me that stubble was a simple fact of life. I considered my future: Shaving was no easy task...and performing that tedious chore practically every day for the rest of my life? It seemed like a punishment—like torture!—tbh.

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June/July 2020