Defining Beauty for Yourself

Defining Beauty for Yourself

The week before we moved back to Georgia from Connecticut, I decided to get a sweet buzzcut. I’d wanted one for a long time and the new chapter before us felt like the perfect opportunity. I felt so good with it. I hadn’t been satisfied with my hair for a while, like ever really. I’d had some pretty kickass haircuts in my time but I was always concerned with how my hair looked, fidgeting with it. Once I had the buzzcut, I didn’t think about it. It was way more freeing than I expected and led to other choices that have helped me feel more myself.

A few months ago I stopped shaving my legs and armpits. More recently I’ve been wearing bras less and less. Both of those choices were another way to free myself from what others expect of me and love myself more fully. I never had any reason to shave other than my culture expected me to. I had no reason to wear a bra unless it actually served a purpose like a sports bra or fun lingerie. And when I wondered why shaving and bras were the norm, I realized that I was being sexualized in a way that was not okay with me. Our culture infantilizes women, and I believe that the expectation of a hairless body and perky breasts are part of that. Women naturally have hairy legs and armpits, pubic hair, and breasts that sit where they please. Young girls have the appearance of smooth legs and armpits, no pubic hair, and developing “perky” breasts. And we all know which attributes are more attractive in our culture. The only reason I had been shaving and wearing a bra was out of fear of being perceived as unattractive. And eventually I was just like…fuck that.

So I decided that I would at least try the hairy braless life. It took some time to feel comfortable and to not think about it in public. But by the time summer rolled around, it was totally normal to me. And I like the way I look. I like the way my legs feel. I feel so much more comfortable not wearing a bra. I haven’t had any issues with my workplace with the way that I dress. I’ve been around my family with hairy legs and pits on display. I’ve received positivity about my look from partners and dates. I feel a lot more confident because I’m expressing a deeper part of myself through the way I look.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying smooth legs or wearing a bra if you choose to out of preference or necessity for the kind of breasts you have. It all comes down to why you’re making the choices you’re making. For me, I was subscribing to someone else’s definition of beautiful and sexy. Now I’m expressing my own ever-evolving definition and it feels real good.