November 1st marked the beginning of a month of bearded students and faculty members marching through the hallways in support of the movement known as “No Shave November” or “Movember”. This event was created to raise awareness for prostate cancer back in 2004. The rules are simple: do not shave for the entire month of November.
The hair people grow is meant to contrast the hair that many cancer patients lose as a result of chemotherapy. Men from all over, and especially in our school, have been documenting their participation with proud pictures posted online. At Hills West,”Facial Hair Because We Care” was a contest for both students and teachers to see who could grow the best beard to raise money for diabetes. Although the main objective of “No Shave November” is simple: to raise money to fight disease, where do girls stand in their ability to participate in “No Shave November”? They have hair too; maybe it doesn’t grow on their face, but they certainly shave as well. Where is their contest? Should girls be allowed to participate in “No Shave November”?
The average girl is often trapped in the bounds of a society that expects girls to be cleanly shaven at all times. However, November presents an opportunity for women to put these expectations aside and embrace nature for a good cause. Senior Julianne Nicolette believes this idea should be embraced for both boys and girls alike. “Girls should definitely participate! It’s no secret that girls have leg hair. I think it means a lot more than it does to grow a beard, because beards are socially acceptable meanwhile getting the courage to show off your leg hair is a lot more challenging. I know it sounds gross, but I think we all do it in the winter anyways.” There is definitely merit to what she is saying. Some men have beards all year, and yet they are praised for their participation. Shouldn’t women receive recognition for breaking expectations?
On the other hand of the argument, November is cold. Women do not grow beards, not because it’s socially unacceptable but because it’s physically impossible. Holding a separate contest for them would just be inappropriate. Who would want to see postings of hairy legs on a school sponsored website? Not only can it be argued to be pointless, but many people also view it to be “disgusting”. Junior Josh Wende feels that it is repulsive for girls to participate. “It’s just gross. Why would any girl want to do that? Men can participate because they grow beards, which is socially accepted. Girls not shaving is disgusting in my opinion,” comments Wende.
This issue represents more than hair: it represents an issue of inequality between genders. Despite the trivial nature of this shaving in comparison to other gender-related arguments, it is important to recognize that a woman’s decision to participate in “No Shave November” is her own personal decision. Women should be free to participate in “No Shave November”; however, there is no need for it to be shared with the public. It is often considered inappropriate or unkempt for women to not shave their body hair. On the other hand, passionate feminists will certainly argue that this minuscule argument represents a larger role in the general view that men hold of woman. It is up to the individual to decide how he or she feel about the issue. Nevertheless, whether or not one chooses to share the intimate details of hair growth, women should be able to feel free and comfortable with their ability to participate in this beneficial cause.