Question: Patchy Leg Hair

Veraswami asks…

What do you do if your leg hair is weirdly distributed? Since I have let mine grow out, I’ve noticed that hair only grows from mid-calf down, and on patches on the knees. It has been about two weeks. My hairy legs look really strange, but they don’t look masculine or even like a symbol of my rebellion. Instead, they look as if I’ve inexplicably shaved only parts of them. Have any of you had similar issues? Is aesthetics a reasonable defense for shaving? I would appreciate others’ opinions.

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on June 3rd, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 31 comments »

31 Responses to “Question: Patchy Leg Hair”

  1. Danny

    The expectation for girls to shave their legs, and the idea that it’s gross or dirty or ugly if they don’t, is totally stupid.

    But if you want to shave your legs, particularly because they would look or feel better to you, then you have nothing to defend.

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  2. Moriquendu

    My (male) cousin has leg hair like that. It seems pretty normal. I don’t, but my problem is that mine is too fine and light to even be seen. Honestly, if mine was visible and naturally patchy, I’d probably try to shave it into crop circles or something.

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  3. Miles

    Mine only grows on the front, when I don’t shave! I think it’s a circulation issue, though, haha.

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  4. mc

    mine grows funny as well, which started after I began removing it when I was in my mid teens. I now remove it to make myself feel better, even though no one ever sees my legs.

    I honestly think that people should be allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies, and we shouldn’t be pressured to shave or not shave our legs. Either way, pressure to look a certain way is pressure, whether it comes from patriarchy or feminists.

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  5. Quinn

    I’m really glad you asked this! I have the same problem. I’ve honestly considered shaving over those oddly light/less hairy patches, in the hopes that the hair will grow in darker. But I think it’s just how it is; I’ve noticed some bio-men have the same “problem”, and no one ever points it out. I don’t think many people aside from yourself are going to notice how your leg hair grows in, or care. So do whatever you want with ‘em! :)

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  6. Anonymous

    Shave your legs if you want to. Don’t if you don’t. I have never once noticed, “that person has uneven leg hair” in my life, and I am pretty into looking at how people present themselves.

    On the other hand, I do not know why anyone, masculine or feminine would want leg hair. I don’t dislike the look or feel of body hair on other people, but I hate the feeling of hair on my own legs. Ick.

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  7. Cydne

    My mum has this exact same thing! And my ex boyfriend has really hairy thighs and calves, but completely bald knees!

    My leg hair is mostly even, but only if I bother to shave regularly. Otherwise, it starts getting patchy.

    Shave it or don’t, whatever feels good to you!

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  8. Jørgen

    @MC
    “whether it comes from patriarchy or feminists”

    Pfff, finaly someone who dares say feminisme is just as oppressive as patriarchy. The freedomfighters of one generation are the oppressiors of the next.
    Luckily for us, genderbender would fit neither patriarcy or feminisme as a description…
    (I don’t feel like nuancing today, even though I know that I should…)

    As for the hairy legs… what ever’s your fancy. If the esthetics of smooth legs apeals you more than patchy hair, shave. If you want the freedom of not having to shave over some unmotivated norm that woman should have smooth legs to be beautifull… Or even more so, if you just like patchy hair, don’t shave.

    I don’t think I would actually notice, and if I did, I would probably have deep respect for that person.

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  9. Jay

    Just wanted to say two things. One: “Is aesthetics a reasonable defense for shaving?” Isn’t aesthetics the ONLY reason for shaving? (Excluding any possibly physical health reasons that I can’t think of right now, or prep for a operation or something.)

    And two, word to this: “Pfff, finaly someone who dares say feminisme is just as oppressive as patriarchy. The freedomfighters of one generation are the oppressiors of the next.”

    I do take slight issue with the feminism is ‘just as’ oppressive patriarchy, because I think there are distinctions to be made there (type of oppression, for example), but my head is to sore to think in nuances. But definitely in agreement with that second line.

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  10. mc

    ooh, I wouldn’t say it’s JUST as oppressive. The great thing about feminism is that there are so many kinds. And the basic thing about feminism is that everyone should be given equal opportunity.

    But I’m no fan of Andrea Dworkin’s “Do what I say!” brand that makes me feel as awful as patriarchy. In fact, it makes me feel worse, even. If someone, a girl, a boy, wants to shave and pluck and wax and prettify, then they should do so. I don’t want to feel guilty for wanting smooth legs.

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  11. Adisson

    definitely have the same problem. I have to bald patches on my shins where my boots rub. Can’t think of a damn thing to do about it, so I rock it. :D

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  12. Joel

    Honestly, I think it’s mixture of time and genetics. I stopped shaving my legs about 3 years ago and it took awhile for the hair to distribute evenly. It’s fine now except that I’m mostly bald on the back of my calves but when comparing my leg hair with my father’s, I found he has the same problem. So I don’t think it’s anything to fret about.
    Good luck with your decision.

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  13. Samson

    I shave mine because when I let it grow, it looks and feels strange to me–though I’m willing to bet that would change over time if I just let it be–but: my dad has patchy leg hair and about half of his calves are bare. Some people’s body hair is so brittle that the friction of socks/pants/clothes breaks it off, so that’s our family’s problem.

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  14. Anonymous

    Patchy leg hair is usually the result of wearing tight pants, as odd as that may sound. The fabric rubs against your skin and restricts hair growth in some places. Lots of guys (especially the emo/indie variety) have uneven body hair because of their tight trousers. You can try shaving it off and wearing shorts or baggy pants while it grows back, or you can just roll with it. After all, masculinity/femininity/genderforkery is in your tude, not in your follicules.

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  15. ZenGato

    Mine is not patchy but I have almost none on the back of my legs or thighs. You should not feel that you have to defend shaving or not – it is totally up to you. I doubt anyone notices though.

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  16. Tamworth

    I have never shaved, except armpits and that’s only ‘cos when they get sweaty it’s like eeeeurgh. Honestly, I don’t even care, I let my pit hair grow a lot just to not bother with shaving. I find it’s kind of a massive hassle and the aesthetics bit of it is kind of moot seeing as my leg hair is extremely fine and soft and short and nonexistent, and shaving would have it grow back all icky.

    But to reiterate what Jay said: aesthetics/medical reasons are like the only reason for shaving. Pressure from society is NOT, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re conforming just ‘cos of non-hairy legs that you feel good about.

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  17. Anonymous

    A friend of mine has a hair pigment issue, and he has patches of gray hair on his legs, so he wears really colorful socks to draw attention away from it when he wears shorts.

    Frankly even if I were a guy I would probably shave my under arms b/c hair there weirds me out.

    Maybe you shaved unevenly and then tried to grow it out. You could try a clean good shave and start from scratch.

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  18. Jessica

    Body hair that has been shaved for years grows differently from hair that has not. For one thing, body hair that has not been shaven affects the follicles because the hair gets tugged this way and that as we move about. For another, there is irritation that occurs as a process of shaving. It is an unnatural activity.

    Also, the hair growth that is a secondary gender characteristic (ie increased body hair we have after puberty) is non-uniform. Some scientists believe that this was an important part of individual recognition before we started covering our bodies with clothes.

    As we grow older, our body hair changes, largely in response to different hormone levels in our bodies. More hair may grow in some places and less in others (see male pattern baldness). Most men over fifty, who have been shaving since their teens, hate the beards they can grow – they tend to look like something that was savaged by a weasel.

    Philips has an interesting gadget that allows you to prevent your hair from growing, rather than shaving it off as it grows. http://www.consumer.philips.com/c/hair-removal/lumea-sc2001_00/prd/gb/ Does not work for red or white hair, apparently.

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  19. Ani

    My own legs are exactly the same. Even better is the hair from mid calf down for me is sometimes red. . .while everywhere else is white and hardly noticeable.

    I only shave if I feel the need to, which is rare. No one has seemed to mind or notice, at least. . .never said anything to me. One of my past lovers actually told me she liked it when I didn’t shave. So you never know!

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  20. Billie

    My leg hairs grow even and very dark, very long, very hairy. I try to make myself as masculine as possible, but body hair is something I just can’t abide. So I shave it. People who are comfortable with it don’t really notice it on others. Mainly people who present are the ones who notice. So do whatever feels best.

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  21. Corbyn

    If you really want leg hair, then you can try some of the products used for balding on your legs and see if it helps grow hair in a more even distribution. It could be worth a shot.
    Not many people are really going to notice it either, and so if you like the way you look with your hair then keep it. Those who would notice it aren’t worth the opinion they state.

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  22. Nicholas

    It’s your body, do what you want with it. I think personal aesthetics take a front seat to looking any particular way, or to show rebellion (personally, I’d phrase it “personal expression” rather than rebellion–I don’t feel like anyone is involved in how I present my body other than myself, so there’s no fighting at any point!)

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  23. Dax

    I’m biologically female, and my leg hair is the same. It is invisible and fine until halfway down my shin, then dark and course until the ankle. I flaunt it anyway. :)

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  24. ElegantAndrogyne

    Leg hair? Ugh. I HATE having hair anywhere other than my head! So, I shave every second or third week, and am very keen on laser epilation. Pity that the procedure costs so much…

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  25. shadowcat

    i grew out my leg hair in november. i barely have any on the back of my legs, just mostly on my shins.

    what i’m frustrated with is that the hair is still rough. while there is long hair, there still are lots of short hairs. it’s annoying.

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  26. Nick

    You don’t need a defense for shaving. Just figure out what you think looks and feels best. Some girls shave theig legs, some girls don’t. Some guys shave their legs, some guys don’t.

    I never shaved my legs, yet I naturally have patchy leg hair. I think lots of people do.
    Personally, I don’t care.

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  27. Anonymous

    i have to have some x rays taken next week and i’m freaking out because they will make me wear a gown, which will expose my legs. i never shave, and my leg hair is very visible. i know i shouldn’t but i’m worried of what they will think.

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  28. Sean

    I had an auto immune disease when I was little that caused ate the pigment in part of my leg and on my knees, so the hair on my leg grows in white (I don’t have any leg hair on my knees). The hair on the backs of my legs is pretty sparse too. No one ever notices until I bring it up (usually because we’re talking about auto immune diseases, which happens surprisingly often), and they’re surprised when I do bring it up. People generally don’t pay attention to how leg hair grows in, just whether it’s there/not there, and even then not everyone notices.

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  29. jamessooy

    A friend of mine has leg hair that only grows on the flanks (outside) of his legs. After several hour at a BBQ with he mention it. I, nor anyone else, had noticed.

    It seems the best way to hide a pattern in your leg hair would be to show your legs off more, and get a bit of a tan.

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  30. Cyk

    Yeah I have a similar thing going on, I don’t really mind but it’s up to you and what you feel comfortable with, I could’t make up my mind so i’ve taken to shaving one leg and not the other. But then again some people might find that strange. Weigh up your options, which bothers you more? Having hair or not?

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  31. Angelica

    I have the same problem, and considered shaving just because I was annoyed at how patchy it was. I pointed it out to a male friend of mine and how it annoyed me, and how showed me that he had the same problem, and mentioned that it was a result of where our pant legs tend to rub most. But after he showed me his legs, I felt reassured at knowing that men suffer from the same patchiness I do, and now I feel much better about my leg hair.

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