Question: What are your thoughts on shaving underarms?

Moonlight asks…

What are your thoughts on shaving?

As someone who is seen as a woman, it is expected that I will shave my legs and underarms religiously, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. As of a couple of years ago I stopped shaving my legs and it felt very good. I was scared, at first, to wear shorts, but am now totally comfortable with it. Then I stopped shaving my underarms except for when I would be wearing something that would show my underarm hair. But very recently I have stopped shaving my underarms altogether.

As with my legs before, I am terrified of letting anyone see this hair, but unwilling to shave it off. It just seems like underarm hair is a way bigger deal and I will be judged more harshly for it. I’m tired of avoiding raising my arms above my head when I wear a tank top.

What do you think? Do you have any advice?

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «

Posted by on October 24th, 2013 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 14 comments »

14 Responses to “Question: What are your thoughts on shaving underarms?”

  1. Aurora

    I am FAAB and right now questioning whether or not I am genderqueer. Shaving, for me, has always been cyclical. I used to not shave and cover up the hair, I used to shave only my legs and let everyone see my underarm hair, and now I shave both my legs and underarms but still don’t usually let people see those parts of my body. People used to ask me if my underarm hair helped make my deodorant work better, so that could be an excuse you use if you are feeling uncomfortable. I guess my question to you would be, are *you* feeling uncomfortable with showing underarm hair, or is society and their reaction to it what’s bothering you? If it’s the latter, I would go ahead and not shave your underarms and wear whatever you want, and you’ll eventually get used to it. But if you, personally, like shaving your underarms, regardless of your gender, do that. I hope you figure out what works best for you!


  2. Anonymous

    Yeah…faab here too. I identify as nonbinary/genderqueer/genderfluid…I stopped shaving due to dysphoria and never looked back. I really think it depends on your social situation and what you want for your body and what you can deal with from other people. For example, I shave when I spend extended time with my family, because I am not out to most of them, and I am not ready to make that leap. With my friends, I tend to just not shave, but I receive flak verbally from some of them, who tease me a bit and in general question/gender police me. I don’t care with them though, because I just snap sassy replies back at them or give them looks and then just tell them that it’s what makes me most comfortable, and then repeat that until they give up. For some reason I don’t feel comfortable doing that with my family…Also, one doctor I go to, I don’t shave for (if I know she may see my legs/armpits), because I know she won’t give me too hard a time about it…Another doctor I do shave for, because she is more judgmental, and as of right now, it causes me less stress to just shave and let the hair grow back then to exert energy dealing with her bother. I also intend to stop seeing the latter doctor, so that’s also a factor. As for the general public, it used to bother me, so I wouldn’t go out unshaven, but now I just don’t care and don’t let comments get to me. I am still figuring out what to do about being around employers, but so far, my work has required me to wear sleeves, and my workplace has been too cold to wear anything other than pants, so I am figuring it’s kind of a non-issue in that regard. As for lovers, if they aren’t down with my hair, I figure they won’t respect the rest of me, and I just steer clear of those yahoos. That’s what works for me with it.

    Best of luck to you!


  3. Bee

    I’m FAAB, haven’t shaved my armpits or legs since high school, while presenting feminine, masculine, and everything in between, and while dating men and women.

    People just don’t really bring it up. Sometimes a person will be like, “Oh, hey, you don’t shave,” in a neutral way, and I’m like, “Nope,” and they’re like, “Cool.”

    In fifteen years I can only remember one time when someone commented about my body hair in a negative way. I was standing at the bus stop in a sundress and a car full of teenage girls pulled up at the stoplight. The driver said “EW THAT GIRL GIRL DON’T SHAVE HER LEGS!” and the other girls laughed and then they drove off. I didn’t know who they were and never saw them again.

    So like… if worrying about what people will say is the only thing holding you back, I’d say do it.


  4. Anonymous

    sounds weird but i personally just forced my self to wear the tank tops after i stopped shaving my underarms, even though thinking about people seeing made me a bit uncomfortable. eventually, i stopped thinking about it, and no ones said anything except those who ive told i stopped shaving.


  5. MEl

    I’m a Gender Fluid myself and I run into the same kind of awkward “Should I shave? Should I not?” Thoughts from time to time.
    For me it really depended greatly on where I was and the people around me for the comments I would get. Like I can go swimming all hairy and no one seems to care. But then one time I was at a wally world and this grown man WITH his wife and small kids stopped to point, laugh and then loudly say “Babe! Look at dem bushy things! Don’t go getting any ideas now, That shit don’t fly in MY HOME.”
    I was a little shocked and shaken.. But then I saw that ALL the people near by that saw this were looking at HIM with disgust and it never really got to me after that. My legs are almost as hairy as most men and my arm pits are no different. Do what makes you happy and let other people get over themselves if they don’t like it.


  6. Thomas

    I am also FAAB, and identify outside the socially constructed gender binary. I stopped shaving a few years ago after gradually giving up. First it was “only if the outfit needs it,” and then I began to question why I felt the outfit “needs” it and realized I only thought that because I thought thats what everyone else expected. Now, no matter how feminine or revealing my clothing, I’m still not shaving my legs or pits, who cares what others expect. Part of what helped me accept that my own hair is ok was knowing that a very feminine, female friend of mine NEVER shaved, and she didn’t think it somehow threatened her Femme identity, but instead felt that Femme could include her FAAB body as is, hairy pits and all. I’ve been lucky though and never really encountered any ignorance about it, people just accept it same as they accept my eye colour.


  7. Em

    I’m faab and genderqueer and I don’t shave at all. I was really self conscious at first, but I’m comfortable expressing myself the way I see fit now. I’ve only gotten crap because of it once from my sister. Everyone else just doesn’t care enough to say anything which is nice.


  8. Anonymous

    FAAB, and I don’t shave. I got a lot of daft crap about it from my parents at first, but they stopped after a year or so. And it’s terrifying at first, because it’s a taboo, but you get over it and now I don’t worry at all. I think you’ll find it’s the same as with your legs.

    I love my underarm hair. It’s a part of me I actively really like.


  9. roadstermom

    I’m a
    Mom and back in the day I was the deadhead hippie artist and no one shaved anything nor disrespect anyone different. We were individuals dancing at dead shows in full freedom now being a bit older and suitwearing shaving is for comfort in stockings I dont know why anyone has a right to say anything that is just ridiculous but if you are not comfortable just use creme bleach just be comfortable


  10. Ryan

    I haven’t shaved my legs in a long time and was initially reeeaaaally conscious of it. After a while, though, I realized that I paid more attention to it than anyone else, and now I love it – can’t imagine shaving my legs.
    Of course, I may decide to shave it all off tomorrow, but that will be because I want to (not because it’s expected or deemed appropriate)
    I do shave my armpits, though I definitely do it infrequently. That’s mostly because I think armpit hair is gross on anyone, male or female or anywhere in between.


  11. Callista

    I can’t imagine not shaving. I use an epilator on pretty much everything except the hair on my head (which gets a buzz cut sometimes anyhow). I don’t know how you guys deal with the constant tickling of hair on skin, but whatever–if you don’t smell, it’s cool with me.


  12. Anonymous

    I’m FAAB and have never shaved any body parts. Some people will care, but if someone’s going to judge you on one small aspect of your physical appearance, it’s probably not worth trying to please them.

    I wear sleeveless tops and shorts with unshaven armpits & legs in the summer, and have never gotten crap for it, but I’m fortunate enough to mostly hang out with people who aren’t bothered by what other people do with their bodies.


    Sastry.M replied:

    Absolutely! there is no need to go against nature to be ashamed about the basic hairy protection it has given to womanhood and the most sacred task of delivering both gendered human offspring. The most grotesque and stupid acceptance by women is to fall prey for male provocation whose greedy design is their shaving industry and whose superficial ploy is half millimeter skin depth hygiene which shaving forgoes deep rooted health basically required of women as the human procreative natural plants next to mother earth. Review the general abuse against women and degraded health statistics over the web and realize their anatomy and biological designs are not the brainchilds of respective university professors but benevolent nature and divine grace!


  13. Reyes

    I’m also FAAB. I was actually discussing this earlier with someone. I don’t shave my legs, but then sometimes I feel like I want to, so I do. But then sometimes I feel like only shaving the bottom part of my legs, so I do, and then I go right back to not shaving them at all. I didn’t shave my armpits for a while, but then I realized I kinda would rather have no hair there, and also, I don’t get body odor as easily there if I shave my armpits (+deodorant).

    On the other hand, I think part of the reason I shave my legs when I do is because of society’s pressure for people who are FAAB to do so (like if I wear shorts. However, sometimes I shave my legs just because it’s nice to have smooth legs sometime :) Also, a lot of the time I’m just way too lazy to shave, and I’m all about the struggle-free lifestyle :P

    I think as long as your personal hygiene is good to go, you should be good to go no matter whether you choose to shave or not.


Leave a Reply

Can I show your picture? If you have a Gravatar associated with this email address, it will be displayed as your photo. If not, I'll just put a picture of a fork next to your comment. Everybody likes forks.

Be nice. Judgmental comments will be quietly deleted and blacklisted. There's plenty of room for those elsewhere on the web.

For legal reasons, you must be age 13 or older to post a comment on Genderfork.

You can use some HTML tags for formatting, e.g. <em>...</em> for emphasis (italics) or <strong>...</strong> for strong emphasis (bold) or <a href="http://(url)">...</a> for links.

Back to top