Monday, 6 October 2014

I'm not shaving my legs - a poem for my daughter

This poem was born out of two things: a conversation I had on Twitter and a memory I have of cuddling my little girl when she was just two years old (she's now six.) She was wearing a little summer dress at the time, and I can remember hugging her warm, tiny body, and looking down and seeing the fine, dark hairs on her back and thinking, knowing, that one day she will be teased and mocked for it. Mocked and made to feel shame just for being dark, half-Italian and not perfectly smooth. I also have an uneasy feeling that I am part of the problem, since I proliferate our society's obsession with hairless women every single time I wax and shave. This is my response. This is for LJ x

I'm not shaving my legs, it's a choice that I've made
I'm tired of being told how I have to behave.
I'm supposed to be hairy, for why does it grow? 
"You're a woman, you fool. What the hell do you know?"
I'm not shaving my legs, I think that it's wrong
To pluck and to wax whenever it's long
"But you'll look so hairy and terribly butch!
"You'll feel so prickly and horrid to touch!"
I'm not shaving my legs, it gives me a rash,
And I hate waxing my face to get rid of my tash.
It's natural to have hair on my arms and my chin
I'm not shaving my legs, just so I fit in. 
"But you'll be so manly, just like a bloke!"
"You'll be so hairy, you'll be a joke!"
I'm not shaving my legs, and here is why:
One day I will listen to my little girl cry
And all because she doesn't conform
Her body doesn't fit into a cultural norm
She has hair on her legs and her arms and her back
She must shave it all off or face the attack
Of a world that expects her to be so smooth
So naked and bare and this she must choose
But I say, NO to the tyranny of the blade!
And screw you too, this world that we've made.
I will celebrate my girl and all she can be
But right now, this day, she just wants to be me.
And mummy is smooth and silky and bare
My girl wants to be me, and have no hair.
I'm not shaving my legs, it's a thing I must do
For if her legs are hairy, then mine will be too.

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