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Women show off pictures of their luscious leg hair, because feminism

Charlotte Hilton Andersen is the author of the book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything and runs the popular health and fitness website of the same name, where she tries out a new workout every month, specializing...

Women are quitting shaving and feeling freer than ever with photos to prove it

Have you ever stopped and really thought about why we shave our legs? Why do we all stand like flamingos in a slippery shower holding a blade between our teeth while slathering expensive cream on our legs — and we're not even training to be in the circus? Is there a health reason we mow off the hair or is it just aesthetics?

Well now a new movement is saying no more "non-essential grooming" including shaving legs and pits and thousands of women are responding by posting pics of themselves au naturel.

Groups like The Hairy Legs Club on Tumblr and the Very Hairy Legs blog are encouraging women to embrace their natural beauty and not be ashamed of their body hair.

"When I first stopped shaving my legs, it took a while for me to feel confident about it and seeing pictures of other women doing the same helped me get used to it," one blogger told the Daily Mail. "I guess I post mine now because I like them — I like the way they look and that they remind me I’m not obligated to do anything I don’t want with my body."

The Hairy Legs Club

Photo credit: The Hairy Legs Club via Tumblr

As a girl who started shaving her legs in fourth grade (no my mom didn't know), this is a message that resonates with me. I was teased mercilessly for my early sprouting, made even more visible by my naturally black hair and pale skin. So one day, like many other girls, I "borrowed" my mom's pink Bic and went to town. I'll spare you the details but I didn't realize you had to shave with the blades horizontal to your skin. I slid them up my leg vertically. That bloody bathtub still haunts my dreams.

Now as a grown woman however, I don't even think about it. I put the conditioner in my hair and then assume the death-defying-flamingo pose and shave while I go over my grocery list in my head or yell at my kids to stop bringing food into the bathroom and demanding I make them a snack. (Yeah, that happened.) It's become second nature to me and I'll admit that I do love the feel of sliding into bed with freshly shaven legs. And I'm guessing my husband does too.

The Hairy Legs Club

Photo credit: The Hairy Legs Club via Tumblr

The most common response from outsiders to the movement is: "GROSS." And yet participants say they feel feminine, clean, happy, proud of their bodies — anything but gross. And of course there's no health code they are breaking and perhaps their hair may even provide a little sun protection?

This is exactly what the hairy legs movement is trying to fix: Having body hair is only gross because we've been taught it's gross. (Apparently it started in the '40s as a way to look like you were wearing nylons when you weren't.) If none of us ever shaved our legs, then body hair would just be normal again and no one would care about it or even notice it. We've basically made the group decision to lock our entire gender into a daily ritual that has no health benefit.

The Hairy Legs Club

Photo credit: The Hairy Legs Club via Tumblr

Plus, have you ever forgotten to shave and then realized you had to change your outfit to hide your shameful hair? I've had to add a cardigan, put on tights or wear pants simply because I didn't have time to shave. That's the worst.

And yet. I still shaved my legs today. I probably will tomorrow too. While I love their message, I'm still so ingrained in what's "right" and "proper" that I think I'd feel too self-conscious. Or maybe it would be liberating? One of these days I'm going to gather up my courage and let my leg hairs fly free.

The Hairy Legs Club

Photo credit: The Hairy Legs Club via Tumblr

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Thanks to Buzzfeed, I finally looked at my vagina
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