Is Shaving Your Legs a Double Standard?

Suzannah WeissThanks to my Facebook friends I’ve been made aware of a story about women shaving their legs in the news. It’s really about one woman not shaving her legs and she uses the argument that women shaving their legs is a double standard.

Suzannah Weiss wrote the piece for Yahoo! Beauty and seems to think a couple of things. That women shaving their legs when men don’t is a double standard. Also that women largely shave their legs to please men. She mentions that some women shave their legs because they like the look and they should be able to make that choice without judgement.

I suppose Weiss is simply trying to be encouraging to other women out there who don’t want to shave their legs. Perhaps she is trying to shame men who prefer smooth legs on women. I can’t speak to her motivation but the idea that it is somehow a double standard seems wrong to me. If a woman shaving her legs is a double standard then so too must be a man wearing a tie, a woman in high heels, a man who shaves his face, either sex who shaves their genitalia.

Weiss then goes on to explain that a great barometer of a man’s respect for a woman is if he thinks a woman is obligated to look pleasing to him. If a man expects a woman to look nice for him, apparently he is a bad fellow. Likewise it seems that it’s at least a negative thing for a woman to want to look pleasing for a man. If she wants to do it for herself, that’s fine. But wanting to look nice for a man? No good.

I’m a Libertarian. I believe we should always do what’s in our best self-interest. But this doesn’t mean we should be isolated. What is often in our self-interest is doing things that are pleasing to those around us. This is how we form friendships, relationships, and manage to exist in society.

One thing I noticed in the picture to the article Weiss is wearing a flower in her hair. Did she do that to please herself? Could not someone argue using her exact same points that wearing a flower in her hair is misguided attempt to be pretty to those around her? That men don’t wear flowers in their hair. Are flowers in the hair a double standard? Are men who like women with flowers in their hair somehow worse men? Are women who put flowers in their hair to please men wrong to do so?

If a woman wants to shave her legs to please a man, to please herself, or because she’s a competitive swimmer, more power to her. If she doesn’t want to, for whatever reason, fine again. If men like shaved legs on a woman, good for them. If they don’t, fine and dandy.

For purposes of full disclosure, I love smooth legs on a woman.

Tom Liberman

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