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Welcome to Green Gal's blog, where you'll find stories, recipes, gardening updates, and green tips related to nature, adventure, placemaking, and food systems. This blog is written by a young woman entrepreneur who is also a beginning farmer-gardener and seasoned sustainability educator who loves to grow, cook, ferment, and eat local and ecologically happy food.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

No Shave November

The free and wild spirit of UC Santa Cruz draws many different sorts of people to its forest of learning. This spirit can be contagious to those who are already inclined toward living a little on the wild side; after all, the campus is surrounded by trees and deer, and this makes it difficult not to be aware of one's place in the natural world. I feel comfortable with being myself here, wearing what I want and dancing around when I want. I feel like I can be more naturally human, instead of abiding by certain social constraints that frown on violating arbitrary rules, like the idea that women should shave their legs and that men should have short hair.
The foggy, wild forest of UCSC

It's not strange or appalling to see girls who don't shave their legs here, and I would guess many of those same girls don't shave their armpits. Hair is just part of being human, and many people here embrace this, with beards and mustaches of all sorts, long hair on both guys and girls, and many participants in No Shave November. I'm not sure where this annual tradition originated, but I've been aware of No Shave November for a few years. It's directed toward guys, who opt not to shave their faces for the entire month of November. My boyfriend is participating, and I didn't see why I shouldn't get to participate, too. So I am.
Dumbledore definitely participates in No Shave November.

Eleven days of staying away from my razor has made me aware of how much easier life is without shaving. Here are some "green" benefits of not shaving:
- Shaving can use up a lot of shower water, depending on whether you leave the water on or off. In either case, and for guys, too, not shaving saves some water and time.
- Not shaving means not having to buy the supplies. Saving money is always green!
- Not purchasing supplies means reducing consumption of resources (over time, purchasing and using up shaving cream cans and razors wastes a lot of materials).
- Not shaving and not purchasing materials to shave means one is not dependent on an external source for their lifestyle, which leads to more self-reliance. It's always exciting for me to find new ways to do things without having to rely on someone or something else.
- Not shaving gives people the chance to experience their body in its natural state. I feel like by not shaving, I'm testing myself to see how comfortable I am with the natural state of my body. I'm definitely not used to having hairy legs or underarms, but I'm finding it to be a unique opportunity to embrace nature. Seeing other girls on campus who don't shave definitely made me feel like there was no reason I couldn't participate. I probably never would have participated in high school, however. The easy-going, open UC Santa Cruz setting was definitely a factor in my decision.

I would recommend trying it out if you've never lived for more than a week without shaving. It's easy to hide hairy legs in the fall and winter, but I have worn shorts a few times and haven't felt self-conscious about it. Being completely natural every once in a while--or all the time, if it works for you--is good for your humanity. Be free and embrace your natural self!

Thanks for reading,
Green Gal

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To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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