When The Dorchester Asked Its Female Staff To Shave Their Legs I Started To Ask My Friends Not To

Being unshaven is not akin to being unwashed, lazy or A-sexual. It is a choice afforded to all of us that shouldn't be informed by anyone else's wishes.

Every day, I arrange my self against the wall of the shower. I stand undignified, balancing on one leg, the other leg bent at the knee, foot and toes curled around the edge of the bath. I cock my head back from the water spray, as the hair on my head cannot get wet.

I take a shaver, the one that doubles the cost of my Boots shop no matter how full my basket, and I pull it across the lower half of my calves. Right leg first, followed by the left.

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Afterwards, I slather them with a thick butter-like moisturiser, just to take the edge off the rawness. I'm left with two hairless grey-marl ankles decorated with tiny irridescent red dots all ready for a cropped flair.

It's not torture, but it's not not an ordeal.

And I do it all for you.


Following on from the news that the Dorchester has been reportedly requiring shaven legs of its female staff, I sat at lunch yesterday with three female friends, all roughly my age - I'm 33-years-old - discussing hairiness on women. I showed them some Instagram posts of girls with hairy legs, the likes of which pepper my Instagram 'Discover' feed. They all squealed with disgust. Each making the word 'No' last ten seconds.

They're all smart, but none of them are questioning the ridiculousness of a woman HAVING to shave her legs daily.

They hadn't considered we don't get rid of hair just because it's gross - which is inherently a subjective concept - but because society pressures us to conform to this particular beauty ideal.

We've progressed to a point where it is fine for a woman to opt for a pixie crop instead of keeping her hair long and 'girly,' we've stuck a big two fingers up at stilettos in the office and we're as bare faced as we are fully made-up, as per our personal preference.

Yet, hairiness in places other than our scalps is still oddly taboo.

Unlike other beauty routines ('beauty routine'! We'll come back to that in a moment) that separate the sexes; shaving your legs isn't a creative choice. It's not picking out a fun nail colour, it's not making my eyes look like a cat's. It's a boring mundane task done with little flair while balancing on one leg with a wet shoulder pressed against a cold tile.

So if we don't do it for our selves.

And we don't do it to be clean (no one is saying men's legs are festering rugs).

Or because women are meant to have no hair (if that was true we wouldn't grow it in the first place).

Why do we do it?

We do it because everyone else does.

And because everyone else does, we have to.

And because we do, everyone else does (sometimes humans are really stupid).


Let's refer back to last week,when The Dorchester sent out this memo asking its female staff to make sure their legs were shaved for work.

It was sexual discrimination with a paper trail of proof that quite rightly had every newspaper commentating on it.

Kiran Daurka, an employment lawyer told The Guardian: 'I would have concerns where a policy seemingly objectifies women by asking them to look a certain way which has no bearing on their ability to do a job. For example, hair removal is clearly about objectification and sexualisation, as there is some ideal of what a woman should look like.'

God forbid The Dorchester allow it's hairy staff to clean hotel rooms, let prickly legs sit behind reception, or have beastly calves share corridors and lifts with guests.

If we can do anything to help ourselves, it's to look again at a woman's hairy legs and to truly compute that it's natural for hair to grow there. If you're not prepared yet to grow your own out, then #hairygirls has all the visuals you need to convince you.

The generation below me seems to have figured it out a little more, to be slightly more au fait with leaving follicles to do their thing, but it would be great if my 33-year-old friends could follow suit.

Make-up, skirts, heels, shaving are all choices, not an absolute.

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