This I Believe

Lorena - Los Angeles, California
Entered on June 19, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Hairy Legs

“A Night in Paradise” is the summer school dance everyone had been waiting for. Finally, Victoria was going to wear the cute blouse she just bought, Bryan was going to ask Michelle out, and everyone was going to have a great time. Two days before the dance, one of my friends, Octabio, asked me, “Did you finally shave?” He was referring to my three-month old leg hair; he continued, “There should be a rule: ‘Don’t let anyone with leg hair in.’” I immediately responded, “There should be a rule: ‘Don’t let closed-minded people in.’” This quick incident is a great example of what I have always believed: equality for everyone.

I am the only daughter in my Mexican family. My parents are divorced so we live with my mom. I have three brothers, two are older and one younger. Only I have been raised the way my mom was fifty years ago, different because of her gender. As a little girl, it was always awkward to me that I had pink Barbies while my brothers had blue cars. Growing up, I realize that I’m uncomfortable being classified because I’m a female.

Los Angeles is the capital of diversity. Here we find many different people from distinct cultures, religions, backgrounds, races and languages. Yet my close girlfriends, important women in my life, and even my own mother, insist on being treated differently because they are women; it infuriates me to know that even some of us have a double standard, oppressing ourselves. I just don’t understand my mother’s reasoning upon teaching her daughter how to cook while allowing the boys to go have fun at their friend’s house.

I didn’t shave for the dance, I don’t have to. Octabio had a good point that day: society does impose these “laws” on us, but we are the ones that make up society and if we don’t change our way of thinking, things are going to remain the same as my mom’s era, where women only wore skirts, parents arranged marriages, and only men worked. The fact that I have hairy legs is not an obstacle for me to be happy. I like the fact of having an unusual physical appearance; it protects me from socializing with superficial people. If anyone truly values who I am, they will look past my leg-hair and sincerely appreciate me for who I am. Thankfully, I met someone that ideals who I am, not what I wear, how my hair looks, or if I shave. I am glad he accepts me this way, otherwise I would have to leave him because this is who I always plan to be.