morgan mikenas hasn’t shaved her body in over a year
Meet the 20-year-old fitness blogger who wants to end cultural conditioning when it comes to creating beauty ideals.
This article was originally published by i-D UK.
About a year ago, Indiana-born fitness blogger Morgan Mikenas decided to stop shaving her body hair. Her commitment to conform to mainstream beauty and traditional femininity had driven her crazy, and her over-plucked body now bore the scars of her chronic insecurity. Morgan had been conditioned from an early age that excessive body hair was totally unacceptable for girls. She knew it, the girls at school who made fun of her leg hair knew it, in fact, at some point in our lives we've all known it. And now it's time to unlearn it. Realizing she was worthy of being loved just as she was, Morgan embarked on a journey of self-love and self-acceptance. From that moment on, she decided to embrace her natural beauty and live life for no one other than herself. Now she wants you to do the same.
Last month Morgan posted a video on YouTube entitled "Why I Don't Shave," and of course it went viral. "I haven't shaved my legs for over a year," she wrote in the caption, "and I will never go back. The purpose of this video is not to shame people who do shave, I just want to speak on how it has helped me become more comfortable within myself, and maybe inspire others to do something that makes them feel confident." We caught up with the 20-year-old to talk standing up to sexism and learning to love yourself just the way you are.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty to me means doing whatever makes you feel good and being your most authentic self. Does makeup make you feel comfortable? Then wear it. Do you like the way you look with shaped eyebrows? Then shape them. Do you like being natural? Then enjoy yourself as you are. There is no wrong way to define beauty, because it is subjective. But please don't mindlessly make decisions based on things like TV and famous people and literally anything that's not yourself.
How has your attitude towards body hair evolved over the years? What has it come to symbolize now?
I stopped shaving because it was an inconvenience. It's pointless. I feel like it's an act of submission to the male dominated culture we live in. I want to mindfully make decisions for myself, and make choices that serve my purpose. Shaving my legs makes me feel powerless. When you make decisions for others, specifically a decision that will make others see you a certain way, a way that culture has designed as "sexy and beautiful," you lose your power.
What prompted you to make your YouTube video?
It's so difficult to be different at the moment, and the world needs more of it. By no means did I expect that it would go viral. That was a surprise to me. I wanted to share my views in order to change the way people think and encourage them to think more about their behavior and experience self-love.
What has been the positive/negative feedback?
I've gotten all sorts of responses from the video I posted. From the most hateful to the most supportive. But honestly no one's opinion or judgements can bring me down or make me feel "bad" about myself. I'm only trying to please myself.
What advice would you give to young girls wishing to follow in your footsteps?
For someone who's thinking of not shaving, but is concerned about being teased, I just want you to know that self-confidence is your superpower. You can be immune to criticism by being fearless. Practice acceptance — for others and yourself.
Text Tish Weinstock