Do you have strong opinions on body hair? Have you ever wondered if you’re an asshole for not shaving? Reddit user BlinderDisco asked r/AmItheAsshole if she was in the wrong for not shaving her legs at work—and opened up a can of worms about sexism and double standards in the workplace.
“So I’m a 21-year-old female. I feel like I should say these things about myself because these are usually what people ask or say when they find out I rarely shave my legs. I’m straight, I’m very feminine, and I just don’t like to waste my time or money on shaving my legs. Also I’m not a hairy person at all,” BlinderDisco writes.
“So I work for a promotion company where I travel and work at events and festivals. But today I had to go into the office to grab some materials and my boss was in there in his office so I stopped to say hi before I went out.”
“When I ducked in he awkwardly asked me if we could talk about something. I said sure and came in and he shut the door. He was so red and stuttering but finally he told me we needed to speak about hygiene. I was in literal shock […] My boss then proceeded to tell me that a few people complained I didn’t shave my legs and they said it went against company policy that I wasn’t being hygienic.”
OP then says she received an email from HR requesting a meeting and that’s it’s making her anxious. “AITA for not shaving my legs for my job?” she finally asks.
Resoundingly, Reddit assured her she was not an a**hole—for a number of reasons.
“NTA This is some sexist bullsh*t. Wow. Absolutely incredibly ridiculous. Would they ask a male employee to shave his legs? How is it unhygienic for you but not for any man who has leg hair? I’m honestly aghast,” wrote user Cosmic_Hitchhiker.
“NTA this isn’t a hygiene problem it’s a sexist view women HAVE to shave […] That is unfair sexist business practices,” another user said.
The conversation also addressed some other rules about workplace attire that could be considered unfair.
“I’ve experienced the same thing from the opposite sex. I am a male with long hair. It’s so healthy, clean, well maintained and pretty that a majority of the females that I have worked with actually express compliments or a healthy jealousy on wishing they had my hair. Although, I’ve had bosses who ask me ‘when are you going to cut your hair?’ knowing that’s all they can ask and nothing more,” said PsionicKitten.
“I agree with your ruling and there is a massive double standard, but is there one in the workplace if men can’t show their legs and thus aren’t expected to shave there,” user ClementineCarson asked.
The notion that men are usually not allowed to wear shorts or sleeveless shirts in corporate environments was frequently reiterated throughout the thread.
Some people remarked that since OP works in promotions and must appear in person to sell a product, that apparently means she should have to shave.
“You work for a promotion company where you work at events and festivals, which means many meetings with (potential) clients. You mentioned in another comment that you are ‘the pretty girl’, which means that your looks are used to sell a product/draw customers. If your unshaven legs discomfort your clients, hence effecting the (potential) company sales, then the company can choose to no longer employ you anymore,” said user Ikeda_kouji.
User horseband summed up the dilemma:
“In the end we all must decide what hills we want to die on. Whether we are willing to take ‘stances’ by going against societal norms in the workplace or not. Whether the opportunity of promotion is worth conforming to societal norms.”
It is unfortunate OP is forced to pretend that her boss’s issue with her has anything to do with “hygiene.” It’s just leg hair!