An Arizona professor is giving students the chance to defy gender norms for extra credit by shaving and growing their body hair.
Breanne Fahs, associate professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University, is giving extra credit to women who stop shaving their legs and underarms for 10 weeks, and to men who shave their bodies from the neck down. Students are expected to keep a journal to document the experience, according to a news release put out by the school.
“There’s no better way to learn about societal norms than to violate them and see how people react,” said Fahs, who has been offering the project since 2010. “There’s really no reason why the choice to shave, or not, should be a big deal. But it is, as the students tend to find out quickly.”
Stephanie Robinson, a student who participated in the project, said the experience was “life-changing.”
“Many of my friends didn’t want to work out next to me or hear about the assignment, and my mother was distraught at the idea that I would be getting married in a white dress with armpit hair,” she said.