The Negation of Hygiene: an anti-Showering Manifesto

There is nothing some of us love more than chasing the noble idea of Progress, the constant stream of Enlightenment. Better and cleverer than our ancestors. But this flawed thinking becomes the recycled idea of seeing society as linear but also as a moral drama with a last act, a salvation which thereafter, everything becomes a peaceful utopia. But we know, that this salvation will never come, and that utopias will never be achieved. But with this self-assured belief in Progress, we gain this arrogance and a belief in our superiority since we’re on the linear track through history, ever-improving, and that improvement also includes hygiene.

And in that way, we often think we are more hygienic than our ancestors and that is true but does that really matter? This is where I propose my thesis, the thesis that showering is rather pointless and we should give it up altogether.

When hearing this, many will react with disgust and aversion, literally turning up their nose. They claim you will smell and so forth but that is not a valid argument at all. We indulge in so many vile and disgusting things where we never use the argument of disgust for. We eat food off the floor, we touch our genitals (which we pee and shit with), we have sex, we eat meat, and so on. But never do I hear “ew you pee with your dick and you’re sticking it in someone’s vagina. That is so gross”. Unless the similar argument is being made by conservatives about anal sex of course. But I digress, disgust is NOT a valid argument. Someone smelling rancid is not an argument. It reminds me of a common argument against necrophilia which is that it’s gross and that you can catch diseases. That is not a proper argument. Same goes for vegans who show videos of slaughterhouses to dissuade omnivores. Blood, guts, and gore, and the disgust and discomfort they illicit is not a proper argument either.

One might then argue back that this would just cause the spread of disease but those who say that are misconstruing my arguments and also misunderstanding disease. Firstly, I am only saying we stop showering. I am not saying that we stop using flushing toilets. I am not suggesting we live in crowded urban areas where the streets are used as sewers, nor am I suggesting we live in close quarters with animals or eat raw meat. Because secondly, that is the true spreaders of disease. Disease is spread through contact between humans and animals (whether that be through consumption of their flesh or through sharing close quarters) like the Black Death or due to bad sanitation like dysentery. But abstaining from showering does not equal bad sanitation. Bad sanitation is a lack of treated wastewater or things like unclean water. This is not the same thing as smelling bad. According to the WHO, bad sanitation reduces human well-being, social, and economic developments due to impacts such as anxiety, risk of sexual assault, and lost educational opportunities. These are systemic issues that are not the same thing as an individual deciding to negate showering.

But what even are the benefits of not showering you may ask? Well, first of all, showering dries your skin, washing away oils. But to this, many will simply tell you to moisturise. This is the same response I get when I tell people I will not risk ruining the delicate balance of my face by washing it with soap. But why should I moisturise? Why should I strip my skin of its pre-existing oils, purchase a product which capitalism has told me I need, and then put the oils back into my skin? I will not be a slave to consumerism. I will not moisturise my face nor my body. And this is also closely tied to the beauty industry which profits from self-hatred and patriarchal beliefs of the human body in order to further maximise their profits.

It is also important to remember the value of pee. Not only does urinating in the shower have benefits when it comes to overall happiness but it also contains a combination of minerals, enzymes, and salts which contain nutrients. And according to the Medical Daily, applying urine onto skin can help aid with eczema and acne.

Our showers are nothing more than neo-religious grooming rituals, ingrained in our society when in reality, the idea of hygiene and these rituals themselves is very culturally and historically fluid. Why one would act like there is a ‘correct’ way to do something is insane. For many, this offends their fragile sensibilities and notions of what is correct and incorrect conduct. So essentially, you are a ‘snowflake’ getting mad that people are not obeying your culturally ingrained ways of doing things or your system of morality, righteousness, and cleanliness.

There is no ‘wrong’ or ‘correct way’ of taking care of your hygiene and anyone who tells you otherwise is nothing but a corpse riddled with the mind-virus that is capitalism. That is the true disease. Capitalism.