Who Convinced Women To Shave And Why?

Have you ever questioned why you remove your body hair? It might seem like a harmless task, but body hair removal has a deeper importance in modern society. Hair removal is a task that is expected of all women, if a woman were to grow out her armpit hair she would be ridiculed as unattractive and unsanitary. There is this global idea that if you are a female with body hair then you are disgusting.
If you can't read the small print, here is what the above ad says, "Don't risk dudeness. When you shave you risk stubble, and that can leave you feeling like a dude in an instant. So don't risk it, Veet it and stay prickle-free for up to 28 days with Veet waxes". The age old notion that, "Body hair is for men" is getting old. This argument is subjective, socially constructed and it completely ignores the nature of the human body. If you are a human then you will inevitably grow body hair, simple as that. A human is not disgusting because of what their body does naturally. So, throw out all that socially constructed junk out of your head because today I want to teach you the real reason why you are expected to shave as a female.
We are constantly told by our family, peers, and culture that female body hair is disgusting, manly and it "shouldn't be there". These ideals are taught to us through people and images. We are also taught that in order to be an attractive female one must be clean shaven in every area possible. This is an ideal that is deeply ingrained into the minds of the majority of people throughout the entire world. So, who decided women need to remove their body hair? Well, it is believed that there may have been some people in the past who practiced some form of body hair removal, but these cases are pretty rare considering the fact that female body hair was never seen as an issue until the 19th century. More than ever before in the history of mankind, there is a deep displeasure towards female body hair that is clearly executed into modern day society through communication with our peers, family and culture. Since I am American I will cover how this trend developed in America. Shaving is a trend that started in the 1920's when dresses started to bare women's legs and armpits. Until the sleeveless dress was invented the notion of shaving ones armpit hair was never really discussed openly. If no one can see it, why shave it? If this issue wasn't discussed openly then why did women feel the need to shave when wearing a sleeveless dress? Well, many sources say it all started with a Gillette ad in the Harper's Bazaar American women's fashion magazine.
The ad shows a woman in a sleeveless dress and her underarms are 100% hair free. Let's zoom in and see what it says.
"Summer dress and modern dancing combine to make necessary the removal of objectionable hair". This ad cuts straight to the chase and bluntly exclaims that if any women wants to wear a summer dress and keep up with the latest trends she must remove her underarm hair because it is "objectionable". This ad helped to provide an answer to the female body hair question, should it be shaven? According to this ad, yes a woman should be shaven! But why should a woman be shaven? Well, according to Gillette's ad, body hair on a female is unattractive. But wait! Here's the twist, you might think that's the actual reason the company gives for shaving, but the real reason they said women should shave is because that way they could sell more razors and make more money. Razors were tools that were predominantly used by men, so how could Gillette make more money? By selling razors to women, and to sell them razors tell them their body hair is offensive.
Let's read the fine print, "Without Embarrassment: An Intimate Talk to Women. The fastidious woman to-day must have immaculate underarms if she is to be unembarrassed." Yet again, we have another blunt advertisement stating that if you are a woman with body hair you should be ashamed of yourself. I would love to say that the women of that generation found these ads absurd, but they didn't. These ladies took these ads to heart and razor sales sky rocketed. As the discussion of female body hair became more openly discussed on TV shows, movies and advertisements female body hair was ridiculed all the more. Razors, inevitably, became extremely popular and were in high demand. Many other brands tried to create their own forms of body hair removal in hopes of gaining sales from the female population. Companies found a smart tactic to sell their hair removal products and that tactic was to repeatedly tell women that they had to get rid of their body hair ASAP because it's unattractive. You can still spot this age old tactic in shaving ads today. Example down below.
So, who decided women need to shave? Body hair removal product companies. Why did companies promote the idea that women need to remove their body hair? To make more sales for their body hair removal products. It's as simple as that. These companies have convinced us to be disgusted at the nature of our own bodies. This ideal started with a company but it has spread into almost every single household around the world, it's genius if you think about it. Companies don't even have to do much anymore because we as women enforce this societal expectation onto other women by calling hairy women disgusting.
Now, I want to make this clear. I am not against shaving. I am not against body hair removal. You can do whatever you want with your body hair. Personally, I am against people who call women disgusting for keeping their natural body hair. If a woman decides to keep her body hair it is not disgusting. Body hair is a completely normal and natural thing on all human beings, get over it. SOURCES: source 1 source 2 source 3

Comments

  1. Hi Penny. I was wondering why you don't identify as a feminist. Would you write a blogpost about it? Love your vids.

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  2. And yet if you see my nipple while I'm feeding my baby the best nourishment available (breastmilk), you're going to be offended because it's indecent? You really hold contradictory positions on these two issues which could be seen as hypocritical. Feeding a baby WHENEVER and WHEREVER that baby is hungry and in need of nourishment is completely normal and natural. Some babies won't tolerate their mother using a feeding cover. Many babies unlatch in the middle of feeding and *gasp* a nipple becomes exposed. Whether or not a woman shaves her body hair (and people's attitudes towards her choice) are pretty inconsequential in comparison to a woman providing life sustaining nourishment to her child. Please just think about it.

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  3. Not everyone wants a girl that has neon-dyed armpit hair down to her waist, sorry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Although, I agree that it's ridiculous for someone to go loco over a little hair. Seriously, pubic hair isn't going to kill anyone. .-.

      Delete

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