Lets talk about body hair

Fair warning. This post will feature opinions and thoughts. Watch out!


Lets talk about shaving. It is time consuming, tedious, expensive, and kind of a pain. Don’t get me wrong. I love the result. Smooth, hair-less skin: yes! But here is the thing. It doesn’t always end of smooth. It is bumby, itchy, irritated and even painful. OUCH!

So why do we put ourselves through it? When did we decide that shaving is a must. Well, let me tell you! It is pretty crazy.

Underarms: Back in 1915 Harper’s Bazaar, an upscale magazine, featured an ad with a woman scantily clad in a sleeveless, slip-like dress with both arms above her head. WHAT?!?! I know that is pretty wild. Well, back then women were expected to be covered. Modesty was valued and the style was to wear long dresses and long sleeves to uphold that value.

Harper's Bazaar ad

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That is why this advertisement was such a big deal. Not only did it use the taboo term “underarm” but it also featured a lady in next to nothing. This ad started a campaign aimed at selling women clothing that was more revealing while also selling them the hair removal products they would need to removal that “objectionable hair”.

From an advertising campaign perspective it was genius. Tell women they need to wear these revealing fashions and that they had to shave their body hair in order to do so. If they didn’t they were gross. Isn’t it strange to think that days before the ad above ran women never thought of underarm hair as a problem. The power of advertising is aparent from this single example.

So a campaign was deployed and women were continuously told that in order to keep trendy they had to shave and wear more revealing clothing. The idea slowly trickled down through the middle class and in 1922 the Sears Roebuck catalog started selling razors and sleeveless dresses. So that is shaving your underarms. When did shaving your legs gain popularity?

fashion timeline

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Women were a little slower to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to shaving their legs. If you think about it the style was constantly changing. Hemlines became short and long again so women had a hard time justifying the need for shaving their legs. I big spark for the shaving your legs movement would be, in part, to the popularity of the pin up girl in World War II, and more specifically, the popularity of Betty Grable. Again, fashion dictated the need for shaved legs.

So there you have it. The history of shaving. I want to make it a point now to say that I want people to do what they want when it comes to shaving. Shave or don’t shave. That is up to you! Some people prefer to do it daily while others, like myself, do it once a week or once a month (depending on the time of year). Again, it is all a personal decision. Not too long ago shaving wasn’t even on our radars!

What I think is most important is for us not to look down on each other for their decisions. Don’t look at someone with disgust because they choose to not shave their underarms or legs and also don’t judge someone for shaving daily. We are aloud to love and do what we want to our own bodies. If it makes you happy then that is all that truly matters!

Be you and let others be them.

Information for this post was taken from this article.

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