I know it may seem a little odd for a shaving company to say that shaving is indeed a choice and not something that we as women should blindly do, but keep in mind I am a woman first and a business owner second. I know we make thousands of choices each day; black slacks or skirt, bikini or one piece, red lipstick or gloss, SUV or coupe, shaving should be just one more of those pressure-less choices. The problem is that it isn’t pressure-less. Over time the desire to be hairless from the neck down has become entrenched in our culture. This is not new to you. When was the last time that you saw an actress on the screen with a bit of stubble? How about a pornstar with a bit of armpit hair? These scenarios are the exception, not the rule, and are now relegated to the kink or fetish category.
I bring up porn and movies because along with our usual blast of women’s magazines they form the trifecta of non-personal outside influences that mold our view of what it means to be a proper woman. Females in magazines, music videos, and movies have to look ‘good’. Over time ‘good’ has changed a bit in terms of dress, proportions, and attitude, but hairless legs and armpits have been an unquestioned norm since movies were first made in the 1890s and early 1900s. Porn is the odd influencer out here but not one that can be ignored. The adult film industry has far more clout that you could imagine. First, its older than you think, the first porn was an 1896 french film called Le Coucher de la Mariee where a woman performed a striptease and birthed the porn industry. Since then the porn industry has been a deciding force in technology standardizing Super 8 film in the late 50s and early 60s, killing Betamax (Porn was generally on VHS and also accounted for ½ of all VHS sales in the late 1970s), and leading to Blu-Rays win over HD DVDs. This is to say nothing of its control over the internet (right now there are ~30M or more people watching porn). The most important thing is what this did to men’s expectations of women in terms of what we are supposed to look like and how we are supposed to behave in the bedroom (and kitchen, and garage, and bathroom etc…). Concerning hair below our neck, less is better. While legs and armpits were almost always hairless in porn it is interesting to note that the rise of the Brazilian wax was preceded by hairless hoo-haas in adult films (mainly in the 80s). Talk about life imitating art amiright?
There are some that may think this can be changed, but I disagree. Even men are now susceptible to pressure to shave below the neck (this is all the more ironic since beards and facial hair is now gaining widespread acceptance). It wasn’t even 30 years ago that man scaping wasn’t even a word we used and now it has become derigure in many countries. This pressure has moved further up the male torso to the chest and sometimes stomach. Many men are also getting rid of back hair and stomach hair, this leaves the male leg and arm as the last real bastions for body hair and I think that too will slowly disappear. I’m okay with this – it’s about time this double standard evaporated. We actually initiated this change in men’s grooming habits. Women have a tendency to choose slightly effeminate men for mates, mainly because we feel more comfortable around them and we feel that more ‘macho’ men are less faithful and less likely to be good fathers. This means less grime, more glam, from our male counterparts. The offshoot of this new hairless man is that completely smooth bodies becomes more, not less, of a cultural norm and those that choose to buck this norm will face increased pressure to comply. This is especially true for women who still have pressure to date, marry, and look a certain way.
This brings us back to shaving as a Choice. I often liken shaving to going to the gym. It’s a bit of a hassle to be honest, but I generally feel better about myself afterwards. I feel more confident and healthier to boot (mainly because of the gym). This is a view shared with the majority of females in the developed world. Therein lies the issue, whenever you have a majority and a minority, the majority will assume they are ‘right’ even if the argument boils down to opinion and personal choice (as is the case with shaving). We’ve seen this type of bulk bullying in politics, religion, schooling, and work and now it’s invading our personal choices as well. My question is why? Is it a matter of hygiene? Not really, soap and water still exist last time I checked and regardless of your choice to shave, they work equally well. While pubic hair presents a slightly higher risk of bacterial and mite infections, the added risk is minimal. As for other patches of hair, guys sport leg and armpit hair all the time and they are never accused of being unhygienic because of it. So if hygiene isn’t in question, why do we harass our sisters over their choice to grow out their hair? It’s just because we’ve been taught that it isn’t attractive the same way that we are taught to keep ourselves thin (as opposed to healthy which is probably more important). We have to get over this as a sex. A woman’s choice to grow out her body hair is just that – HER CHOICE. She is probably catching enough flack from others already and god knows that we as a sex need more cooperation, not less. So I ask you, the next time you see a girl in class that has more arm hair than you’re used to, realize it’s a choice, hers, not yours. You don’t hear her pounding on the table telling you to grow your hair out so return the favor and accept her along with her choices.
For those of you that may be on the fence, about whether to shave or not my advice would be to simply try doing both and see which one makes you happier, it’s as simple as that. Either way, all of us here at Roses Razors support you and your choice. For a bit more information I’ve included this video produced by Allure Magazine and Stylelikeu featuring three women who have bucked body hair norms, what lead them to that decision and how they feel about their choices.
Fitness Blogger Morgan Mikenas stopped shaving for a year. Her message isn’t that everyone should do this, rather, that you should be able to do what you are ultimately comfortable with. We couldn’t agree more.
Comments will be approved before showing up.