Shaving is made to be a really big deal here in America, especially amongst women. I don’t really know much about how it’s viewed in other countries, but I know it’s a very common practice here. This post will be focused on women shaving. Is it as necessary as it is made out to be?
I remember first having the idea of shaving my arms and legs probably when I was about twelve or thirteen years old. I felt so ashamed and disgusted of my body hair. All throughout my teenage years, I saw so many girls with smooth legs and arms and would feel bad because I felt like I was the only girl that haven’t shaved. Of course, I saw the many commercials on television about shaving products that showed women with perfectly smooth legs. I’ve always wanted my legs to look like that. I never wore shorts, skirts, or short sleeved shirts because I was so ashamed of my body hair.
I would ask my mom if she would buy me some razors or if it’s okay for me to shave. She would always tell me, “No. They’re just trying to sell that stuff. You don’t need to shave.” My mom never believed in shaving. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her shave in my life.
Of course, I didn’t believe her whenever she told me that. It was really disappointing when she never got me any razors or let me shave. I thought I had TOO MUCH hair. There is a such thing as TOO MUCH hair, right?
But, one day, I found a disposal razor in the house. It was probably from one of my brothers. My mom was gone to work. I was so happy! I took that razor and shaved my arms and legs. Sure, I had a few cuts because I didn’t have any shaving cream and it was my first time shaving, but it was worth it. I was hairless. I had no more unwanted hair! I’ve been shaving my body since that day.
But as I got older, I realized that my hair would grow back very fast. It seemed like it grew back as soon as I cut it. And, on top of that, my legs are pretty big and since I have a little height on me, they’re quite long, too. And that’s just my legs alone. That’s not even counting the other places I shave. So, shaving my body would take a really long time to do.
I started to feel like taking all this time shaving just wasn’t worth it if it’s going to grow back so fast. But I just knew I still wanted a smooth, hairless body like the women I saw on TV. So, I continued to shave, despite how long it took and how fast it grew back.
A few years ago, I talked to one of my dad’s friends about wanting to shave my legs. She told me, “You don’t need to shave. Your legs are beautiful the way they are. Besides, razors cut you up.” She basically said the same thing my mom said.
This story leads me to today. I recently did some research on women shaving. I wanted to know where it came from and why it is such a big deal here. During my research, I found that shaving wasn’t really a big deal here before the 20th century because women used to wear big dresses that pretty much covered their whole bodies, so people didn’t see women’s body hair very much. But after the 20th century, shorter dresses and skirts were invented. That’s when a lot of shaving companies began to promote smooth bodies and advertise shaving to women. More revealing swimsuits began to be invented as well. At that point, shaving companies began to target women for underarm hair.
So, my mother was right all along. They push all these ads because they ARE trying to sell this stuff! They want women to feel some type of way about their body hair so they can spend billions of dollars on shavers, razors, waxes, depilatories, shaving creams, and many other hair removal products. But something tells me it’s far deeper than advertisers wanting to make money off of making women feel some type of way about their bodies.
Why did they feel the need to target women on their body hair in the first place? Men can have just as much body hair as they want and they’re never made to feel ashamed of it. Of course, shaving companies market to them, too, but it’s like they can choose whether or not to shave and still be accepted by society. Women can’t. Women just either have to shave or be deemed as unattractive.
I never really found a good answer to this question of why women seem to be targeted more for their body hair than men, but it sounds like it comes from sexism and misogyny. I think it’s part of trying to make women feel ashamed of themselves and unequal to men.
Shaving is not necessary. Body hair doesn’t hurt anyone. We have just been conditioned to be disgusted by hair that grows on/in certain places, especially on women. People should not be pressured into shaving, no matter how much body hair they have or where it is. Body hair is completely natural. There’s a reason why it grows back so fast after shaving it. It belongs there!
We should all be free to accept our natural bodies as they are. As a matter of fact, I feel like most women wouldn’t shave at all if they weren’t made to feel ashamed of their body hair—much like men. Women shave because they’ve been told for many years that their body hair is unattractive.