Your burning question is “why do women shave?” To answer that, you’ll need to know more mysteries like:
- When did shaving become a thing?
- Why are men allowed to be hairy?
- Is shaving harmful?
- What does WWII have to do with shaving?
Did you know?
The average woman spends 72 days of their life shaving!
You might be thinking, “that is worth it” or you might be thinking “no way.”
By the end of this article, you’ll probably have different thoughts about shaving.
You’re going to learn about why people shave, why do women shave, the history of women shaving, and if shaving is harmful or not.
So let’s answer the first question.
When did people start removing hair?
This actually goes back to ancient Egyptian times. Historians found that men and women were using tweezers and sugar wax. Plucking hair wasn’t unheard of, but shaving was nowhere near what it is today.
Fast forward to the 18th century, more modern-looking razors started to be used. Colonists that stole Native American land, started to witness some Natives practicing hair removal. They also saw that a lot of Natives were not as naturally hairy.
Here’s where racism comes in.
18th-century theorists and popular figures such as President Thomas Jefferson put a racist spin on this by claiming men who couldn’t grow beards were low class and unintelligent and those who couldn’t grow body hair were hopeless and weak. They followed a belief called the 4 Humors.
Which was a controversial personality test as some people based it on balancing skin tone, hairiness, and physique. In other words, you had to be a white, hairy man to be respected and accepted.
When did shaving become a woman thing?
Well, up until the 20th-century women’s clothes covered places where they had hair. It was common for women to pluck their facial hair. Because they didn’t want to be viewed as a woman that was manly (4 Humors.) They even had hair removal creams in the mid 19th century, but it wasn’t extremely popular, because they usually left burns and caused skin problems.
But in the 20th century fashion changed and became more revealing, so more skin began to show. A salesman known as Camp King Gillett saw this as a way of getting money.
In 1915 Gillette created the first women’s razor. It was literally the same as a men’s razor, but he wanted women to see it as a feminine item, so he slapped 14 karat gold on it, and gave it a fancy name “The Milady Decolletee.” He then sprinkled in a few shameful ads like calling body hair an embarrassing personal problem, or that a woman would be unloved, and embarrassing if they had body hair.
He advertised it in all the women’s magazines so it could grab the women’s emotions, and sell her a product that’ll fix her embarrassing problems. And boom, a manipulative masterpiece was made.
Those razor ads were mainly aimed at shaving women’s armpits. Why do women shave in other places? What about everywhere else?
WWII and women
Women were shaving their armpits and facial hair, but that’s about it. It wasn’t until World War II when women began to shave other places. The time when the government explained to women that, ‘if women are not pretty, then America will lose the war.’
During this time stockings were very popular, so women didn’t feel the need to shave their legs. In 1939 nylon stockings were being made, these new stockings were cheaper and stronger than silk and rayon stockings, so they became a top seller. However, during the war, nylon was being used to create parachutes and uniforms for soldiers. So the US government and its allies asked women to hand over their stockings, so they can support the war. This led to women wearing their bare legs out and exposed for the first time.
The UK (USA’s ally) made nationwide clothing guidelines based on the new materials that women were pushed to use. The Make Do and Mend fashion pamphlets were given out to convince them to cut their clothes and make new trendy clothes that fit with the media’s views. These new trends had shorter hems, no sleeves, and showed more skin than ever before, so women didn’t have the option to hide their hairy parts anymore.
The government told them that if the beauty standards weren’t high at home, then that will result in America losing the war because the soldiers won’t feel motivated in having someone to come back to.
Yep… I know
Why do women shave other places?
Women felt extreme pressure to not only spend less but also meet the media’s high beauty standards while spending less. There are multiple reasons leading to why do women shave, but peer pressure and manipulative tricks made by the beauty industry were the main causes.
There were a few weird trends floating around like coating your legs with gravy. Which sounds pretty tasty if you ask me. This was done because some women couldn’t let go of not having stockings anymore, so they painted on the stockings… with gravy. This look couldn’t be achieved if your legs were hairy, because the gravy would bunch up and turn clumpy. These clever tricks used to encourage shaving worked like a charm and companies began to push it further.
Pinup girls like Betty Grable became famous during the war because the government labeled Betty’s pictures as an act of true patriotism. She wore makeup, revealed a lot of skin, and had no body hair. Betty sold over 5 million pictures. Americans were now hooked on this look.
As time went by, skirts got shorter, shorts got higher and tops got smaller. By 1964, 98% of all American women aged 14-44 were regularly shaving.
is shaving bad for you?
Now that the question “why do women shave” is answered, it’s time to ask, “is shaving harmful?” Yes, It can be dangerous, but as long as you’re aware of these risks then you’ll be able to plan much better because some can be potentially deadly.
3 downfalls of shaving
3. It causes irritation.
An estimated 75% of people experience itching when their pubic hair regrows and 40% experience a rash.
Have you ever shaved your area and the next day it is itching like crazy? The worst is when you’re in public and trying not to itch there.
- Ingrown hairs:
Shaving can cause hair to grow inwards, which results in ingrown hairs or raised bumps.
- Increased risk of catching an STI (STD.)
Shaving can create microscopic cuts in the skin, making it much easier to get an STI. It’s actually recommended to not have sex, after waxing or shaving because you’d be prone to infection. It also directly links to the rise in cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HPV.
So what do you do?
- Keep the hair
- Shave more carefully
Trimming works great for me, and here’s why. I love my body and its hair. I have no problems when the world sees how hairy I can get, but sometimes I want my grass cut because I feel like it and when I do, I tend to trim rather than shave.
4 reasons to trim
- Painful pulling:
Have you ever had a hair cling to your undies? It’s not that great of a feeling. Trimming will solve that.
- Style preference:
It’s your body and you choose what to do with it. Just like clothes or the hair on your head, the hair on your body also is under your style preference. However, don’t let this be an excuse to let society control your mind in thinking you need to shave.
Style preference shouldn’t mean you feel ashamed of your natural self. I won’t feel disgusted and embarrassed about myself if I wore a green jacket rather than a red one, because it goes against my style. So you shouldn’t have to feel ashamed about if you’re hairy or not.
Whether that’s feeling more sensations during sex, or feeling the wind through your hairy legs, or even rubbing your arms. Maybe you like the trimmed feeling, or the bald feeling, or the hairy feeling, but that’s up to you. This is your time to explore.
- STI protection (not all):
Depending on if you want to trim it bald, or trim it where you still have some hair. Researchers have shown that less hair helps prevent crabs or pubic lice, as they have nothing to cling to. They also discovered that STI’s like herpes, show a decrease in spreading, as there is less skin-to-skin contact.
The trimmer that I use has different clipper lengths so I can get a close trim if I want a bald look and I can also trim it where I have a more groomed hairy look. It’s also small, waterproof, and rechargeable, so I can shave in the shower, or out. I also don’t have to waste money on batteries.
It’s fantastic so feel free to pick one up, purchase from that specific link if you want to support this channel.
I’ll be uncovering some myths about shaving, but before I get to that, let’s figure out if you want to stay natural.
3 reasons to stay all natural
You save loads of time: As I said earlier, the average woman spends 72 days of their life shaving.
Comment below on what you’d do with those 72 days.
The average woman spends about $10,000 in their lifetime on shaving products
- Because you feel like it.
It’s important that you feel comfortable in your own skin. Reclaim your body and love it!
2 biggest myths
Let me know if you’ve heard these ones before.
- There’s no point in having pubic hair:
Pubic hair is there to protect your skin. Our skin in those areas is very sensitive and can be irritated when rubbing against your underwear, pants, pads, and other things. Pubic hair is the buffer to that. If humans were supposed to be hairless, then we’d all be hairless.
Now for the myth that everyone hears.
- A woman is unhygienic and dirty if she has hair:
So, why do people say this? Gynecologist Michael Cackovic explains that you sweat more down there because of your hair, as it’s there to keep your area dry and cool. The sweat in your hair builds up, along with pheromones and bacteria, in that area, and the hair traps that smell. The obvious solution is to take a shower or a bath. Having a brazilian isn’t going to make you anymore clean, the bacteria is still there, you just might not smell it as much. That hair is actually there as a shield to protect you from harmful bacteria, or infections from going into your body.
Also just think about this. The same men that say “Ew. Girls who don’t shave their armpits are unclean and musty.” Are the same ones that don’t shave their underarms.
Have you had to deal with this?
Comment below if these myths made you struggle with your hair.
I hope this helped answer your question on why do women shave, and I also hope that it was able to make you think about yourself in a healthy way. Shaving is up to you, but it’s always interesting to find out what affects our decisions.
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