The Shaving Stigma

Now that November is here, many men have decided to put the razor down in aid of ‘Movember.’ Over the next few weeks we will be seeing an increase in facial hair as many men refuse to shave for one month in a bid to raise money for charity or simply have a bit of banter with friends.
‘Movember’ has been popular for a few years now and many have even joked that it will soon be followed with ‘Fanuary,’ a month where women do not shave their pubic hair, however this trend is yet to catch on.
When men mention that they are going to stop shaving nobody really bats an eyelid, however when a woman mentions she is going to stop removing body hair she is subjected to disgusted looks and insults. It just isn’t seen as socially acceptable for a woman to be hairy, but why?
Why is there so much pressure on women to remove their body hair? Over the years we have been conditioned to believe that it is fitting for women to be completely smooth and hairless and we have ridiculed those people who don’t adhere to this unspoken ‘rule.’
We are regularly exposed to advertisements where beautiful hair-free models seem to set the norm for what is acceptable for a woman’s body. We see images of porn stars whose perfectly waxed nether regions send out messages that ours should look like that too. We are expected to have long hair on our heads, beautiful eyelashes and eyebrows but no hair whatsoever, anywhere else.
Seems a little idealistic (and unfair) to me.
When exactly did body hair become deemed as masculine? I’m pretty certain that women in the 16th century had bigger things to worry about than a few day’s old stubble on their legs, so why don’t we? Why has shaving and plucking and bleaching and waxing become such a crucial, not to mention bloody time consuming, part of our beauty regime?
There is so much stigma surrounding female body hair and it is assumed that women who don’t shave are either lesbians, have poor hygiene or have something fundamentally wrong with them. It is just expected of us to be so frigging smooth and silky ALL THE TIME and society’s collective view towards hairy women only further demonstrates the pressure put on us to alter our bodies in order to fit with this ridiculous feminine ideal.

Image via IstoletheTV under this Creative Commons License.

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