- Fashion and Beauty
I'm Done Shaving For Good
Hairy armpit? Who cares?
Why do I shave? Because my older sister told me to.
Why is it that when I look at my hairy armpits, my first response is to say "Yuck, I need to shave"? My earliest shaving memory comes from when I was around 12 years old. I was getting ready one morning when my older sister came into the bathroom and noticed that I was starting to grow some underarm hair. Her response was "Looks like it's time for you to start shaving." Her word was gold to me. If she said it was time for me to start shaving, then I needed to get a razor ASAP. Fifteen years later, I've had enough. I hate shaving. It's time-consuming and expensive, and who ever said there's anything wrong with hair? Oh yeah. My sister...and the advertisers.
Whose notion of beauty? The advertisers'!
A little history of hair removal
According to Cecil Adams at The Straight Dope, with help from a scholarly article by Christine Hope titled Caucasian Female Body Hair and American Culture, the ad pictured at right was the first to show a woman's naked underarms and was the beginning of a campaign by marketers to convince women that underarm hair is unsightly. It came out around the same time sleeveless dresses were becoming popular, in 1915.
Leg shaving gained popularity during WWII. Adams speculates that it may have had something to do with a pin-up of Betty Grable. "Showing off one's legs became a patriotic act," says Adams. Since women were already convinced that underarm hair is unwanted, it wasn't much of a stretch to convince them that leg hair is unattractive.
Rail against the standard
Why are we letting the makers of hair-removal products convince us that there is something wrong with having body hair? Of course they are going to tell us that--they want us to buy their products!
We've become so conditioned by advertisements to think that today's standard of beauty is normal that we are shocked when celebrites show up in public with body hair. Try it: do a Google image search of "celebrity armpit hair" and you will see beautiful women like Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore and Beyonce Knowles pictured with a bit of underarm hair and being ridiculed for it. Mirror.co.uk, a British newpaper website, has this to say about Beyonce's underarm hair: "Seemingly unaware of the hairy situation, she waved to horrified fans at the opening of Cadillac Records."
I think it's time to fight back. Women, stop letting the advertisers convince you of what is beautiful just so you'll buy their products. You know what is beautiful? You are. You in all your natural glory. That's what I'm telling myself when I see my hairy armpits and legs. I squash the "Yuck.." thought in its tracks and instead think "I am beautiful just the way I am." It might take a little while, but I think soon I'll grow attached to all my hair in more than just a physical way.