Let’s face it, the quest for a smooth, hairless body is something most women in the United States can relate to. The pressure to shave and rid one’s extremities of extraneous hair is inescapable. The anti-body hair campaign is in full swing, and can be seen everywhere. Television commercials for razors and depilatory creams blast catchy 80’s pop anthems at women, much like the ad campaign for Gillette’s Venus women’s razor line does. The line does this while using popular celebrities to perpetuate the idea that hairless legs will leave women feeling “radiant, confident, fabulous” and goddess-like which is overwhelming to say the least. The most recent face of Venus has been Jennifer Lopez, and that woman can sell just about anything, see her commercial here: Gillette Venus: Get Your Goddess Showing with Jennifer Lopez.
Nowadays, the heat is on, especially during the summer months for women of all ages to get in on the shaving bandwagon. However, hair removal was not always an accepted practice and rite of passage for teenage girls like it is today. In fact, underarm shaving wasn’t even popularized until 1915 thanks to an ad featured in an issue of Harper’s Bazaar, depicting a young woman with bare armpits raised up over her head. According to a 1982 article from the Journal of American Culture written by Christine Hope, women were coerced into shaving their armpits through a marketing assault and then hairy legs came later on. These ads set out to alert American women of a problem they didn’t know existed, and with changes in fashion like the emergence of sleeveless dresses, shorter skirts, and sheer stockings, women were made more vulnerable to the shaving conspiracy.
Suffice to say hair removal was never a world wide phenomenon until now and continues to be most widely practiced in English speaking countries. Although female body shaving was popularized earlier on, pubic hair removal did not come into vogue until the 1980s with the rise of the bikini. In part, this was due to a trend in the porn industry where it was common for women to shave the pubic area. Some scholars believe pubic shaving actually originated in ancient Egypt and Greece when prostitutes had to shave for hygienic reasons and as an indicator of their profession. As pornography has become more accepted, more women have opted to play truth or Nair. Although pubic hair shaving has become mainstream not everyone is lining up for Brazilian waxes, just listen to what singer Amanda Palmer has to say about the issue in her newest music video, “Map of Tasmania” which is essentially an ode to pubic topiary.
As always shaving is a personal choice. Whether you choose to shave, wax, tweeze, thread or laser hair off, it’s painful, end of story. However, should you choose to remove hair wherever it might be, here are some of the most cutting edge products out there.
- Ready Betty Ultimate Stylin’ Kit for Down There via BettyBeauty.com priced $14.99 (Comes with stencils)
- Leg Lube Performance Shave Gel via LegLube.com priced $8.95 (Can be used in-or-out of shower)
- TRIA Hair Removal Laser via TriaBeauty.com priced $395 (Laser hair removal in the comfort of your own home)
- MANGROOMER Do-It-Yourself Electric Back Hair Shaver via Mangroomer.com priced $34.99 (For the hairy men in your life)
- Bliss Poetic Waxing Strips for face via Sephora.com priced $10 (Wax that heats up in the palm of your hand)
- Zafirro Iridium Razor via Zafirro.com priced $100,000 ( Sapphire razor blades, for the man or woman who has everything)
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