Like men, women also grow hair naturally on their body. However, today most of the fairer sex shave their body hair and want to appear with smooth skin. A woman with hairy skin is often frowned upon; hence those who don’t like to shave are also forced to do it by social pressure.
It is not exactly known when or where the practice of shaving body hair began. There are evidences of the practice in ancient civilizations. The Egyptian women used to remove their hair from head to toe, using pumice stones and waxes. Hairless body seemed to be a norm among the women of ancient Greece and Rome as well, although in the upper class. It must be noted that all of the ancient art pieces, be it pictures or sculptures, depict women without body hair. Somehow, the notion of ideal feminine beauty didn’t give room for body hair. In addition to the smooth look, the shaving had a practical purpose as well; hygiene. Armpit hair and pubic hair were removed so as to avoid vermin like lice.
With the invention of razor in the 18th century, it became easy to remove body hair, although it was designed for the use of men. The trend of removing body hair really kicked off the 1910s. The first razor specifically for women was created by King Camp Gillette in 1915, branded as Milady Decolletee (picture, above). It was the same time companies began campaigns claiming body hair was something of an embarrassment to women.
In May of 1915, the women’s magazine Harper’s Bazaar published an advert featuring a young model in a sleeveless dress posing with both arms over her head. It was the first one of its kind and various others followed. Anti-armpit hair campaigns were soon storming the media, all of which told women that their natural body hair took away their beauty. It didn’t take much effort to convince most of them, especially those from middle class, that it was a shame to have body hair. When the fashion trends introduced more revealing clothes, it became necessary for most women to shave their hair. It didn’t take much to become a kind of obsession.
However, recently a lot of women have expressed dismay about the practice, opting to go for their natural look. Various celebrities have also come forward, urging their fans to forego shaving and not to be lured by the marketing gimmicks of companies.
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