Pit Stop: A Quick History Of Women & Shaving

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Woman shaving underarm
BeautyOff Beat 112 Comments

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Most women we know perform the grooming ritual of shaving some area(s) of their bodies a few times a week. Of those who do, the great majority would probably agree that it’s an annoying chore. Shaving can become even more tedious when it affects your wardrobe choices. You know those mornings when you get out of the shower and go to put on that sleeveless shirt, only to realize you forgot to shave your pits. This always seems to happen on days when you have an activity that will make it impossible for you to get away with keeping your arms tightly at your sides all day. So you debate – jump back in the shower, pick a different outfit or throw caution to the wind and let it all hang out. Ugh!

As with most cultural customs, everything we do has a traceable origin… the moment that something goes from idea to societal norm. But, where did all the fuss over women ridding ourselves of body hair come from anyway and when did it all begin?

We certainly had no idea, but really wanted some answers. So, Women You Should Know turned to mental_floss, our go to resource for learning and laughing about some of the most intriguing, out there and even banal, yet curiosity piquing, subjects. The magazine and site make us feel smarter and we’re imparting some of our new found knowledge on to you. Thanks to an info packed mental_floss blog post we came across, we can now tell you exactly when women started shaving their underarms (and other body parts). click page 2 below to continue reading…

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Comments

  1. Thank goodness for Harper’s Bazaar! Nothing is more unsightly than pit hair, seriously.

    • How DARE you have hair on a certain body part… when I think that you should not have it there. Remove it. Now. I order you. (And the foolish women follow it, blindly.)

      There’s nothing the least bit attractive (or unattractive) about shaving (or not shaving) hair under your arms.

      • nypheria says:

        Do what you want to do, I don’t see why another women should have say over what you do with your body. If you want to shave, do it. if you don’t, then don’t. I choose not to and I don’t judge anyone who does or doesn’t (because I understand!). 🙂

  2. Hilarious!!

  3. I don’t shave my pits or legs. I wear sleeveless dresses and short skirts. To everyone who thinks its abnormal, I say, “lick it!”

    Nothing is worse than pediphiles…. Young children don’t have hair. Women have hair. It’s natural, it’s beautiful, and it’s liberating.

    • Ok, Katheryn I can take you up on that offer. hehe. Though I like naturally hairy women, mostly forearms and legs. Armpit hair on a woman is nice too.

    • Some women dont even “grow” hair like my girlfriend, thats just moronic to say “women have hair”… Do you want pics for proof ? Time lapse perhaps ? Cunty Bitch for calling all men who like hairless women pedophiles, some are just “born this way”

    • Living in Texas, I occasionally find it nessecarry to shave underarm hair. It itches and collects grime that’s difficult to bathe off during my siesta bath- running to the bathroom after fixing lunch to wash my upper body in the sink, as Grandma taught me to do.
      Also, I want to get rid of my genital hair occasionally for hygeine reasons. It makes things less messy 4 days of the month, and I’m planning on getting waxed a week before my baby’s estimated due date to make things less complicated for that event.
      I am against the horrible social bullying for women to shave. It’s a personal hygiene choice. Do what makes you feel comfortable.

      • thething thatdarknessfears says:

        Hi!
        Of course you can and should do with your body whatever you want and makes you most comfortable…
        But if you are willing to entertain unsolicited commentary: pubic hair in no way interferes with or complicates child birth. It is so messy and complicated on its own already! Good luck with it.

    • nypheria says:

      Amen! That’s how I feel 🙂 I’m 24, not a 10 year old. It’s very liberating to be free of social expectations for my own body.

    • I really dislike when people bring the whole pedophile thing in. First of all, guys who like shaved legs, underarms, and anything below the waist aren’t necessarily pedophiles. That’s an extremely ignorant thing to say as your defense against shaving. Secondly, I get the whole freeing vibe you’re trying to put out, but honestly, shaving is important for hygiene. B.O. worsens in the pits if you don’t shave and dead skin collects easily on hairy legs. I won’t even start on the hygienic reasons for shaving “down there”. Anyway, do what makes you happy, but stop with the whole “Men who don’t like body hair on women are pedophiles” show. It’s annoying and, quite frankly, immature.

      • gasolinerainbow says:

        It’s obviously wrong to label men who like the whole ‘shaven haven’ thing peados, considering men are swamped with that kind of sexual imagery HOWEVER hair removal is not more hygienic than leaving your hair where it is. That’s absolute nonsense and I honestly thought that myth had been debunked quite some time ago: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/07/pubic-hair-has-job-stop-shaving

        • ▲mber says:

          Huh. I guess I was wrong about the pubic hair one. Um how are men swamped with that? No, they’re really not. I hate how people just label guys like animals craving sex, constantly filled with sex thoughts and sexual images.

          • Daniel Bryant says:

            yes, we really are. it’s like carrying a loaded gun in your pants.

          • canaduck says:

            Yep, social conditioning is a real pain in the ass. Feminism is completely against the idea that men are brainless, sex-obsessed animals when it’s so clearly a product of our society.

            Fun fact: a couple of hundred years ago, it was thought that women were the insatiable, sex-crazed monsters–why else would they want to have sex when it so frequently ended in pregnancy and even death? Back then, of course, it was a bad thing that tempted otherwise pure and loyal men, instead of a “natural” need that we were all meant to dictate our existence by.

          • you’re wrong about a ton of things dingy! Why bother raging at someone when you are totally clueless- you just make a messy fool out of you’re self! Stay in school tool because your airhead persona will eventually wither away and without a brain, we’ll see you in the soup kitchen line!

          • Nelson White says:

            Feminism has consistently contradictory and malformed points consisting of double-standards and half-truths.

            I hear it already so I will adress it immediately and I know What you are thinking.

            “Not all feminists are like that” (Or nafalt.)

            Ok. I won’t even get into radical feminist theory. I will just attempt to dismantle something that virtually EVERYONE, in the first world believes.

            The very first feminists were born out of their supposed limited opportunities and lack of voting rights.

            This is an example of a feminist half truth.

            What do they think men were doing in that time? Hmmm. Being mysoginistic assholes?

            No. Their gender role was find a wife, sacrifice your life for your wife, fight your children and your country or else you are a failure to everything to from the ground you stand on to the air you breath to the people you see.

            Before I even go any further I will say this.

            I am NOT a conservative, I do NOT belive in the nuclear family, and I believe that everyone should have equality of opportunity.

            Men slaved away in dangerous industrial applications simply to bring in the cash. Years taken off their lives while their “Oppressed wives” Living in the “Kitchen of oppression.”

            at a social standpoint women were White Knighted to and were treated a hell of a lot better than the average man would treat an average man.

            They were the ONLY 1st class citizen.

            I could go on but I recommend checking out Karen Straughan’s Playlist of “Dismantling Feminism.” on youtube.

            Oh and I you don’t, then at least take this on board.

            Not everything is a social construct.

          • Melissa Ashley Giddings says:

            Nelson… all I have to say to that is… so many facepalms…
            I suggest you start researching, boy, it would be a shame if you continued pandering like a fool without any inkling as to why everyone is laughing at you.

          • Nelson White says:

            “Pandering like a fool.” Ha! Pandering to who exactly? Family? nope. None of them give a shit about gender politics except my step mum who is a feminist.
            School? Nope. My school like basically like every educational outlet in the country. It holds feminism in very high esteem. Things like the ‘Wage gap’ are taught and everything is very one sided.
            Religion? Nope. I am a clean cut atheist.
            Culture and mainstream media? Well that is highly feminist to.

            I also see that you have completely failed to launch any kind of logically based attack on me. I highly doubt you even read my comment.

            Please… I suggest you do a bit of research rather than jumping on the feminist bandwagon.
            Nice try.

      • Sure, that’s why all men shave their legs and armpits too, right? For hygiene. Or do you think men don’t sweat or produce skin cells? If it was for hygiene, both men and women would do it (unless you’re saying men are filthy and repulsive- is that what you’re saying? Cause you don’t really come across as that much of a radical feminist otherwise…)

        • ▲mber says:

          Nope, not saying that at all. Taking my comment out of context – the entire thing revolved around not calling guys who liked girls shaved pedophiles. And no, I’m completely anti-feminist.

          Anyway, I acknowledge the fact that shaving was, in fact, a fashionable thing that sprung up in the ’20s. No doubt about it. So no, it’s not all about hygiene.

          • Stacie Danielle Reeves says:

            Then I guess you don’t like the right to vote?

          • ▲mber says:

            haha you clearly haven’t seen third wave feminism. It is disgusting.

          • canaduck says:

            Apparently you are the one who hasn’t “seen” third-wave feminism, unless you’re fine with being paid less than men, A runaway rape culture, an epidemic of violence directed at women, increased oversexualization and objectification, etcetera. It drives me nuts when people think that feminism has anything at all to do with hating men (I’m going to assume that’s your objection, because that’s the general, catch-all complaint) because it hasn’t, not from the very beginning. It’s about changing sexist gender roles, something that is good for all of us. See, for example, the documentary Miss Representation, or its male-focused counterpart, The Mask We Live In.

            There is nothing “disgusting” about wanting women and men to be treated like equally important members of society.

          • Will Phoenix says:

            Did you really need to get political? Yeah, equality is one thing BUT what most women want is to have MORE than men. it’s 2014 and women get hired over men simply because the govt says so AND yet they sit silently while men pay for dates and go through the same relationship and dating rituals we had to go through back when we had good jobs and women were not hired before us simply because of gender/quota/EEOC etc. Take all the jobs from men but then make sure you are the one paying for MY dinner, mmmkay?

          • ozzysstash says:

            I think YOU are confused about third wave feminism. It’s teachings are so generalized that it’s not feminism anymore. If you are a third wave feminist you might as well say that you’re an educated human in the 21st century. However, YOU wouldn’t know that if you’re source of information is restricted to documentaries. PS, the objectification of women issue is more in previous feminist teachings, third wave feminism pretty much instructs the woman to not care and to roll with it, using it to her advantage if she is able to avoid hurting anyone because of it.

          • The_Bustle_in_Your_Hedgerow says:

            Women are not paid less than men if they’re doing the same work. It’s illegal in every Western country you can name. There is no rape culture in the West. In fact, given the reality of prison rape, more men in the U.S. are raped than women (look it up). Everyone is sexualized and objectified. Thank porn for that — and artificial contraception, which turned sex into a sport rather than what it actually is: an act that has as its biological purpose the procreation of children, and an act that’s intended to unify married couples so they bond deeply by getting as physically close as possible. Bottom line: the eradication of Catholic culture (note that I say “Catholic” not “Christian” in general, as there’s a huge difference between Catholicism/Orthodoxy and Protestantism) has led to the only real problems you name.

            Finally, gender roles aren’t necessarily sexist. A visit to a barnyard would reveal to an observant 3-year old that hens and cockerels are different. That doesn’t mean that individual differences should be ignored, that people who don’t fit gender norms should be forced into tiny boxes, but it does go to say that, generally speaking, men are good at and want to do X, while women are good at and want to do Y. That’s nature. Can’t argue with nature. Both X and Y are valuable and should be treated as valuable, and both were when Christendom valued Mary as God’s greatest creature and the greatest of all Saints, the very Mother of God. Protestants threw all that out and we ended up with ideas that women shouldn’t serve on juries or own property in her own name if married, scold’s masks, dunking chairs, and all that sort of drivel, which first wave feminists rightfully fought against. But modern feminism has nothing to do with obtaining for women basic human respect; it has to do with dissing men and the masculine, destroying marriage, treating motherhood like a disease, talking about egalitarianism even as it works to relieve women of the responsibilities men have (such as registering for the draft), etc. Modern feminism is evil.

            And as to the shaving business: if women dressed with respect and modesty, no one would give a rat’s ass whether her pits or legs were shaved because they wouldn’t be hanging out for all to see and judge. Score another coup for the sexual revolution, a war that everyone lost but everyone keeps fighting for because sex is fun when you’re having it, even if diseases get spread and women get pregnant from it. The sexual revolution has destroyed women’s dignity, turning them into objects that are to be “pumped and dumped.” Check out this video: http://youtu.be/ToS4zoYcJnk

          • ozzysstash says:

            I completely agree with what you’re saying, Amber. Third wave feminism is entirely useless if you already have an intelligent 21st century world view; holding everyone in equal regard and understanding not to judge because you understand psychology, especially since third wave feminism oversteps its bounds and tends to give generalized advice on things other than the disenfranchisement of females, such as accepting the world of differing sexual tastes (which makes it… not strictly a feminist philosophy?). Besides, no one really set out to undermine females because of their gender (except individuals and Papists haha); humans simply are willing to make others do work they don’t want to do until they are forced to see the error in their ways… See: slavery. When you drop the righteous fury, you even see that the advent of Islam was an improvement in the way women were treated in the middle east in the 500’s, it just hasn’t been updated in 1400 years lol…

          • Anti-feminist? You do mean complete airhead then! You would be your husband(future husband)’s CHATTLE if it weren’t for the feminists that came before you…that’s *if* you are actually female.
            Women were not allowed to vote, men could beat the crap out of you and you would have no recourse/no escape…Women get beaten and killed by their husbands and boyfriend’s now all over the world, more women live in poverty and most of the world does not have equal pay laws, some men want you to think that your life ends at 29/39 by sexualizing everything you do to make you feel insecure and submissive…

          • Nonita YaBiz says:

            <3 to you sister

          • Nonita YaBiz says:

            Oh wow antifeminist so you do not use birth control. Or have a bank account or own land or enjoy being able to get an education. OBVIOUSLY!

          • Nelson White says:

            Wow. What a gross caricature. Delve out of you feminist shit hole and do some actual research.

        • But men aren’t really required to smell like ‘roses’ are they? as is the requirement put out there for women.

      • fun fact: it’s actually more hygienic to have hair “Down there” than it is to shave it. The hair is on your body for a reason. And that reason is to keep you clean.

      • huffposter says:

        Actually the hygienic reason is more applicable for people who do not shower daily. If you bathe daily and do a good job of it, hair in the nether regions will not impact hygiene whatsoever. It’s the same myth people use to justify circumcision. JUST BATHE DAILY PEOPLE AND YOU ARE HYGIENIC AND CLEAN ENOUGH!

      • Nonita YaBiz says:

        STDs spread easier on a shaved ” down there” ( think you mean vulva. As for body odor. If you use salt deodorant you will have Zero body odor. And yes women past puberty have hair. All the most sensitive places on our bodies have more hair. Head , vulva, armpits. Hair in these areas act as protective padding.

        • patricio says:

          I shave my beard every day and still shows a little, and cut my hair extremely short all the time, it makes me look good and I don’t look like a child because my shoulders are wide, my biceps are thick, chest is large, jaw is square, etc etc When I had long hair and beard women would not be as attracted towards me. I like being attractive to the opposite sex. By the way women can’t tell if I am hairy because mostly cover body with clothes than only show my neck, head and forearms witch by the way are hairless.

      • alasia min says:

        Actually hair guards against infection”down there” so your argument falls flat. What’s hygenic is washing. Take a shower daily, use soap and deodorant and you shouldn’t have a problem. You didn’t explain how it’s not pedophilic fro men to prefer women shaven as though they are pubescent so your counterargument fails.

    • I attended a talk at my sons preschool from a former FBI investigator with over
      30 years investigating pedophilia, the condition is hardwired into their
      brains. It still makes everything they do wrong. Never once did he
      say a man who sees a woman shaved is a pervert.

      The speaker who came from a strict Irish Catholic background
      said few key things to remember. Pedophilia is hardwired in their brains.
      Stranger danger is bunk. The sex registry is bunk and gives a false
      sense of security. Talk to your kids as early as they can talk about
      healthy sexual activity so they learn the difference.

      Katheryn to spread false statements about men
      who like women shaved as perpetrators of sex crimes is dangerous and wrong.

      • stevesharkman says:

        lol…you’re fbi guy likes his girls looking like a prepubescent little girls.
        it’s sick.
        real women wear hair.

        • Will Phoenix says:

          Real women don’t let strangers online dictate/define them.

        • If you cant tell the difference between a shaved grown women’s body and prepubescent little girl, than you definitely got problems buddy. Are you sure you’re not a closeted pedo.

      • Will Phoenix says:

        Thank you. “Smooth” is my Kryptonite and makes me weak in the knees but that doesn’t make me a pervert. I AM a pervert but the shaved thing has little to do with it lol

    • stevesharkman says:

      amen sister!

    • huffposter says:

      I feel like your decision may be easier if you have thin or light coloured body hair. I know that if I do not shave my legs, I have thick, dark hair all over my legs. I wish people weren’t so judgemental and I was more invisible so I could get away with not shaving my legs. Perhaps when I get old(er) I will opt out of leg shaving except for the beach.

    • lalitha says:

      Soooo true

    • Me too I agree. X daisy

  4. I thought the ancient Egyptians shaved. didn’t the Romans and Greeks too?

    • WomenYSK says:

      Hi Linda – The history above was specific to shaving/body hair removal customs of American women. You are correct that the ancient Eqyptians, Romans and Greeks were all into some form of body hair removal. Stay tuned for that story next!

    • If they did shave it was for hygiene. My
      son is reading a book called “disgusting history” most Romans had flees.
      So yes if they shaved, the book does not mention this it would most
      likely have been so flees were easier to pick off.

  5. I am one HAIRY gal. Part Italian, part monkey, not sure, but the hair on me “au naturel” is one big messy, sweaty, stinky, hot mess. I don’t like the way it feels…forget about what people say, I (italicized ) don’t like it. I like the way my skin feels with no hair. I like the way my clothes and sheets feel up against my skin with no hair. (I need not continue with more romantic descriptions, but I think you get my drift…)
    Bottom line, I just plain feel better without body hair.

    Yes, I spend a small fortune on hair removal–waxing, YES, stringing, YES, tweezing, shaving, NAPALM, YES! Whatever it takes–it’s worth it to me. And it is indeed at times torturous, but again, worth it to me.

    As for abiding by what nature dictates, ok, I get that point, but while I love the beauty of nature, I also love the way a manicured garden looks, as opposed to an overgrown, unkept one. So I cut back, weed, prune, mow, weed-whack, etc…my body…and my garden 🙂

    • Hahah! Napalm! Weed wack! Preach sister! I’m with you. Total TMI but if I didn’t get after my hairs the word unsightly doesn’t even come close to properly describe my buns…
      ARGH! 😛

    • Will Phoenix says:

      I like the way it feels, too!

    • Then you go lucky, if it wasn’t for that monkey gene in you, you would look like Cousin Itt.

  6. pretty crappy that the picture is of a woman shaving a hairless armpit. shaven ones aren’t that ‘hair free’ or attractive actually.

  7. I guess I never will get it. For as far back as I can remember, even as a child, I’ve preferred natural women. Does that make me weird? I’ve always thought that natural beauty was the best kind of beauty. It was never a requirement; only a preference. But I just don’t understand why someone would declare at some point in time that body hair on a woman was unattractive or ‘objectionable’. How was that idea formed? I asked my wife shortly after we were married if she would stop shaving – just for a little while. Of course she wanted to know why. I told her that I’d like to see who she really is – what she really looks like. I knew her heart, but not her body. Surprisingly, she was receptive to it. As her natural beauty began to emerge, I complimented her frequently about it. She never shaved again. She became even more sexy and beautiful to me. And after 10 years, I still tell her how gorgeous she is. I wish all women could understand the cultural man centric traps that compel them to do things that, in my opinion, inhibit their true beauty.

    • Will Phoenix says:

      Wow. This was very smart! it sure was cheaper than buying the lady flowers or an actual gift or even dinner too!

      • Travalot says:

        Would you mind describing the tortured logic you used to conclude that because I compliment my wife on her natural beauty that I do none of the things you mentioned? How do you imagine that you could possibly know such a thing? I’ll leave you with a paraphrase of an old saying: It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to post something and remove all doubt.

        • Will Phoenix says:

          Don’t take it personally! We are not “real” people here. These are just posts that anyone can make. I can no more prove you do not do those thing than you can prove you do. I was just referencing the posting itself. Now if you had mentioned Mark Twain someone above I would have definitely been impressed even though we know nothing about each other.

  8. I am a shaver. I shave when I want. it’s up to me! If you men don’t like it, I say lick it! 🙂

    • Judith Rosa says:

      I am an old school or maybe just plain old feminist and since I adhere to your way of dealing with the shaving issue ( and wearing make-up, etc too): I shave when I feel like it and when I don’t feel like it I go au naturel. So I am used to being hounded by both sides. I am either a whore trying to get male attention or a filthy hippie. LOL I don’t want anyone to lick it but they can all bite me.

    • Will Phoenix says:

      I think I’m in love!!

  9. Given that different societies have different rules on shaving, and that they all started at different time periods, your statement [Quote: “we can now tell you exactly when women started shaving their underarms (and other body parts).”] is moot. Your article only focuses on one society that is American society, yet you declare it as fact for all societies.

  10. huffposter says:

    I don’t mind shaving armpits it helps when sweating to reduce odour and as someone with sensitive sense of smell it’s a good thing. I absolutely despise shaving my legs. I avoid it at all costs, barely wearing shorts at all. And sometimes when I let my hair grow in a bit I am paranoid everyone is looking at and noticing the dark roots on my white calves. I have sensitive skin and ingrown hairs cause much irritation and itchiness. So bad that I often find myself awoken by scratching my legs in my sleep! Curse you 40s fashion style!! >:(

    • I’m very fortunate to have a system of friends who support my decision. We’re kinda weirded out that this is awarded the rank of “decision”. It’s no different than, “Did you ‘decide’ to brush your teeth this morning?” That’s how ingrained this is. My grandmother still shakes her head, but her wonderful grandson-in-law (my husband) is the one who once asked me, in all sincerity, “Why do you shave your legs if you hate it?” I’d probably have continued shaving my legs, never questioning it, if he never asked.

  11. Will Phoenix says:

    BTW the jury is still out on the hygiene issue: http://americanlivewire.com/2014-07-07-underarm-hair/

  12. I shave & wax my parts because I feel dirty & gross if I don’t & I’m a feminist. I just feel very clean & sexy when I do. I love the feeling of having bare, smooth, hair free skin. That feeling makes ME feel free. I don’t give a rats ass what anyone thinks. I’m a hair free woman & I love it. Hair removal just isn’t for everyone.

    • I guess you shave your head too right? to feel clean or do you wash your hair? yea, that’s what I thought.
      also, looking like a prepubescent little girl will only attract closet pedophiles.
      be a woman and wear hair.

  13. I just hope they don’t cancel Duck Dynasty. There’s enough hair in that show, for you gals to talk about for the next ten years.

  14. little poots says:

    this business that we all see shaving as some huge tedious chore is ridiculous. takes me about 40 seconds in the shower every morning.

  15. Danyiel Romo Mendoza says:

    lies. greeks.

  16. fiy, I don’t possess any ‘naughty bits’….every part of my body is legitimate and supposed to be there 😉

    but thanks for article!

  17. Janice M. O'Reilly says:

    Women, what did we get out of this article? Not much more
    than a large tub of useless whining.

    I began reading “Mental-Floss” seeking education and all
    this “Cosmo-esque” crap, got me was a slam-it-shut-and-toss-it-in-the-furnace
    waste, of my time plus, an insult to intelligence, across the board.

    Girlfriends!! If this is the
    level of information, you are satisfied with…keep the razors sharp for more
    productive use; peeling off your eyelids.

  18. People are happy to tell me that I can do whatever I want with my body in certain corners of the internet, but in real life, I’m disgusting for not wanting to shave my legs. Even the very same people shouting “BE WHO YOU ARE” on the internet do a 180 in real life. Admit it, ladies; of all the rights we’ve “earned”, we are not welcome to “love the skin [we’re] in”. We’re taught to be disgusted by it, purchase products to “fix” it, and we’re ridiculed if we accept what nature gives us.

  19. WRONG.

    1. Have you heard about a thing called The Roman Empire? That has spread on half of the Globe and lasted for 500 years? They had public bath houses and shaving with wax, honey or melted sugar was a thing. Everyone shaved, everywhere.
    2. Along with The Roman Empire, there were many other periods in ancient history when it was a norm to shave. Ancient Egyptians shaved. The most recent norm for shaving raised in the 20’s, but it was certainly not the first.
    So stop spreading bullshit and do some research before publishing articles on the internet.

    Interesting facts:
    – Shaving predates history but it was the early Egyptian men and women who really established shaving and hair removal as a regular part of daily grooming.
    – Prehistoric Times – shaving history takes us way back to the Stone Age, around 100,000BC, when Neanderthal Man started first pulling hair from his body.
    – The earliest shaving razors discovered were flint blades from as far back as 30,000BC.
    4000-3000BC Women are removing body hair with depilatory creams made from such combinations as arsenic, quicklime and starch.
    – 3000BC marked the first permanent development of razors due to metalworking being invented. In both India and Egypt razors made from copper are found available.
    – 500BC It became popular for men to crop their hair very short and shave the face in Greece. Alexander the Great is responsible for this as he is obsessed with shaving. He shaves even during war and will not be seen going to battle with a five o clock shadow. Like the Middle East culture Greeks back then considered it an aesthetic approach to personal hygiene. Around this time, Roman women remove their hair with razors and pumice stones. They even make their own depilatory creams from medicinal drugs such as Bryonia. They also pluck their eyebrows using tweezers.
    – 400BC The typical man of India is found sporting a neatly trimmed, well-groomed beard, yet he shaves off all hair on his chest and pubic area. The average woman is removing hair from her legs with razors and tweezers.

  20. Battle Mage says:

    Most of the women saying preferring smooth women is pedophilic or wrong in a less absurdly extreme way likepy prefer circumcised men. Shaving = Patriarchal Oppression but mutilating babies is just fine and looks better anyway. Smh.

  21. Ginger Snap says:

    Shaving is such a chore and so unfair..however I really really hate it when men shave. If we are going to have gender differences then please let men keep their pubic and underarm and leg hair. You can shave the lower back and the shoulders if you like but please do not shave anymore.

    And if you’re a woman…do what you like. But if you are a man who is attracted to women, please stop making yourself soooo smooth and feminine. It confuses me.

  22. I read most of comments it was funny do you like to date a fat guy who doesnt shave his beard for 20 years? of course not so please do not be ridiculous, every women or men have different pictures of being sexy for other gender it’s simple if you like your boyfriend to be fit or whatever so he likes it shaved Or maybe not shaved. I don’t think it’s a global issue!!!!

  23. Robert Monroe, Jr. says:

    When I was single and interested in a woman I wanted to know what books were in her bookcase and on her nightstand…not what was under her arms. A woman who doesn’t read intelligent books was/is more of a turnoff for me than a woman with hair on her underarms or legs.

  24. I found giving up excessive caffeine to be a better at preventing B.O. than shaving. Excessive for me was more than one cuppa coffee. I have very little visible body hair, sparse and light, including eyebrows I draw-in and powder on. Funny how eyebrows are considered ‘frames’ for the eyes. In the eighties they were big and bushy. Hmmmm. BTW I shave my what little grows in my pits, but I’m not sure why. I got new bathing suit ‘shorts’ so I don’t have to shave any stray ‘bits’ near my bikini line! Freeing! I floss everyday and bathe in multiple ways. I did the same when I was a responsible professional. I’m going to talk about other things now…

  25. James Smith says:

    I’m a guy and I shave my nether areas. I don’t shave my chest hair, or anywhere else. I just shave “down there.”
    And my girlfriend seem to like it. Not to mention it’s awesome not having to wait 10 minutes for her to get a hair out of her mouth when she “performs” on me.

  26. Actually I’m more in to epilating rather than shaving 🙂 However, shaving was the first step which hair removal evolved from. But in my opinion epilating is more efficient and interesting. I have even started a dedicated blog to share my hair removal and epilator tips : http://buyepilator.com/

  27. Sarah Munson says:

    As a grad student of the American West I did a lot of work on prostitution in the West. I read then, that prostitutes would shave their bodies to advertise (of sorts) that they didn’t have body lice and to keep “crabs” under control. Just sayin’

  28. Shaving the underarms was practiced in Europe for centuries —- originally to keep away lice which were prevalent. The upper class continued the tradition but it was not prevalent among commoners until lately with fashion changes.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Just to clarify my position on women and shaved legs, let’s look at the issue here.  Shaving any body part is a hygiene choice and therefore personal.  Women have no obligation to shave their legs, armpits, chest, arms, whatever any more than a man does to shave his face or trim his sideburns.  Do I find it more attractive when a woman has shaved legs?  Yes.  Do I feel like a woman is doing something inherently wrong by not shaving her legs?  No.  Good for her, it’s her choice.  Further, I have absolutely no right to tell a girl that she has to shave body parts or wear makeup or confirm or do anything else that I think makes her look pretty.  In return, if I choose to grow a beard — though my beard doesn’t exactly grow in the way I’d like it to — I don’t think a woman has the right to tell me I’m obligated to shave (the exception to this, of course, is if I’m offered a spot on the Yankees).  I’m also not obligated to brush my teeth or shower, though I imagine most women would prefer this.  Similarly, most men probably prefer a woman with shaven legs.  Though, this whole shaven legs thing is actually a style that’s less than 100 years old. […]

  2. […] can still do and have a great life.  But it’s kinda radical so I am going to include it!  I stopped shaving under my arms in the winter time.  I mean why do I need to?  Oh right, I forgot, my man might […]

  3. […] awkward. But why? Who’s idea was it to teach women that hair was unattractive or unsightly?. This annoying chore has been part of the female norm for a very long time. It needs to […]

  4. […] norm? Welp, I read some articles and looked at some sources (Courtesy of an awesome article from Women You Should Know) and did a little looking on Wikipedia, and what it seemed was that shaving changed with the […]

  5. […] women started shaving leg and underarm hair as soon as it became visible due to fashion changes in the early 20th century. Bikini waxing/shaving started (unsurprisingly) at the same time as the arrival of bikini […]

  6. […] removal of “objectionable hair” is a fashion stunt. Yes. It was started by the fashion industries and slowly crept over women’s bodies invading more and more (and eventually more) private […]

  7. […] part of our beauty routine, we all shave our legs. Most of us have experienced waxing. Today, I want to introduce you to epilators. Have you heard of […]

  8. […]  In the 4th century BC Alexander The Great encouraged his men to shave so enemies couldn’t grab their beards during melees. In 1847, William Henson invented the hoe-shaped razor. In 1895, King Camp Gillette, a traveling salesman, combined this shape with the idea of a disposable double-edged blade. He wanted to create a product one would need, use, throw away, and then need again (a true capitalist). And thus, the disposable razor was born. For more history check out this awesome article.  WHY WOMENSHAVE: […]

  9. […] arms, let alone your pits. Then the sleeveless dress was introduced, and when Harper’s Bazaar decided that underarm hair was “objectionable,” women were easily swayed. American fashion proved to be […]

  10. […] the Roaring 20s saw a rise in hemlines, it was nothing compared to the 1940s. This decade “brought even shorter skirts, sheerer stockings, and the rise of leggy pin-ups such as Betty Grable,” all of which influenced American women to remove “objectionable […]

  11. […] Plus there is something fun about knowing that I may not be the only woman at my “office” (a.k.a Starbucks) endorsing grooming habits that predate 1940. […]

  12. […] 20th century brought about a lot of change in women’s fashion. In their article “Pit Stop: A Quick History Of Women & Shaving,” female-centric blog Women You Should Know explains that no one ever paid any attention to […]

  13. […] any way to be sexual, even scandalous, Women You Should Know points out in their article “Pit Stop: A Quick History Of Women & Shaving” that shaving “naughty bits” has more modest roots. For centuries Muslim women in […]

  14. […] didn’t really take off until after World War One. In the Women You Should Know article “Pit Stop: A Quick History Of Women & Shaving,” the female-centric website reveals that fashion had a major influence on the American hair […]

  15. […] read this article and this sums up the whole reasoning behind women shaving. And, to be honest, I see how it […]

  16. […] may have had a number of problems in the past with your shaving creams or gels, or maybe you’re just looking for an […]

  17. […] why. Why do women shave? When did women start shaving? Well the truth is we women started shaving because the media told us to. Women didn’t start shaving under their arms until 1915, when the sleeveless dress became […]

  18. […] De ce que je connais de l’histoire et de ce que j’ai trouvé sur ces trois sites web [1, 2 et 3] (que vous pouvez aller voir pour en savoir plus!), cette aversion pour les poils du corps a […]

  19. […] medieval torture methods to keep armpits, legs and vagina boldly bald. However this is a 20th century ‘invention’ non-existent in the ‘proper old’ patriarchy. Naomi Wolf […]

  20. […] the idea that women needed the aid of these materials to appear “more feminine.” Shaving was typically only done by men, until razor companies wanted bigger sales. All of the sudden, women were expected shave their legs […]

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