Changing Attitudes towards Body Hair

Society’s attitudes towards female body hair may seem to be set in stone. When we see models in magazines or billboards, it is extremely unusual to see them as anything other than completely waxed, plucked and preened. This prevalence of the completely hairless woman makes it easy to believe that it must have always been this way, but if we look back a little through history, we can see that fashions and attitudes are in no way static.

In the beginning…

The idea of removing body hair was not something that was widely considered until the Ancient Egyptians1 . Prior to this, there is evidence that it may have been removed for ritualistic or personal reasons, but it couldn’t be considered a trend. It wasn’t until the Egyptians, that a society embraced hair removal as a fashion. They would remove all of the hair from their bodies, men and women both, using razors, sugaring, or primitive depilatory creams. This was a practice later adopted by the Romans, although with both cultures, it would have been far more common amongst the rich.  

The (5 O’Clock) Shadows of Time

Viking burial sites often contained razors, mirrors, and combs which shows that they took great care with their appearance, and hair in particular, so it would not be unreasonable to assume that this would extend to body hair. It was also during this time that Islam was founded in the Middle East, which teaches that the armpits should be plucked, and the pubic hair shaved2. So, we can safely assume that the trend and custom of removing body hair, was alive and well during the first millennia.

A Body Hair Renaissance

In Renaissance art there was nary a body hair to be seen, so it follows that society would take instruction from this, and that it became the norm to take a lot more care over one’s body hair. This is evidenced in the often quoted anecdote about the art critic John Ruskin, in that he was unable to consummate his marriage due to his shock and distaste at seeing his wife’s apparently un-Renaissance naked body!

The 20th Century

Although we can see that there have been fashions and trends for hair removal all throughout time, it wasn’t until the twentieth-century that these trends began to be followed by everyone from all walks of life. The main reason for this is the widespread availability of hair-removal products, and aggressive marketing campaigns in magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar. For example, in 1915 they released an advert showing a woman with her arms in the air, exhibiting hair-free armpits with the line: “Summer Dress and Modern Dancing combine to make necessary the removal of objectionable hair”3! In this same year, Gillette released the first razor marketed specifically at females.

Hair Today (Gone Tomorrow?)

Whether you choose to get rid of hair from any part of yo ur body is completely your choice, and shouldn’t be based on anything other than what you want to do with your body. If you do decide that removing some or all of your body hair is the right thing for you, then Veet provides plenty of solutions to meet your personal preferences. So whatever you decide, the process will be an easy one.