Women who've stopped shaving their armpits
Women Who Don't Shave
The debate of women choosing to shave or not to shave is a heated one, just a quick search online will pull up some of the backlash the non-shavers get from (mostly men) people. I've read responses from men saying things such as, "If a woman doesn't shave she might as well be a man" and "I won't be with any girl who doesn't shave". Oh is that right? Who made you Casanova? Demanding someone to keep up with unrealistic ideals to satisfy yourself. How very manly of you, indeed.
Women who don't shave are not dirty, gross, unfeminine or unnatural, (I've actually heard that argument and responded ever so appropriately with a dumbfounded look). If body hair were so disgusting and dirty women wouldn't have been born with hair to begin with! And it's as simple as that -- it's not the evil feminist agenda that people make it out to be, but it seems to me that most people just like to have something or someone to be offended by. This hub isn't about the double standard women are subjected to -- which I personally think is an imaginary construct created by women who won't just get up and do what they want and instead shout "OPPRESSOR" at every man within a 2 foot radius -- no, this hub is about the conditioning, the bizarre ideas we've put into play when it comes to hygiene and the belief that you should do something just because everyone else does. I call nonsense.
The Idea of Hygiene
I wonder to myself if maybe this mandate for women to shave is just another aspect of our ingrained ideas of what is hygienic. Funny though, that's all they are: ideas. The idea that shaving is necessary to maintain cleanliness is just bonkers, same goes for bathing every single day, same goes for washing your hair every single day -- it's not requisite. After all, it wasn't until quite recently (in the scheme of the world's history) that we began shaving, bathing and washing on a regular basis.
The "developed world", as it's called, tends to be thoroughly obsessed with cleanliness. Brush your teeth, wash your hands, shower everyday, clothes are filthy after one wear, yada yada the list goes on. What's astonishing to me is that our culture practices such an extreme routine of external hygiene and yet much of the population will binge daily on the worst food known to man. It's odd that so many of us are perfectly okay with destroying our internal system but can't bear the thought of going a day without showering. Mind-blowing.
I've heard people say that women's motivation for shaving is for sanitary reason. Oh don't make me laugh. If that we're truly the case then men would be shaving their pits, chests, backs and legs bare everyday just like the majority of women. It's not an issue of sanitation if only one gender does it.
Let's face it, ladies. Most of us only shave because it's what we were taught. Most of us probably haven't even seen a westernized woman in public with hairy armpits or legs. We're told it's sexy to be silky smooth, but sexy is only in the eye of the beholder. What we perceive as sexy is heavily influenced by the environment we've grown up in and an environment with only sleek, shiny, smooth women and hairy men is really going to leave an impression.
Ladies, Do You Shave?
A Short History on Women Shaving
In 1915 Harper's Bazzar published the first advertisement featuring a woman in a sleeveless dress (all the rage at the time) with shaven underarms. The ad referred to hair under the arms as "objectionable" and wrote of how there was simply no arguing that "fashionable women" would shave off this unfortunate curse bestowed upon women. And so it began.
By the twenties everyone was doing it and by the thirties we were waxing our hair away. Just think about how conditioned you've become; could you walk into a restaurant with furry legs and armpits totally exposed for male viewing? Could you? Most likely not.
Women who have Stopped Shaving
Believing you should or shouldn't shave
Why is hair on a female's body still thought of as unsanitary and unsightly? Even after almost 100 years of mindlessly believing and spending hours a week removing every last body hair, women still put themselves through this needless torture. How could anyone find body hair repulsive? It's present naturally and I thought natural beauty was all the craze right now; if you want some real and raw beauty let yourself go hairy once in a while, I mean, it can't kill you. It's kind of cute if you ask me; furry legs remind me of little bears walking around. Quite personally, I very rarely shave my legs but maybe twice a year and I shave my underarms a few times a month. For me, my hair removal routine is based solely on my laziness: armpits are shaved smooth in a couple minutes but shaving both legs from ankle to hip takes way too much time for me to even consider putting energy into such a thing.
Shave if you want or don't shave if you don't want to.
The right to one's own body seems to be a hard concept for us to grasp. We don't own other people. We don't have any claim to their mind, hearts, spirits or bodies. Everybody is a special creature who should have the right to experience and grow in themselves without any judgemental opinions being shouted at them. You should be able to come to conclusions on your own. You should be able to say, "Oh, well I don't want to shave anymore. I don't see the need." or "I'll continue to shave because I feel clean and I like the feeling." Without having anyone call you less of a woman. The hair is there naturally and therefore the hair on a woman's body is feminine, and if you choose to shave then you're just as womanly. The war between women based on appearance has got to stop.
Do you believe women should or shouldn't shave?
Milly Light on March 23, 2020:
I personally shave my legs and armpits but only when I want to do it. Sometimes I don't shave. And I know it will reach a point where I don't shave anymore.
Emily Klein on May 17, 2018:
Following beauty norms to attract a mate is not only normal, but biological.
nahnahnahnahnah on August 29, 2017:
@Ehrin I wouldn't WANT to date a guy who shaved. If you shave, most people have to do it at least once a day to prevent stubble, which is way scratchier and sloppier looking than going au naturel. Then there are those who shave in the morning and have stubble by evening; they'd have to shave twice a day to stay smooth, which is going to wreak havoc on their skin. Besides, I love body hair, especially on men. I wouldn't want to shave for a guy in exchange for him shaving "for me" -- that would be a major lose-lose. I think I will keep my man with the nice furry chest and well-groomed beard, who doesn't cry over a sprinkling of fluff on my legs.
Ehrin on February 08, 2016:
I'm a guy and would never date a women with hair. I personally find hair disguting. I, in turn, shave my head, arms, chest, groin, and trim my pits and butt. I would shave my legs if it were socially acceptable. My girl shaves all her body as well. So if I can shave my body.... then so can you.
Responding to Tom on February 07, 2016:
First of all, that is a very general statement. Not all women want/expect that. And, that's all men ask? Is that really true? Do you really know if shaving is as easy as you think? Even if all of this were true, that shaving was extremely easy, the only demand of men to women is to shave, and women demand all of these qualities... don't you/men already want to be handsome and fit even without the expectations of a woman? I really doubt that shaving is the only thing you ask of a woman.
S on February 07, 2016:
Also, hair removal can be traced back to early Egypt and Rome, some thought that body hair was a deformity, some thought that it was shameful and unclean, some thought it was barbaric to have body hair because animals=beasts and beasts had hair, therefore people shouldn't have hair to be better than "beasts". This mindset, obviously not exactly this, could have followed us to the modern day.
S on February 07, 2016:
Just a fact to support your argument: It is actually bad for your health and hygiene to take a shower everyday.
tom on December 18, 2015:
to be fair women want men to be fit, handsome, funny, handy, romantic, great talker list goes on , and all men ask for is women too shave witch take 1 minute.
Jennifer Mugrage from Columbus, Ohio on August 23, 2015:
MaxinaHamm , I get that the throwaway comment about screaming "Oppressor!" made you mad, but the overall point of the Hub is clearly one that you agree with. When it comes to not shaving, Sarah is ON YOUR SIDE!
To Sarah, I don't think that the norm of females shaving is really a tool of male oppression. It is just a quirky societal norm of beauty. Every society has them. Some places, people paint their faces, wear a jewel between their eyes, or don't expose their ankles. I believe the ancient Egyptians shaved their heads (women included), and then wore wigs. This made lice easier to manage (don't ask me where I learned that!).
I have been told that some Europeans find shaving body hair to be bizarre and/or slutty. Different cultures, different norms.
I do agree that the norm we have here in the U.S. of women being completely hairless is inconvenient, and since it requires so much maintenance, it's a definitely a moneymaking industry. Maybe it would be better if our norm were more natural and less high-maintenance, but that's the norm that's out there in our society, so we have to recognize that and make our choices to either follow it or not. That will depend on our comfort, time budget, and what's important to the man we love.
I have seen women, very tan skinned, with very fine-textured body hair, who looked fine when not shaving. I have very fair skin and dark, coarse leg hair, so I do shave regularly in the summer.
Men also have physical ideals that they are held up to. Admittedly, body image stuff is not as bad for them as for us, but I have met men who were self-conscious about not having enough chest hair.
Pam wildcat on June 17, 2015:
Try being a little more tolerant and respectful of different opinions. Drop the sarcasm. And yes, most double standards are placed on the female gender, because he make gender owns and controls everything.
I shave, but get sick and tired of doing this to my body. I truly detest shaving! It is uncomfortable, painful, and expensive for women. We allow males to get off free on this and many, many other issues. No fair. I do it because I challenged this rule one or two times and not only did I have people snickering and pointing at my legs and armpits, but I got into it with co workers over a debate about how it isn't fair to do this and other rules against females. The issues of double standards are abuse.
June 17, 2015
Jorge on August 13, 2014:
Let's keep the forest!
Sarah R. Reusing (author) from Eastern Shore, Maryland on June 08, 2013:
Calm down. You need to know someone before throwing insults their way.
FYI..I presented both sides here. I frankly don't care what people do with their bodies. What I'm talking about with the double standard is that, yes, a lot of women (in the western world, which is the POV I'm writing from) exaggerate it...because people as a whole (men and women) like to have pity parties and be victims of something (even imaginary) it seems to give them some kind of bogus identity.
I'll have you know that I live on the eastern shore of MD, which is considered Southern so to make the assumption that I just haven't experienced this double standard is obviously not true. I don't shave on a regular basis either...I've been made fun of, but it says more about them than it does me. I don't care what people think, never have..there isn't one right way to do anything. No one is forcing anyone's hand. You can live however the hell you want. If you wanna start making up excuses that you can't don't go blaming a whole gender.
Sad that this hub offended you so much. But, then again, people love to have something to be offended by. Makes 'em feel special
MaxinaHamm on June 08, 2013:
You need to learn what is a double standard before being an ass.
"A double standard is the application of different sets of principles for similar situations, or by two different people in the same situation. A double standard may take the form of an instance in which certain concepts (often, for example, a word, phrase, social norm, or rule) are perceived as acceptable to be applied by one group of people, but are considered unacceptable—taboo—when applied by another group." (Wikipedia)
So indeed, the expectation for women to shave is a double standard, since it's not asked for men, not even breads or mustaches. Even without it being violently reinforced, if there is a standard for woman that's not existing for men, then there's a double standard. It's not something other women imagine.
And, yeah, in some places it's really reinforced and you don't actually have the choice. I've been aggressed because I did not shave my legs, and I know it happened to other women as well (or because they do not shave their armpits), yet I see men with hairy legs all the time. I get insulted or laughed at when I get out with my hairy legs, yet I'm not that hairy, and I also know it happens to other women. I live in France, but I've read american women to whom similar things happened. Some employers don't allow women to have hairy legs or won't hire a hairy woman. More casually, hairy women are not represented on TV, ads, except very rarely as laughingstock, yet you can see hairy bodied men represented often in ads and fashion spreads, but do you ever see hairy women's legs or underarms in fashion spreads? That's a double standard.
Get over yourself! Just because you do not NOTICE a double standard, because you don't know what it actually mean or because it isn't so heavily reinforced where you live does not mean women who do notice it or live in places where not shaving IS DANGEROUS are whiny, making shit up or anything.
Also, lots of women who do not shave notice a double standard, so why do you think it means they 'won't just get up and do what they want and instead shout "OPPRESSOR" at every man within a 2 foot radius'? It implies the women in question do shave, yet you can't ignore that most women who talk about a double standard are those who don't shave and it's just plain hateful and condescending to those who do shave and notice the double standard.