Body Hair and Shaving: Why do Women Remove It?


Ruby Harris, Associate Editor

Why does everyone hate body hair? It’s just your body. Why are women obligated to shave everywhere because it makes them pretty? It’s not like hair equals beauty. And while this may be an uncomfy or seemingly gross topic, I think it’s important to cover something a little taboo. 70% of men say women are more attractive without any body hair. That means 7 out of 10 men you may meet would say they prefer a woman who has no body hair. 

Throughout history women with body hair were normal, even up to the 1940’s. It was common for women to rock some great armpit and leg hair. Hemlines started to rise and stockings went from dark to a more lighter look to simulate an actual leg that isn’t one. Once WWII came around, the production in nylon and silk stockings declined rapidly and women would apply liquid stockings over their bare legs to resemble the nice stocking clad leg they had previously dawned. On the other hand, underarm hair was deemed offensive in 1908, when big corporations that specialized in men’s grooming products sought to expand their customer base. The movement caught on and women started to regularly shave. And when dresses became sleeveless and more revealing, shaving became a task done fairly often. 

So, why is it such a radical idea to have body hair now? Well, society has trained us to see hair on a woman and immediately say, “That’s horrible and ugly.” Body hair has been looked down on so negatively for years and is now recently gaining more support. Dr. Breanne Fahs, a professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University says that 93% of women remove their body hair regularly.  Basically every woman you will come across removes their body hair.

But now being natural and not shaving is becoming an empowering way for women to express themselves. I myself have stopped shaving. For the last month I haven’t shaved once and it is in fact empowering. Even though people look down upon it and find it gross and ugly. I have found that it saves time and so much energy. I have shaved since early middle school tirelessly and I’m sure many women would agree that it’s a laborious task that takes up so much shower time. Since I was young I always thought that women had to be shaven clean. It was just the way it was. But when you open your eyes and see that body hair is just a part of you, that’s when you realize how nice it is to embrace it. Not shaving became a way to love myself even though I have struggled (like most people) with that.  And while I’m not saying you should stop shaving all together, I would recommend trying it whether it’s just over the winter when no one can see, or even for the rest of the year. It was a freeing experience for me and helped me learn to love myself even the parts that I thought were gross.