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How Women Ended Up Removing Hair From Their Entire Bodies: A History

Discussion in 'Coffee Shack (Daily News/Economy)' started by Goldhedge, Dec 7, 2017 at 12:44 AM.



  1. Goldhedge

    Goldhedge Moderator Site Mgr Site Supporter

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    How Women Ended Up Removing Hair From Their Entire Bodies: A History

    Why do women shave everything nowadays? Is advertising to blame? Is Charles Darwin? Is it the old classic desire to separate ourselves from animals?


    [​IMG]
    Alex Zivatar

    Hair removal is annoying. It's tedious, sometimes painful, and not always effective. But if you're a woman who subscribes to the current beauty ideals, you probably feel like it's an essential part of your routine (unless you're one of the naturally hairless "lucky" ones). Even if you don't shave/wax/whatever your body hair most of the time, you have likely thought about it or felt pressured to try it at some point.

    [​IMG]iStock

    Whether you're someone who doesn't think about it all that much or the type who regularly curses society for it, certainly we've all had days when we just wonder WHY. WHY DO WE DO THIS?

    For these times, it's nice to have a little context, even if only to have somewhere more specific to direct your rage. If you've ever wondered how women ended up shaving their entire bodies, read on for some history.

    At some point growing up, we heard that women should avoid wearing their hair in ponytails because it would be easier for predators to grab onto them. This always seemed a bit odd (couldn't predators just grab a handful of hair anyway?), impractical (ponytails are cute and functional), and annoying (add this to the list of All the Other Things Women Should Not Do).


    But apparently this hair-grabbing concern has been around since cavemen roamed the earth. According to Mic:

    "Contrary to how cavewomen and cavemen are often depicted—almost entirely covered with hair, looking like a bunch of hairy hippies—archaeologists have come to believe that they were the first ones to embrace shaving. …According to History Undressed, both men and women during the Stone Age often shaved their heads and faces so their opponents in battle wouldn't have the advantage of grabbing onto anything. It was also to prevent their chances of frostbite."

    Hair removal may have been a hygiene issue for cavemen.
    We can't speak to the credentials of the History Undressed blog cited by Mic, nor were we able to find any primary sources confirming these facts about cavemen. But according to The Economist, which we hope employs fact checkers:

    "Some even argue that early cave paintings prove that cavemen were removing hairs from their face. ...At first, it is said, they plucked hair out using a pair of seashells as tweezers, and later they scraped away at it with razors made of flint or horn. Since horn becomes blunt quickly, it may almost be said that stone-age man invented the disposable razor. Others may have singed their facial hair with burning twigs.

    "Why? Perhaps because it became sweaty and dirty, made eating awkward and played host to nits."

    [​IMG]


    According to Cambridge archaeologist Margarita Gleba, interviewed by The Naked Scientists, it's conceivable that by the time of Stone Age, if cavemen were doing some hair removal, they were doing it "with very sharp stone tools."

    Different expectations for men's and women's body hair arose—surprise!—in ancient Greece.
    Just kidding. It is, of course, no surprise at all, ancient Greece being a society that deemed beautiful men full of virtue and beautiful women full of wickedness. They also, if you recall, believed that women were disfigured men. "Hesiod—an 8th/7th Century BC author whose works were as close as the Greeks got to a bible—described the first created woman simply as kalon kakon—'the beautiful-evil thing,'" the BBC reports.


    So when it came to the question of whether women could just strut their stuff as they came naturally, the answer was a big NO. (Actually, it's more of a MAYBE...but probably NO?) Gabrielle Moss writes for Bustle:

    "The ancient Greeks thought pubic hair on women was 'uncivilized,' though there is some debate about whether average women went hairless, or just courtesans. Upper class women of ancient Rome also kept their bonnets smooth, and some men removed their body hair, as well—though they were thought to be 'dandies' because of it."

    In ancient Egypt, everybody was doing it.

    While Greece was busy shaming women for the uncivilized hair on their ladyparts, Ancient Egypt was also spreading hairlessness—but the mandate wasn't so gendered.


    In Gizmodo, Andrew Tarantola writes:

    "In the fourth century BC, Greek historian Herodotus (485-425BC) derisively noted that the Egyptians 'set cleanliness above seemliness' by bathing several times daily and maintaining a strict regimen of shaving their bodies clean—men, women, even children. Everybody, especially the upper classes, went completely bare."

    This was because of the heat as well as for hygienic reasons.

    [​IMG]

    It's also worth noting that Ancient Egyptian society was unusually egalitarian between the sexes. As Dr. Joann Fletcher writes for the BBC, "Indeed, neighbouring countries were clearly shocked by the relative freedom of Egyptian women and, describing how they 'attended market and took part in trading whereas men sat and home and did the weaving', the Greek historian Herodotus believed the Egyptians 'have reversed the ordinary practices of mankind.'"

    The Creepy Darwinism Connection
    Hairlessness as an expectation specifically applied to women might have its roots in Darwinism—and racism.


    According to Nadine Ajaka, writing for The Atlantic:

    "The campaign against body hair on women originates in Darwin’s 1871 book Descent of Man. …Men of science obsessed over racial differences in hair type and growth (among other aspects of physical appearance), and as the press popularized these findings, the broader American public latched on. Darwin’s evolutionary theory transformed body hair into a question of competitive selection—so much so that hairiness was deeply pathologized."

    [​IMG]


    Ajaka quotes Rebecca Herzig, who in her book Plucked: A History of Hair Removal, writes that these ideas were "rooted in traditions of comparative racial anatomy."


    As the thinking went, greater gender differences meant superiority. "Scientists surmised that a clear distinction between the masculine and the feminine indicated 'higher anthropological development' in a race," writes Ajaka. "So, hairiness in women became indicative of deviance, and researchers set out to prove it."

    Fashion and advertising spread shaving.
    In the early 1900s, leg and underarm hair wasn't of much concern to women. "Clothes were so concealing that it was rare to see bare legs or underarms, so removing hair there wasn't an issue," Phil Edwards writes for Vox. "Before the 1910s, depilatories for those areas were used primarily by actresses or dancers, or for surgery."


    But in 1915, Harper's Bazaar began running ads for underarm hairlessness among women wearing the popular fashions of the time, like Greek- and Roman-style sleeveless dresses, and presumably, it was ads like these that got into people's heads as the fashions changed. Marlen Komar writes in Bustle:

    "Ads often rely on the emotions of their consumers to sell their ideas, and they pull on strings attached to fear, love, and vanity to create problems that you previously didn't know you had. But once the seed is planted, you'll be hard-pressed not to want to fix it. That's exactly what happened with the dawn of the lady razor: Once Victorian dresses were shrunken down to the size of flapper ones, a lot more seemingly-innocent hair was exposed. And with that, an idea of a new problem arose."


    Not everyone agrees that women's dress was the cause of changing body hair trends. "It is not clear when women began shaving their legs," The Economist insists. "One idea, almost certainly wrong, is that the fashion began in the 1920s when western women's skirts became shorter." Well, The Economist, what's your better explanation? We'll wait.

    Women were dying to be hairless—literally.
    So, for whatever reason—brainwashing by ad companies or science, as it would appear—women of a certain class came to find body hair disgusting earlyish in the 20th century, and they wanted very much to separate themselves from it.

    Some even died trying to remove it. Ajaka writes:

    "In the 1920s and ’30s, women used pumice stones or sandpaper to depilate, which caused irritation and scabbing. Some tried modified shoemaker’s waxes. Thousands were killed or permanently disabled by Koremlu, a cream made from the rat poison thallium acetate. It was successful in eliminating hair, and also in causing muscular atrophy, blindness, limb damage, and death."

    Unfortunately, the priority of hair removal was firmly in place. "Around the same time, X-ray hair removal emerged as another treatment option," Ajaka writes. "Women would sit for three or four minutes in front of the invisible rays of a boxed X-ray machine, and the radiation would do its work."


    For nearly 20 years, women kept up this hair-removal radiation, for the small price of scarring, ulceration, and cancer.

    Basically, body hair trends exist to be profitable.
    Last year Slate ran a piece called "A New Survey Shows Most Women Groom Their Pubic Hair. Should We Be Concerned?" This survey of a nationally representative sample of 3,316 American women revealed that 84 percent of women were doing some kind of ladyscaping, whether by scissor, razor, wax, tweezers, depilatory cream, laser, or electrolysis.


    In what must seem like a baffling and even thrilling twist for American women, Korean women have begun paying to get hair transplants to their vulvas to signify health. For Refinery29, Joyce Kong writes:

    "According to the Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors, an insufficiency of pubes (in otherwise healthy people) is a disorder called 'pubic atrichosis.' A Korean clinic called Renaissance estimates that 10% of Korean women have it. Some even suffer from psychological stress as a result."

    Hm, that doesn't sound like a disorder at all to our American ears! Guess the grass is always greener—and trimmed always in some prohibitively expensive way—on the other side.
     
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  2. Zed

    Zed Size doesn't count! Midas Member

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    Shaving is the easy part! Buffing them to a high shine is the biatch! :D

    Call me old school, I kinda like the furry bits.
     
  3. nickndfl

    nickndfl Midas Member Midas Member Site Supporter ++

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    My first wife started shaving her axe wound in the 1990s and her gyno said I had some kind of fetish for young girls. My first wife was actually 4 years older than me. I just liked a shaved bush. I was never into retro bush, not even in the 1970s.
     
  4. skychief

    skychief enthusiastic stacker Silver Miner

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    If she wants oral, she gotta be clean. No exceptions!
     
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  5. GOLDBRIX

    GOLDBRIX God,Donald Trump,most in GIM2 I Trust. OTHERS-meh Site Supporter Platinum Bling

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    The WORSE I ever had was WONDERFUL. YMMV :2 thumbs up:

    From the day a man is born he is trying to find ways to get back in. :winks2:
     
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  6. arminius

    arminius Gold Member Gold Chaser Site Supporter ++

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    hair today.jpg
     
  7. Zed

    Zed Size doesn't count! Midas Member

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    Yeah, I blame porn for it...
     
  8. solarion

    solarion Gold Member Gold Chaser Site Supporter

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    axe wound? lol

    The feminazis will see you smoking a turd in hell for that one boyo.
     
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  9. GOLDBRIX

    GOLDBRIX God,Donald Trump,most in GIM2 I Trust. OTHERS-meh Site Supporter Platinum Bling

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    Yeah, But there is not a MAN in the World, that has one gram of testosterone in his body, that would not try.

    Definition of a True Gentleman - A man who can count each individual pubic hair on a woman's crotch and not get a "hard-on" .
    Of course that definition may have changed with the homosexual led agendas. - IDK
     
  10. Mujahideen

    Mujahideen Black Member Midas Member

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    Triple post for the win!

    If I’m gonna eat some seafood I can only tolerate a very small amount of hair. My saliva gets on the hair and then it brushes against my face and it’s cold and wet and that’s not cool.

    Otherwise I could care less unless it’s a ridiculous amount of hair down there.
     
  11. GOLDBRIX

    GOLDBRIX God,Donald Trump,most in GIM2 I Trust. OTHERS-meh Site Supporter Platinum Bling

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    LMAO ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Muj. :dduck:

    Fixed it ( I hope)

    This Multi & Dupes crap just started in the last five or six months. I usually catch them after I post.
     

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