The History of Why Women Shave Their Body Hair

Human bodies are naturally hairy. So why did it become an expectation of women to remove that hair, often by any means necessary?

Ancient Egyptians gave us the pyramids, but they also started a trend in the midst of all that massive stone block-stacking: completely hairless women for aesthetic reasons only, from the tops of their heads to the tips of their toes and all points in between. The ‘aesthetic’ label is important here, since there are theories that our ancient caveman and woman ancestors did what they could to get rid of their body hair, but that was for a legitimate reason: it was one less thing for an enemy to grab them by.

We know that money talks, and in this particular case women with hairy legs or armpits could take a walk. In more modern times, it was razor manufacturer Gillette that realized selling their products to women could double their sales overnight. That’s when the marketing departments stepped in, and by the early 1900s women were being told that hair in certain places on their body made them undesirable and unappealing. The rest, as we now know, is hair-free history.

Story by Jay Moon