Why the History of Women Removing Their Body Hair Is Steeped With Misogyny

Why the History of Women Removing Their Body Hair Is Steeped With Misogyny

Having body hair is okay. However, if you decide to shave the hair, ensure that you are doing it the right way. Before you begin shaving, have you ever thought how this shaving culture came to be and why it is more common for women than it is for men? A deeper look at the history of body hair shaving will show that there is much more to the practice than just beauty.

Ancient Egypt

Egypt seems to be the mother of all beauty routine used by women today. Body shaving too appears to have first originated from Egypt. Women spent more time ensuring they did not have any hair on their skin than they did apply makeup.  During those times, a woman was more beautiful if her hair was completely removed. For this reason, they removed all the hair from their bodies including the hair on their heads. Unlike today, they did not have technological tools that helped them achieve this purpose. So they created their tweezers from pumice stones and seashell balls. They also occasionally waxed and made the wax from sugar and beeswax.

After death, women were buried with a razor blade and the tweezers and a triangle in their pubic area so that they would continue looking beautiful even in the afterlife.

Roman Empire

During the Roman Empire, lack of body hair was considered a sign of class and wealth.  Unlike the Egyptians however, these men and women used razors, tweezers, creams, flints, and stones to remove any excess hair that had grown. To then even pubic hair was considered uncivilized. You will notice this because many portraits and carvings of these women are hairless. This is perhaps where women today got the sense that all hair must be removed.

Middle ages

Queen Elizabeth I in the Middle Ages was the main reason why women opted to remove all the hair from their bodies. She set the pace and women gladly followed it. Some women who followed her example removed all their hair from their face but did not eliminate the hair on the rest of their bodies. Unlike today where women want their eyebrows neatly shaped, women in this era wanted to remove all the hair from their face and forehead to make it look larger. Women did this using bandages soaked in ammonia or walnut oil. They also used vinegar occasionally.

18th century

The 18th century brought with it a more civilized approach to hair removal. By this time, women did not care much about the amount of hair they had on their bodies. Those who did remove it because they wanted to and not because of influence from other women. In 1760 the first straight razor was created. This allowed women to shave the hair on their body without too much pain involved. In 1884 the first depilatory creams were set up by Dr. Gour and about 40 y8ears later the first modern day shaving razor for men was created by King Camp Gillette a company8 that is still famous to date. Although women did use the razors to shave unwanted hairs from their bodies, it took three decades before a razor for females was marketed. This was in 1900. In 1940 Remington came up with the first electric shaving blade for women. More and more products for hair removal were being produced. Hair removal techniques gave women the confidence to show little more legs as they dressed.

It was not until the 1950s that hair removal because universally accepted and normalized. Shaving creams irritated the skin, so women used razors to remove hair from their bodies and tweezers to shape their eyebrows. In 1960, wax strips made their first debut. They quickly became a standard hair removal technique because they removed all the hair and one would not have to shave for months. In the mid-60s the first laser hair removal method came into being. It was, however, unpopular because it damaged the skin. Today, laser hair removal is back with a bang. Laser hair removal machines are painless, fast and convenient.


Once you have found a shaving method that works for you, you should use it. Come summer a sexy body and hairless skin are always trending.

– Jason Phillips

Recommended: Body Hair Removal Tips

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