Painting

Recent studies indicate that more than 99 percent of American women voluntarily remove hair, and more than 85 percent do so regularly, even daily. This habit appears to transcend ethnic, racial, and regional boundaries.

Hairy women are rated as less sexually attractive, intelligent, sociable, happy, and positive than visibly hairless women. Not only that, women who resist shaving their legs are generally judged as dirty or gross: hair is dirty!

Over the course of a lifetime American women who shave will spend, on average, more than ten thousand dollars and nearly two entire months of their lives simply managing unwanted hair. The woman who waxes once or twice a month will spend more than twenty-three thousand dollars over the course of her lifetime.

Although generally ignored by social surveying, transsexual, transgender, and genderqueer people also express concern with hair management, and employ varying techniques of hair removal.

Dominant culture’s general aversion to visible hair is simply another form of gendered social control!

The overall effect of the hairlessness norm is to produce feelings of inadequacy and vulnerability, the sense that women’s bodies are problematic the way they naturally are.

Practices of hair removal, in turn, produce pre-pubescent-like, highly sexualized bodies, which ultimately contribute to the increasing objectification of young girls.

From “Plucked: A History of Hair Removal” by Rebecca M. Herzig.

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