To Shave or Not to Shave? (The Legs)
Posted by adamswife on April 26, 2008
I was intrigued by a comment over at zazamataz.com about shaving your legs.
Consider the following statements – all of which I have personally heard on numerous occasions.
“I couldn’t sleep with him, I hadn’t shaved my legs!”
“She’s one of those women, she doesn’t shave her pits or legs.”
“Oh, I’m glad I’m not dating anyone, I don’t have to shave above my knees.”
Shaving is a choice but there are personal and social repercussions to choosing not to follow the cultural norm. I think over time it has simply become something most of us don’t question. It’s just a part of grooming, right? Yet women in many cultures don’t shave their legs. Men don’t typically shave their legs so there’s probably not a real health benefit to it. So exactly why do many of us do it?
Being the naturally inquisitive person I am, and enjoying a good “discussion,” I decided to see if I could find where this practice began. Of course, the first source of internet information is Wikipedia which had this to say
The reasons for this cultural standard are debated, but it is sometimes seen as an example of a cultural mechanism for increasing sexual dimorphism. Others have suggested that it was promoted as a means of selling razors to a broader segment of the populace.
Research also suggests that women who do not shave their body hair are “characterized by higher global self-esteem.” [unreliable source?] Scholars suggest that this is because women with lower levels of self-esteem are less likely to be satisfied with their natural bodies, and thus more likely to alter them. [unreliable source?]
So, what do you think? Is shaving your legs a sign that you lack self-esteem? Or is it a way to differentiate between the sexes? Or just an advertising ploy to sell more razors?
Snopes has some interesting discussion here.