My latest interest is in knowing about marketing campaigns that changed how we know and perceive certain things. For example diamonds. The long held belief that diamonds are rare precious stones symbolizing forever is nothing but the fruits of a widely successful marketing campaign. Here’s the link .
Today, we will talk about shaving. It is no wonder that our society and media portrays smooth skin as desirable. The art of hair removal dates back to Egyptian civilization where pharaohs and priests were believed to remove body hair. Peer pressure and societal norms leave little for independent thought but views regarding body hair are changing.
History (Civilization, countries and cultures)
Reasons for hair removal can be religious, cultural, sexual, medical or sports related. Throughout history we have instances of various cultures where hair removal or growing hair held social importance.
Every culture of human society has some social norms that are to be followed by people of that society. Men and Women of the society are held to different standards. The norms change from time to time. In many cultures men shave their facial hair either because they can’t grow full beard or because they hair colour is different from their scalp hair colour or grooming beard is in itself a task. Some men shave their head as a fashion statement or to hide male pattern baldness. In few religions (Buddhism etc) shaving head is part of induction into monastic life whereas Sikhs oppose all forms of hair removal.
In ancient Egypt, depilation was commonly practiced, with pumice and razors used to shave. In ancient Greece and Rome, the removal of body and pubic hair may have been practiced between both men and women. It is represented in artistic description of male and female nudity.
Athletes remove body and in some cases pubic hair for enhancing performance. For example swimmers remove body hair in order to support their streamlined body and for their suits to fit closer to their bodies. Bicyclist remove body hair to decrease the effects of ‘road rash’ by minimizing the tearing action of hair against pavement during a bike crash and to provide easier injury clean up afterwards.
Contribution of Advertisement
Advertisements are false, misleading playing with consumers emotions and insecurities. Hitting the right spots is more important than giving out all the information. They only work to promote their brand and product. This is not to say that ads are always deceptive, there are many ads which are heart touching and deeply moving sending out positive messages as well. In the past in case of shaving or any kind of hair removal advertisements created problems we didn’t know we had. From the beginning shaving was marketed for women from introducing the need for shaving to razors to remove hair in the fastest way possible to resorting to making them feel isolated and embarrassed if they were not on board with it to making them seem beautiful alluring and oozing sex appeal to egging them on, provoking them to handle razor like a man to being trendy. With changing decade everything was tried.
What is most baffling and frustrating about these shaving ads is that they shave already shaved legs. Like really?!
Function Of Human Hair
Hair on human body is not unnatural. It serves a number of functions including insulation, protection, friction buffer and redirection of water and sweat from the body.
Insulation – It acts as a physical barrier between external cold air and the skin. It also traps warm air in between the skin and the hair, keeping the body warmer.
Hair also protects skin from external factors such as sun damage and chapped skin from wind damage. it also blocks dust and dirt from settling on the skin.
Hair serves as a buffer against friction.
It soaks up sweat for easier evaporation so that the sweat isn’t stuck to the body during physical activity, also so it won’t cause irritation from friction and so the certain body parts dry faster and stay protected. Hair in the armpits pulls sweat from the armpits to cool the area.
Present day scenario
With body positivity and feminism becoming mainstream. Everyone has a choice to shave or not to shave. It is more of a personal preference rather than a societal one. Deviating from the norms of the society can be alienating but there is always a choice. Instead of spending loads of money on razors, shaving creams, wax strips etc one can choose not to shave. Everyone gets into some form of hair removal tweaking, waxing shaving etc if one chooses to indulge in it or not. Whatever is your personal preference it’s okay.
Humans are mammals which means females of the Homo Sapiens species are mammals. So they have hair on their body. It is natural. As far as ‘unfeminine’ goes I’m pretty sure a marketing campaign shouldn’t be telling you what feminine or masculine is, define it for yourself. Gender and its qualities are on a spectrum anyway, not two opposing ends. For men and women keep it or remove it. Your choice.
Pic Credits to their artists and google images.
I couldn’t get hold of all the artists so the links are given to the users who have shared that artwork.
1st image taken from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/395683517247670434/
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