If a porn magazine from thirty years ago can tell you anything, it's that the times, they are a-changing. The "growing" trend of hair removal has come to the pages of the Gray Lady, where last week they discussed several high-profile women who dared to bare their body hair. The general sentiment of women with body hair is that it is unclean, unattractive, and somehow, in one of the most successful campaigns of the beauty industry, unnatural. While the tired topic of women's body hair is revisited in popular culture every so often as a reminder that it is still unacceptable, I started to think about the role that hair removal was playing in the lives of men.
The practice of hair removal is rooted in the short supply of nylon stockings during World War II, the increasing popularity of photography and using women's bodies to sell products, and sexual dimorphism fears, but its modern day practice exists solely in the beauty industry's desire to make a profit. This is increasingly seeping over into the daily habits of men, with surveys that indicate that more and more men are opting to modify their body hair in some way, whether it be "back, crack, or sack." Their reasoning lies in the same places that women's do- that it is unsexy, unclean, etc. Though once considered emasculating because it was practiced mainly by women and gay men, removing body hair for men is becoming the norm.
The trend doesn't stop at men, as the age for girls who remove their body hair is getting younger and younger, with girls as young as eight getting bikini waxes in salons. This leaves me wondering, what does the future hold for the state of body hair? Will we all be slippery smooth beings that talk about nothing but chaffing? Will those born with less body hair be considered more evolved? Whatever it is, I can wait to find out.
Image via NY Times, Fred Duval/ FilmMagic