Women's Shaving

Wed, 19 Oct 1994 11:14:06 -0800

I teach for a campus of the University of Alaska, but also give guest
lectures in my wife's high school classes. Recently I was giving a
short talk on Athabaskan ethnography, including information on
traditional hair styling and body decorations. My wife tells me that
later, two of the girls on the basketball team told her that they have
a custom of not shaving their legs in the fall, between the time that
basketball practice begins and the night of their first official game.
When she told them that most women in the world don't shave their
legs or underarms, the students were incredulous. They said they
knew that Russian women didn't shave, but thought that that was a
specifically Russian cultural tradition. I have tried to give my wife
further information, but I am not sure of details. I know that the
custom of women shaving their legs and underarms is quite
widespread in the U.S. and Canada, but not so generally in Mexico and
Europe. I also do not know when women began to shave commonly in
the U.S. and Canada.

Could members of the Anthro-L please provide me with further
information? I would be interested in references to publications and
"grey-literature" which discusses women's shaving. Further, if those
of you with experience outside of the "generic" Euro-American and
Euro-Canadian areas could inform me about women's shaving customs
which you are familiar with, I would appreciate it. I would invite you
to reply directly to me by e-mail; if there is much interest, I will
summarize and post to this list. Thank you. --roy--

=+=- Roy Iutzi-Mitchell ffri@aurora.alaska.edu -=+=
+=-=+ P.O. Box 1128 I.A.Y.I.A. +=-=+
=+=- Bethel, Alaska 99559 U.S.A. 907-543-3642 -=+=