Re: Women's Shaving

Fiona Moore (al772@FREENET.CARLETON.CA)
Mon, 31 Oct 1994 18:22:51 -0500

>On Wed, 19 Oct 1994, Roy Iutzi-Mitchell wrote:
>> 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.
>being a committed budybuilding trainee I alsdo get to read some of their
>magazines. Somewhere there I read that shaving sttarted in about 1920s
>with some models (actors) advertising shaven armpits for shaving
>companies to sell Gillettes not just to half of the woorld' s population
>but to the lot.

I heard a similar thing, (on Quirks and Quarks, a science radio program we
get up here in the great white north), except that it said the trend got
started when sleeveless, draping dresses came in around 1914 (heck, it's
all early Edwardian to me) with shaved armpits, and legs followed with the
advent of short dresses and pantyhose (as a woman with unshaven legs, I
have a horror of those last).

>I met some Egyptian women and they told me that they run a cotton thread
>on their skin, including the face asd their bodies are not allowed to
>have any hair whatsoever. They spin/roll the thread and then let it go
thus >the spining thread pulls all the hair out. They do keep their head
hair.... >These women belonged to a wealthy strata of Egyptian society >

The short story "No Name Woman", by Maxine Hong Kington, which is about
the life of Kington's family in pre-revolutionary China, mentions a
similar practice--catching the small hairs of the forehead with a
"depilatory string" in order to produce a smooth, symmetrical hairline.

Fiona Moore

"Every traveller wears coloured spectacles, and should allow for the
effect on men, manners and landscapes" -Punch's Almanack, 1849.