Body hair has been a hotly debated topic for eons. Some people see body hair as natural and beautiful, while others may see it as ugly.
So, should you shave it or save it?
Most seem to think it’s a personal decision, but DC Comics has received a lot of criticism for its decision to make Wonder Woman hairless. Some people went so far as to add armpit hair to pictures of Wonder Woman.
“Body hair is not pretty or ugly,” said Mac Brokamp, a second-year fashion design student at the University of Cincinnati. “It is just something natural that everybody has, and I do not save my body hair.”
For those who choose to shave, it’s often in the name of hygiene. Many have made removing body hair a natural part of their daily routine — particularly women, some of whom have more concerns about their armpit hair, facial hair and pubic hair.
“It is abnormal if you do not grow body hair,” said Lauren Renner, a third-year journalism student. “As a society, we assign norms to aesthetics to perpetuate our cultural standards.”
Body hair is natural, and practically everyone has it. In adolescence, however, body hair sometimes provokes personal insecurities. It’s one of the reasons why some people choose to shave.
“I remember in the fifth grade feeling ecstatic, then self-conscious upon being called out,” said Renner. “[I used] swim team as an excuse to smooth away what I felt to be ‘gorilla arms.’”
Coming-of-age insecurities aren’t the only reason some people choose to shave, however.
“I usually only shave when I feel obligated,” said Kalea Lucas, a fourth-year marketing student. “In my experience, I have never been bothered by it until someone else, like media and society, told me I should be.”
When it comes to body hair, societal double-standards should not be overlooked. For men, body hair — particularly facial hair — is sometimes viewed as a sign of masculinity. That standard does not always apply for women.
“In junior high, some girls were shaving their arm hair because it was thicker, darker and they were embarrassed by it,” Brokamp said. “It’s almost the opposite for men … We would be 14 shaving our faces, because we heard a rumor that if you shave your hair, it grows back faster.”
Many of the celebrities, models and influencers we see daily are hairless. As a result, shaving is often viewed as a beauty standard.
“Body hair was so taboo for women that the first shaving company to feature models with body hair in their advertisements didn’t even happen until 2017,” Lucas said.
Whether you choose to shave it or save it, it’s important to remember that body hair is normal. Virtually everyone has it, and there’s nothing wrong with loving your hair. To shave or not to shave is a personal choice, and it’s one that everybody should respect.