Why is it acceptable by society for men to have hairy legs when women have to be smooth and hairless to be accepted? Men grow leg hair. Women also grow leg hair. It is natural and neither a secret nor a surprise. So why are only one of these groups told by society that they must buy products every day to rid of something their body is trying to grow?
The debate on whether or not women should shave leg hair is a controversial one. Women are told body hair is disgusting and unsightly and no man would want to be with a woman with hairy legs. Society is telling women to be unnatural and change their bodies and grooming to impress men, while men can save money and time and avoid pressure by staying natural. Why are women being shamed for choosing to leave their bodies in their natural state like most men do?
Senior human health and performance student Leah Keese said society is right to pressure women to be hairless and smooth. “We need classier women in society so it would be a good idea to teach them earlier mannerism and etiquette.”
What is it about leg hair that makes a woman less classy? Did classy women have hairy legs before razors were invented and aimed towards them? Probably. In 1915, advertisements for razors made specifically for females came out in magazines. The advertisements made women feel shameful and embarrassed about having body hair. This method of body shaming has been around since the 20th century.
“I think they should shave their legs. It’s nasty when a girl has hairy legs,” junior business management and marketing major Alexander Felts said.
The expectations women face for grooming is ridiculous. Money spent on waxing and laser hair removal procedures can be expensive and add up quickly.
Waxing can cost anywhere from $35 to $80 for professional work. A pack of two to four razors, bought every couple months, costs anywhere from $5 to $20.
If there were not double standards on this matter, women may not feel the need to remove leg hair.
“I think it’s stupid. Why should hair on my legs determine if I’m a lady or not. Who decided that anyway? Probably a man,” junior marketing major Ashleigh Knoll said. “If I’m comfortable enough to walk around with hairy legs, society should be comfortable enough to let me.”
Many men shave their legs for wound healing, aerodynamics or just personal preference. Women should be able to say the same thing, with emphasis on personal preference, not society’s.
The double standard for leg hair needs to change along with media and marketing making women feel bad about their bodies. Whether someone is wanting to grow their leg hair out or shave, they should not feel ashamed or unaccepted. They should make their choice based on their own preference and not society’s.