I adore this cartoon addressing emphasised femininity – it shows ‘hairy’ legs (“Not feminine enough”) being transformed, resplendent with pink bows (“Is this better?”). I tried to find the artist but the image wasn’t indexed in TinEye, but I will update this if I find out.
Just think, if this takes off as a grooming/decorative practice, we could save the 24 minutes a week that is normally spent shaving (UK Escentual beauty poll in London, 2013).
An actual valid, scientific study gave a result of 96% of a sample of 235 Australian women regularly remove their leg and underarm hair (Tiggemann, Hodgson, 2008), so it would be a lot of time saved if the Escentual poll was representative (and internationally transferable). However, we would actually spend more time bow-tying – it took me 10 minutes per leg, and I think that the bows might last a few days, perhaps 3 sessions a week at 20 minutes = 1 hour a week. Clearly more if you’re an octopus or spider.
So it’s inefficient (how surprising for a beauty practice!) but think of the diversity of self-expression – different colours for days of the week (denim for Fridays, of course), “corporate” bows in a demure pinstripe or ripped metallic bows for the neighbourhood punks. Bows for everyone!
Anyway, this was a DIY job, the process would be quicker in specialised hairbow salons.
Hairy legs are encouraged by fashion designer Anthony Capon (Project Runway Australian winner, Season 2), who says that men “…still have to have hairy legs…” if they are going to wear skirts, because “…you don’t do it to look feminine…” (Cuthbertson, 2009).
Professional male cyclists have also been asked about the reasons they shave: “’I ventured that perhaps it was because he thought his legs looked more attractive hairless and he had been influenced, like so many people, by the regrettable encroachment of the aesthetic values of porn films on mainstream grooming habits.’” (Worsley in Richard, 2012).
Beaton, Kate. (2006-2013). Hark, a vagrant: 341.
Cuthbertson, Kathleen. (2009, September 9). Designer Anthony Capon wants men to wear skirts.
Escentual. (2012, August 8). Survey –what is your biggest beauty chore?
Henderson, Chloe. (2011, November 19). Fuck off, I’m a hairy woman.
Idée Inc. (n.d.). TinEye Reverse Image Search.
Richard, Kay. (2012, August 9). Lucy’s Olympic hair-raiser. Daily Mail.
lemon-butt. (n.d.). Hairy Legs Mary Janes Patch.
London, Bianca. (2013, April 5). Shaving legs is women’s least favourite beauty chore – shame they spend TWO MONTHS of their lives doing it. Daily Mail Online.
Tiggemann, M. (2008). The Hairlessness Norm Extended: Reasons for and Predictors of Women’s Body Hair Removal at Different body Sites. Sex roles, 59(11/12), 889.
VaginaPagina. (n.d.). Picture one: Hairy legs. Labelled ‘not feminine enough.’
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