General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Are there health reasons why women shave their underarms and legs, or is the reason primarily cosmetic?

Asked by elbanditoroso (30461points) 1 month ago

Is it about keeping healthy, or more about looks?

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15 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Zero health reasons. Just social norms & conventional ideas / aesthetics.

si3tech's avatar

Does it really matter? “aesthetic”” works for me!

raum's avatar

Social norms.

Recently had a talk with my kid about weird social norms around armpit hair. That there’s really no reason to shave it. It’s just weird cultural hang-ups. But that if she decided to not shave, that she also needs to be aware that there are people who are very invested in social norms and will give her shit about it. For example, my sister and BIL gave my niece a hard time about this. :/

KNOWITALL's avatar

As far as I know it’s just another outdated societal norm.

There’s a lot of women who no longer care about any of that, like Miley Cyrus, MaDonna (the OG), Drew Barrymore, Gigi Hadid, Scout Willis, etc….it’s pretty trendy to be hairy right now.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Of course it’s purely cosmetic. Men don’t shave those parts for the same reason we don’t (usually) wear lipstick.

JLoon's avatar


Sorry, but gotta laugh. Social norms aside, I think it’s hillarious that this gets talked about while males are “manscaping” their body hair to invisibility. The last 20-something guy I was with spent more time next morning in front of the mirror than I did ;D

elbanditoroso's avatar

As a male, “manscaping” seems so silly to me. Maybe some men secretely wish they were women?

I have had a beard for 44 years. On the few occasions when I have shaved it off, I have absolutely hated the ongoing effort it took to keep clean shaven. Each time I have let it grow back. I keep it neat and trimmed, but that’s enough for me.

product's avatar

Strange social norm – and only within certain environments. My daughter doesn’t shave her legs or underarms, and it’s completely normal in her environment (friends, college, etc).

My wife didn’t shave for the first few years we were together, and only did so when a job required it.

kritiper's avatar

Definitely cosmetic. Has to be.

tinyfaery's avatar

If there were health reasons men would do it as well.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Fun fact: Many Native American tribes only grew hair on their head and shaved their bodies so even today their descendents have less body hair than the average person.

jca2's avatar

For me, shaving my underarms means the deodorant will be more effective because when I put it on, it’s going right onto my skin, not on top of hair.

My mom always said the shaved legs were for aesthetics when ladies wore pantyhose/stockings.

Poseidon's avatar

It is mainly cosmetic.

Very few men like a woman who has hairy armpits or prominent hairs on their legs.

A singer by the name of Nena recorded a song called 99 Red Balloons. She had hairy armpits and refused to shave them. This was the last hit she had and she basically disappeared without trace..

When I was serving in Germany we had a German secretary who had extremely hairy legs and the people who knew her used to call her ‘Frau hairy legs’. The thing is she was an extremely nice women and I always felt very unfair to call her that

Zaku's avatar

@KNOWITALL Why would shaving have any effect on genetics? It seems to me that evolution only happens when a trait has an effect that influences whether individuals with the trait end up reproducing, or not. I suppose maybe in such a culture, people who didn’t have to shave with flint knives would tend to be seen as more attractive, or end up infecting themselves less frequently in shaving accidents… but otherwise, I wouldn’t expect it to have any effect.

Zaku's avatar

@si3tech I’ve seen it matter to women who were tired of shaving all the time, when their partners didn’t care, and they appreciated that.

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