The Hairlessness Norm Extended: Reasons for and Predictors of Women’s Body Hair Removal at Different Body Sites
- 2.8k Downloads
The study aimed to explore the motivations behind and predictors of the practice of body hair removal among women. A sample of 235 Australian female undergraduate students completed questionnaires asking about the frequency and reasons for body hair removal, as well as measures of media exposure. It was confirmed that the vast majority (approximately 96%) regularly remove their leg and underarm hair, most frequently by shaving, and attribute this to femininity and attractiveness reasons. A sizeable proportion (60%) also removed at least some of their pubic hair, with 48% removing most or all of it. Here the attributions were relatively more to sexual attractiveness and self-enhancement. Further, having a partner and exposure to particular forms of media predicted pubic hair removal. It was concluded that pubic hair removal is currently different in connotation from leg or underarm hair, but is likely to be on the increase. It can only further the belief that women’s bodies are unacceptable the way they are.
KeywordsBody hair Hairlessness norm Hair removal Pubic hair
- Black, P. (2004). The beauty industry: Gender, culture, pleasure. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Chapkis, W. (1986). Beauty secrets: Women and the politics of appearance. Boston: South End Press.Google Scholar
- Cleo Magazine (2003). Brazilian or boho? Cleo Magazine, 363, 94.Google Scholar
- Cleo Magazine (2005). The smart girl’s guide to grooming. Cleo Magazine, 392, 97.Google Scholar
- Dolly Magazine (2004). Bald or bushy. Dolly, 407, 80–81.Google Scholar
- Rodin, J., Silberstein, L., & Striegel-Moore, R. (1985). Women and weight: A normative discontent. In T. B. Sondregger (Ed.), Psychology and gender (pp. 267–307). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
- Teen Health, F.X. Retrieved June 2007 from http://www.teenhealthfx.com/answers/Sexuality/subcategory.php?subsection=51.
- Thompson, J. K., Heinberg, L. J., Altabe, M., & Tantleff-Dunn, S. (1999). Exacting beauty: Theory, assessment, and treatment of body image disturbance. Washington: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Tiggemann, M. (2002). Media influences on body image development. In T. F. Cash, & T. Pruzinsky (Eds.), Body Image: A handbook of theory, research, and clinical practice. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Toerien, M., & Wilkinson, S. (2004). Exploring the depilation norm: A qualitative questionnaire study of women’s body hair removal. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 1, 69–92.Google Scholar
- Ussher, J. (1989). The psychology of the female body. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Wolf, N. (1991). The beauty myth. New York: William Morrow and Company.Google Scholar