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In what countries do women NOT shave their legs?

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Rozax, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Rozax

    Rozax Senior Member

    USA
    English - USA
    I'm 22 years old, I live in the USA, and I do not shave my legs, simply because I do not see the need. I love the nice, smooth feeling of my skin (man or woman, who doesn't??), but it only lasts a few hours before the days of stubble begin. I could never shave every night because it would irritate my skin. Furthermore, I never enjoyed shaving my legs.

    While we were dating, my husband politely tried to convince me to stop shaving a few times. Stopping never really crossed my mind, thanks to the society in which I was brought up. I did convince him to stop shaving his face off every other day (trust me, his skin looked irritated enough for that sentence to be viable), so now he keeps a nice, trim beard.

    We both shave our underarms, due to body odor, and I don't like the feeling of hairy underarms.

    How do these shaving rituals translate into other cultures?
     
  2. SDLX Master

    SDLX Master Senior Member

    Lima, Peru
    Spanish - Peru
    Interesting question. I know for a fact that a few countries on this rock follow strict pogonotomy rituals, primarily connected with religious beliefs.
    Over here, it is just done for hygienic purposes.
     
  3. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Saxony-Anhalt
    German
    In Germany most women below their 50´s or 60´s shave their legs, arm pits and err whatever. If a young girl doesn´t people may think of her that she follows an alternative life-style such as an ecologist, hippie and so on.
     
  4. Rozax

    Rozax Senior Member

    USA
    English - USA
    There's really no hygienic purpose for leg-shaving; it's mere vanity. Growing leg-hair should be on par with a girl's first period. I don't understand how having legs as smooth as baby's skin screams, "I'M A WOMAN!" Nor do I see why choosing not to shave makes a woman a hippie.

    Convincing women to "remove unsightly hair" from their body was a brilliant marketing strategy back in the 1920s, but it really does nothing for anyone else, and it's a little sad that we, as a society, haven't grown up since then.

    The only time anyone really needs to shave hair off any region (in the USA) is prior to a surgery. Or donating blood. Tape is does not interact well with hair follicles. :(

    EDIT
    There are also athletic reasons for shaving. Swimming, biking, wrestling tournaments, I think runners even shave their legs. In wrestling, we could either let the hair grow out (within reason) or hack it off. Giving someone whisker burn was frowned upon.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  5. Grop

    Grop Senior Member

    Provence
    français
    France is pretty much like Germany or the US regarding women.

    As for men, it depends much on them.
     
  6. SDLX Master

    SDLX Master Senior Member

    Lima, Peru
    Spanish - Peru
    I agree with everything you said. When I mentioned hygiene I was not necessarily thinking about legs. :)
     
  7. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    I'd say in Russia women born in the late 60s - 70s started shaving. I do not think their parents' generation did. I also believe it is more common in large cities than in the country or small towns.

    If I see a woman with unshaved legs, my first thought would be she is a new arrival from provinces, rather than that she is a hippy / tree-hugger.
     
  8. Adolfo Afogutu

    Adolfo Afogutu Senior Member

    Uruguay
    Español
    In my culture, nearly all women shave their legs and underarms. Traditionally, except for the gay community, almost no men used to shave any part of their bodies (apart from their faces, of course), but in more or less recent years (+/- 20 yrs), many men with hairy backs, necks, shoulders, etc. have started to worry about their looks, thus creating a new target market for the beauty industry -highly prosperous, indeed-.
     
  9. mirx Senior Member

    Español
    I am there with you Rosax, the culture that I was brought up in taught me that women with hair on their legs are disgusting and dirty. Even though it may no be strictly related to hygenic factors, it does add to the belief that women who do not shave their legs do not take showers either; and are equally negligent with other aspects of their personal care and perhaps with their jobs and ifestyles. And we go back again to the statement by rusita preciosa that mentioned associations with hippie and other alternative life styeles.

    This doesn't mean that every woman shaves her legs, I presume most don't do it periodically but rather reserve it for occasions such as dates, or when wearing skirts. In the worst case scenario they can always cover up with clothing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  10. koniecswiata Senior Member

    Am English
    That's interesting. A few months ago the New York Times had an article about the increasing tendency for young men in the US to shave their chests, not to mention even legs, groins, and armpits. There seems to be a growing tendency in the generation under 30 (or under 20?) to see any body hair as disgusting. Also, this is being furthered by the cosmetics industry--much as was done to women in the 1920s. It would seem that men are going down the same route. So, instead of people liberating themselves from these social pressures, they are just expanding to include men. I guess more money is to be made that way.
     
  11. Adolfo Afogutu

    Adolfo Afogutu Senior Member

    Uruguay
    Español
    :thumbsup:
    That's it.
     
  12. PABLO DE SOTO Senior Member

    Spain Spanish

    It is the same in Spain. There is a growing tendecy for men under 30 to shave their chests and legs, especially in the summertime when young men use to wear shorts instead of long trousers even in the daily urban life.
    Men over those ages are more reluctant to follow that trend but it is not absolutely unusual.

    For women I would say that almost all of them shave their legs and armpits. A woman with, say, hairy legs is thought to be untidy.
     
  13. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    The same goes for the UK and Italy, although waxing is far more common than shaving (although I actually prefer those "electric tweezers" that a very famous company manufactures;)).

    At the moment here in Italy a lot of the younger men and boys are waxing all over: hairy chests are not considered at all cool!
     
  14. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    Do many women still shave their legs rather than wax them?
     
  15. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    I can't say the same is true as regards Ireland. Shaven or waxed chests on men would usually be regarded as risible in the extreme, but then again, the Irish usually are a bit behind the rest of Europe... ;)

    Women, from what I've experienced (and once had the misfortune to be subjected to), mostly wax these days.
     
  16. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    It's hard to generalize, but in the US (at least among women I know closely enough to be aware of this detail of their lives:)), shaving is the most common way. Going to a salon for a wax is usually done before a vacation or an important event. As I understand, electric depilators are not very popular: I had a hard time finding one (and even harder time explaining what that device is).

    In Russia electric depilators are pretty common and women who cannot take the pain, use razors. Waxing depends on whether the woman has the budget and the time.
     
  17. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    That men in the south of Europe shave their legs is really nothing new. A couple of decades agoNorth-European men only did so if they were into bike racing and I have heard various explanations why: For hygienic reasons in case of road rash, easier for the masseur and a few other - at first glance - plausible explanations.

    Then I stumbled over an old French book that dealt with bike races at the beginning of the 20th century, as well as with their participants. He also mentioned the practice of shaving the legs - something, which seemed very normal to do for aestetic reasons. After all, they were out in full view of the public wearing shorts!

    This obviously spread, together with the sport, up through Europe, and stayed WITHIN the sport, and to make it socially acceptable they made up other reasons for doing it.
     
  18. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    I take it home waxing is not that common then (it's neither expensive nor time-consuming)?
     
  19. leivincas Senior Member

    Spanish(Spain)
    In Spain I think the most common thing is waxing in a beaty saloon, but some or most of the woman combine it with waxing at home or self shaving (in order to save some money)...but wax is the most common: it can be more expensive, but it is much more effective. It is worth!
     
  20. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    With the little info I have, I’d argue that most women do not use home waxing.

    A few years ago home-waxing kits were heavily advertised on TV and the supermarkets promoted them in the aisles, but now I do not see any aggressive promotion and don't remember seeing them at the eye level in supermarkets. That could either mean that they did not prove to be very successful, or just that the demand stabilized and people who routinely use them, stayed loyal and make an effort to look for them. In my personal opinion, compared to shaving it is too messy and time consuming; and comparing to a salon job, has much inferior results.
     
  21. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    But you have to do it much less often... anyway, enough on this :D
     
  22. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    I can't say to what extent women in the UK shave their legs. I do remember accompanying some American school kids to Russia in the mid-80s. They took most aspects of the "culture shock" in their stride; but the girls were genuinely horrified that women dared to expose their hairy legs in the metro.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  23. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Some friends of mine went to Croatia when it was still Yugoslavia and told me the girls were "attractive but didn't shave their legs". It's probably changed now.
    A lot depends on how hairy women are naturally. I also think that unshaven women's legs bother women themselves more than men!
     
  24. Tiger's Eye

    Tiger's Eye Senior Member

    Georgia, USA
    English - US
    That's probably true. While the men I know seem to prefer smooth legs, etc., they do not seem to be as horrified by hair on a women as women are...

    And one other comment, related to the home waxing... those products are still out there (in fact they're rather common in my house), and they work as well as anything else. It's nice to wax once in a while as opposed to shaving every day...
     
  25. koniecswiata Senior Member

    Am English
    I suppose those women were so horrified by hairy legs on other women, because they basic concept of what it is to be a woman and femininity was being shaken to the core! It's a shame that it takes an artificial process to make someone feel more "complete" or "right."
     
  26. MOMO2 Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    I am Italian. I do not shave my legs, armpits and err :eek: or eyebrows ONCE A DAY: I do have them waxed. ONCE A MONTH

    I don't like to be a hairy woman. I do not like hairy women. Most women in Italy do wax their legs. Many others shave them.
    The choiche depends on how they stand pain :(.

    I ususally go to a beauty salon for this purpose. Over the last years I have come to know that many of the ladies I know do not attend a salon so I assume they do it at home.
    I sometimes buy wax strips for using them when I am away for work and I
    - want:
    to look pretty (at least from my point of view)
    - do not want:
    to experience another salon (Salons for women are like barbers' shops for men) .
    I also have an electric shaver for emergencies.ì that I try not to use as piles after shaving become hard and annoying.
    In Italy they sell ... what's the word?... razors (look: http://www.gillettevenus.com/en_US/ ) specially made for women. I do not believe they are different from men's but I do not use them so I can't tell.

    I know that some women have their arms waxed aswell. Too hairy.

    @ Rusita preciosa: I remember those "machines" for home waxing. I don't see them either any longer. But I have one!

    Bye
     
  27. SaritaSarang

    SaritaSarang Senior Member

    Oklahoma
    English - United States
    I think that it is hygienic, considering how dirt particles and other bacteria can latch on to hairy legs easier than clean shaven ones.
     
  28. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    By that logic also men should shave their legs:).
     
  29. Rozax

    Rozax Senior Member

    USA
    English - USA
    I have never waxed my legs, and I don't personally know a single woman who's chosen to do this regularly rather than shaving.
     
  30. Rozax

    Rozax Senior Member

    USA
    English - USA
    By that token, we shouldn't have hair on our heads, either. You may find this article interesting, if you think hairless is better.

    I'm enjoying my legs being perpetually free from nicks, cuts, and ingrown hairs. I think that's worth more than a teensy bit more dirt particles latching onto me.
     
  31. Rozax

    Rozax Senior Member

    USA
    English - USA
    So far, that does seem to be the case. There's been only one half-wit who cried out, "SHE HAS HAIR ON HER LEGS!!" in this past year (she looked like she was in her teens; her fellow half-wit laughed), while others seem more perplexed than anything else.
     
  32. Jacobtm Senior Member

    NY
    English - New York
    I would suggest that women shaving their legs etc. is more universal than some people would think.

    As a species, we have a lot of ways of sexually differentiating ourselves. It's rare to see a species so sexually differentiated as humans, but humans are an animal that is very sexual.

    We try to exagerate these differences to seem sexier.

    Men are naturally more muscular than women because men have more testosterone than women. Men go to the gym to become more and more muscular. The natural difference in muscle mass is exaggerated to draw more attention from the opposite sex. Being big and muscly is very masculine, and no surprise that women generally prefer muscly men.

    In this same way, women are naturally less hairy than men.

    And so, to exaggerate their femininity, which has naturally endowed them with less hair, they reduce their body hair even more.

    So I would guess that, as societies become more open and overt sexual displays become more accepted, more women would shave their legs and more men would go to the gym.

    In societies where people aren't sexually displaying themselves in public, you'd probably find less leg-shaving. If everyone gets married at age 16 and no one gets divorced, then you're not in the sexual market, and attracting a partner becomes much less important.

    If, however, people are shopping around, they'll obviously put much more effort into attracting a mate, and exaggerating your femininity or masculinity seems a common practice all throughout humanity.
     
  33. COF Junior Member

    English - Wales
    Shaving your legs and chest is an incredibly effeminate thing to do for a male.
     
  34. mirx Senior Member

    Español
    Tell that to the Italians.
     
  35. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Quite some men do it for professional reasons, others because they like it, or because they simply prefer not to have hair on their body. But anyway, this thread is about women.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  36. Jacobtm Senior Member

    NY
    English - New York
    Hell, I know guys who shave their arms who are far from effetes.
     
  37. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    Well, interesting thread! I hadn't really given much thought to it before.
    In the US, I would say almost all women remove leg and underarm hair, and probably do it often. Being seen with any body hair I think would be considered terrible for a woman. I also believe American women by in large shave and don't get waxed. In Europe, it's pretty much the same (I'm talking of Spain and France). The difference is quite a few women don't seem troubled to have some stubble once and a while. This might be because waxing is much more popular than shaving and perhaps they're waiting... Besides, you can still find some (granted few) women who do not remove their body hair and don't see troubled by it.

    A new trend indeed is men waxing their chests, backs, shoulders, arms. It seems to me to be more popular by the day in Europe. Men on the beach with tons of chest hair, worse yet back or shoulder hair, is increasingly considered gross. I'm not sure if this change is occurring in the US. I'm not really there that often. In my father's generation they'd have been considered very effeminate to say the least.
     
  38. Ushuaia

    Ushuaia Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    castellano rioplatense
    Here, in Argentina, most women either wax or shave, mainly depending on the amount of body hair.

    I had the same problem you did, Rozax, and a few years ago I stopped waxing my legs. My skin felt and looked wonderful. Then I went to the beach. I still remember the look other women gave me: they seemed OFFENDED by the hair on my legs! (Which makes sense: if you are confident that any cultural command is simply proper and right, anybody who dares dissobey it is an offender, in a way.)

    A few years later, "permanent" body hair removal became (a little) less expensive and I gave it a try, getting rid of the problem of ingrown hair altogether.
    Being a member of my culture, I like my legs better without hair... but still wish people minded their own business when it comes to the way others choose to look. "Live and let live" is a catchy phrase, but hasn't really caught on... yet!
     
  39. Kumpel Senior Member

    London, England
    British English
    A group of teenage girls, around my age, and I were discussing hair on the region that seems to be repeatedly referred to as err in this thread. The conclusion: women 'should have' bald errs, but guys 'should have' some hair down there.

    I have a friend (again, my age and female) who has hairy arms. I'd say her arms are much hairier than mine, and I'm quite a hairy guy. She got bullied for a few years because of it - I think that shows the opinions of British teens. This bullying notwithstanding, she hasn't to this day done anything to remove the hair from her arms.

    A Polish friend, at the time only recently moved to England, was so shocked that one guy had hairy armpits that he started to tease him. The teasing was reversed when he found out that, in England, it's not common for men to shave their armpits, in fact, it's almost looked down on as emasculation.

    Lloyd
     
  40. Fernando Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spain, Spanish
    Just to say I envy Kumpel. I hardly have the opportunity to discuss the topic of bald errs with my female friends.
     
  41. Kumpel Senior Member

    London, England
    British English
    I'm ginger, and more people than you'd expect feel the need to ask whether 'the carpet matches the drapes curtains' - and so the topic of errs begins... (Not to mention my British charm. ;))

    Lloyd
     
  42. Fernando Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spain, Spanish
    I found strange that women enjoyed so much talking about curtains, carpets and the like. Now I understand what they were REALLY talking about.

    Even when I lack your British charm, next time the topic of curtains and carpets arise, I will begin the topic about errs. I think they will be pleased.

    Thank you, Kumpel.

    On the topic again: Considering the length (or rather, their lack of) Spanish shirts this summer, I am quite positive that some kind of hair removing is performed on a regular basis for most Spanish women. How far (how high) the razor or the wax arrives is (on a tiny part) left (unluckily) to my imagination, but I am investigating.
     
  43. Schmizzkazz Senior Member

    Badischer Schwarzwald
    German - Southern German
    I would put the question the other way round: "In what countries DO women shave their legs?"

    I suppose those countries are a minority.
     
  44. Black4blue

    Black4blue Senior Member

    Türkiye
    Turkish/Türkçe
    Turkish women don't do that horrible thing. Cause they use wax, epilator, cream etc which do not shave the hair. I think no women should shave. Doesn't it feel weird, like beard?
     
  45. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Saxony-Anhalt
    German
    They don't have spend money on pantyhose or stockings. :D

    Do you mean "bald pussies"? :D (Warning: NO sexual content)
     
  46. Rozax

    Rozax Senior Member

    USA
    English - USA
    Wax or shave, it all results in unnatural hairlessness.
     
  47. Rozax

    Rozax Senior Member

    USA
    English - USA
    I shaved my legs for ten years, but I've never taken a razor to my arms. Thankfully, arm hair isn't viewed as horrific, though I don't care how horrific people find my leg hair. I find not shaving a lot more comfortable than stubble. It's actually given me terrible rashes on my inner thighs. If a man confronts me about not shaving, I give him a little challenge: keep your bikini region consistently nice and smooth, and don't scratch in public (because it itches like hades when the hair grows back!). That's the expectation for women, so these individuals can try it for themselves. However society moves, I will not expect any of this of my husband.
     
  48. Rozax

    Rozax Senior Member

    USA
    English - USA
    TRUTH! My female friends were more shocked about my unshaven legs this past summer than my male friends. My female friends gave me a full interrogation while my male friends simply asked, "You're not shaving your legs anymore? Okay."
     
  49. Schmizzkazz Senior Member

    Badischer Schwarzwald
    German - Southern German
    May I repeat my question:

    I would put the question the other way round: "In what countries DO women shave their legs?"

    Imho this leg-shaving is a rather stupid and senseless habit.
     
  50. Wertis

    Wertis Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    Russian
    Thanks God, I'm a man and don't have such problems. :) Otherwise I would have to open a similar thread. :) Seriously speaking women in my country who want to look nice and charming have to shave their legs regularly. If they didn't they would have looked like men, which is not a good idea. :) I think none of the countries except for those where religion is part of the control system can ever make women shave their legs. But I can't understand what can make a woman stop looking after her legs and her appearance? Laziness? Impossible because women spend even more time in front of a mirror than an ordinary person at work (that's a joke). On the other hand, I can't think of any men who could ask their girlfriends to have hairy legs. Well, no sense to continue because I know that in Russia almost all women shave their legs. I said "almost" because maybe someone will hint at the reason why some might not do so and then I'll think and respond.
     

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