Hair removal has been around for centuries. Ancient Rome used hot tar and razor-sharp shells as a hair removal method. Today, hair removal is a medical, cosmetic or psychological concern. Most clients have two motivations for hair removal: to feel feminine or for social norm (Basow, 2016). Strong feminist women and self identified lesbians undergo hair removal less then heterosexual women (Basow, 2016).
Hairlessness is a norm served in culture. Between 1915- 1945, there has been a dramatic change in women roles. In 1915 there were not many ads for hair removal or removal products. This is because the body was not visible because of clothing styles. Hair on places other than the head was considered unnecessary and ugly. In 1920, ads were focused on changing the human body. Mouthwash, deodorant, tooth products and sanitary napkins were new products. There was a vision of a tasteless, colorless, odorless, sweat less world. These ads may have been aimed at the waves of newly arrived immigrants from Eastern Europe, Italy, Ireland (early 1900s) (Basow, 2016). 1920s magazine ads emphasized on the importance of appearance for women in order to ensure her mates fidelity and home security in general – slender, youthful, sensual and sophisticated (Basow, 2016). Skirts were becoming shorter, there was an introduction to silk stocking and bathing suits became smaller. Leg shaving arises emphasis on sexual appeal, cleanliness and hygiene. Women wore stockings to avoid showing leg hair.
The changing roles in women continued with the right to vote and women abandoned restrictive clothing. Women then joined the labor force, however in ads women were exclusively homemakers or narcissistic consumers. In 1940 – 1945 there was a shortage of silk stockings due to the war and sheer nylons were introduced. This Resulted in a bare legged style. Removing legs and underarm hair made women appear clean, neat, attractive and “modern”. Ads no longer needed to advertise removing hair and shifted towards capitalizing on which product was better. Women’s bathing suit increasingly reveal the pubic area. Women became encouraged to remove or bleach hair areas that show.