Imagine you have a coworker who likes to bake. Every week, they bring in a batch of delicious, homemade cookies and leave them in the break room. Next to the plate of cookies is a sign, “If you like my cookies, could you please just leave me a note and tell me what you like about them? The more feedback you leave about what you like, the more incentive I have to bake.” A hundred coworkers walk by and take a cookie. One person leaves a note. “Great cookies! Bake some more soon!”
The next week, once again there are cookies in the break room with the same sign. Once again a hundred people take a cookie and only one person leaves a note. “Nice! More soon!”
Week Three- Once again, a hundred people take a cookie. No one leaves a note.
Week Four- One hundred people take a cookie. No note.
Week Five- There are no cookies. Someone leaves a note. “Where are the cookies? I loved them. Please, please bake some cookies.”
Week Six- There are no cookies. Ten people leave notes. “I miss your cookies. They were my favorites. I loved the chocolate chips. My friend really liked the way you had almonds in the cranberry ones.”
Week Seven- Motivated by the wonderful notes, the baking coworker stays up late to bake the best batch of cookies they have ever made. That week, a hundred people take a cookie. No one leaves a note.
The co-worker gives up baking for their colleagues.
Please, if you like the fan fiction that you are reading, let your authors know. Stories are abandoned for a myriad of reasons, but it is very, very hard to stay motivated when you receive no positive feedback. If there is a story that you like, whether it is a completed one or a work in progress, please leave an up-lifting comment or review. By doing so, you’re providing that writer with motivation to spend their time and energy creating more stories for you.
And that way, you both win!
women did not shave their armpits until 1920s and their legs until 1943 and both were the direct result of razor companies producing pictures of hairless women to sell razors.
please stop putting hairless women in historic movies just bc OH NO MEN MIGHT NOT GET A BONER WATCHING OUR MOVIE WE CANT HAVE THAT
Okay, as a female-presenting person who has had body hair for most of my 20s, I regret to inform you that this isn’t really true. It IS true that body hair removal was not mainstream in the West prior to those times, and that razor companies pushed it because they wanted to make more money. It is NOT true that female body hair removal has no historical precedent and does not belong in historical representations.
Ancient Rome:With the exception of hair on her head, hair was considered to be unattractive on a Roman woman. Consequently, women removed hair by either shaving, plucking, stripping using a resin paste, or scraping with a pumice stone. Older women faced ridicule for their depilation because it was viewed primarily as preparation for sex. (Source)Roman women would even resort to abrasion to rub the hair off their legs with pumice stones, essentially buffing their legs down to a nice shine. (Source)
Ancient Greece:In Ancient Greece, it was simply barbaric to have body hair, and people took great pains to remove any hair that would show them to be anything less than civilized. (Source)In both Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, the removal of body and pubic hair may have been practiced among both men and women. It is represented in some artistic depictions of male and female nudity, examples of which may be seen in some red figure pottery of Ancient Greece on which both men and women were depicted without body or pubic hair. (Source)
Ancient Egypt:Ancient Egyptians removed unwanted hair with flint or bronze razors – they even invented a technique similar to waxing called sugaring, which used a sticky paste and a piece of cloth to yank the hair out at the root! Hair removal was very important to the Ancient Egyptians for cultural or perhaps even religious reasons. In Ancient Egypt, both men and women shaved their heads and wore wigs instead of their natural hair. They took it so seriously so long ago, that some Egyptian bronze and flint razors have been dated to over 3000 years ago, and sugaring is thought to date back as far as 3000-4000 BC! Around that time people also developed the first depilatory creams, which chemically dissolve the hair above the skin. Other depilatories that date from that time dissolved hair above the skin as they still do today, but without the chemical and anatomical knowledge we have. This meant that early depilatories (5000-7000 years ago) were very irritating to the skin, and were probably quite painful. Simpler depilatories included quicklime, arsenic, and starch and more complex versions later on included resin, pitch, animal fats, and even bat’s blood!(Source)The ancient Egyptians were known to have better forms of razors made of flint or bronze. They also used a method of depilatory called sugaring. A sticky paste (bees wax was sometimes used) would be applied to the skin, kind of like waxing. Then a strip of cloth was pressed onto the paste and yanked off, removing the hair. (Source)Ancient Egyptian priests also shaved or depilated all over daily, so as to present a “pure” body before the images of the gods. (Source)
Arab World:In the 9th century, the use of chemical depilatories for women was introduced by Ziryab in Al-Andalus. (Source)The majority of Muslims believe that adult removal of pubic and axillary hair, as a hygienic measure, is religiously beneficial. (Source)According to the Sunnah, every adult Muslim, as a part of keeping his/her body clean, should remove the hair from his pubic area and armpits. The hair may be removed through any method that one feels comfortable with. The spread of Islam brought the practice to India, Northern Africa, and the other vast areas of the world under Muslim influence. In 1520, Bassano de Zra wrote that “The Turks consider it sinful when a woman lets the hair on her private parts grow. As soon as a woman feels the hair is growing, she hurries to the public bath to have it removed or remove it herself.” The public baths all had special rooms where the ladies could get rid of their hair. Even today, the hamams (public baths) still have special rooms for the ladies to depilate. (Source)
Native Americans:Native Americans are said to have used sharp clam shells to remove hair from their bodies (Source)Native Americans and Pacific Islanders removed hair by scraping the skin with sharp-edged seashells. Samoan Islanders removed the hair from their armpits but left women’s pubic hair intact. Ancient Mayans and Aztecs of Latin America sharpened obsidian to an extremely fine edge, which made this volcanic glass useful for shaving. Native tribes in Brazil used tweezers made from pieces of split bamboo to pluck body hair, including their eyebrows and lashes. In northern Rhodesia, warm ashes were massaged into areas slated for hair removal before those hairs were plucked. (Source)
Northern Europe:The most elaborate razors of prehistory appear around 1,500 to 1,200 BC in Scandinavia where Danish Mound Graves yielded razors in leather carrying cases with etched bronze blades and carved handles. (Source) [Note: it isn’t clear what genders shaved, or where, but simply that anyone had the capacity to shave.]The returning Crusaders (1096-1270) brought the practice back to Europe. In many European castles built between 1200 and 1600 AD, a special room was constructed where the ladies of the court could gather to shave. During the Renaissance, the practice of pubic hair removal flourished. Sixteenth and seventeenth century artists portrayed women as having little or no pubic hair. The work of Rubens, whose models typified the ideal in feminine beauty at the time, most dramatically reveals this. (Source) [Note: this seems to refer exclusively to pubic hair, not to underarm or leg shaving. Standards of WHAT body hair ought to be removed definitely vary, as most references I could find to European hair removal were Elizabethan women removing hair from the forehead to raise their hairlines, and removing or thinning their eyebrows.]
Prehistory:hair removal has been around since the Stone Age, approximately 10,000 BC, from which there are ancient paintings showing cavemen using two seashells as tweezers. As far back as 30,000 BC, flint, a hard form of mineral quartz with sharp edges, was used as a shaving device. (Source)
I’m stopping here because I’m tired of digging up sources (and a lot of the sources have problematic wording even if the historical fact that people removed hair is accurate) but there’s even more world hair removal: threading in Asia, and I found a source about (presumably sub-Saharan) African hair removal that I didn’t quote just because it said “some African tribes” and I know if I really dug around I could find better sources that listed specific people and didn’t mush vast disparate cultures together like that (unfortunately a lot of the Native American stuff I quoted does this as well, these sources SUCK) but the basic fact is yes, people have been removing hair all over the world for as long as we’ve been growing it.
In fact, the selective removal or non-removal of hair is a way of communicating social status, gender, group membership, or personal expression. It’s an easy and relatively painless and temporary body mod, and if there’s one thing you should know about humans, it’s that we love altering our appearance. Throughout history, people of all genders removed hair completely or partially from: the head, the eyebrows, the beard, the underarms, the chest, shoulders, arms, and back, the pubic region, and the legs. What hair you removed does say something about the time and place you were in. Not all female body hair removal followed the modern pattern of legs, armpits, some or all pubic hair, probably some eyebrow.
What does that mean for movies? It means historical body hair removal is not necessarily inaccurate by default, but that one should research what was done in that place and time and what it signified if it was done. For example, in some cultures female hair removal was considered very high-status; in others, it was the mark of a prostitute. It means some women shaved their crotches but not their armpits, and some shaved their armpits but not their crotches. Victorian European women were probably hairy—cavewomen may or may not have been, Cleopatra was almost certainly bald, including the top of her head. It means Ygritte’s smooth crotch in Game of Thrones isn’t necessarily anachronistic or wrong for the setting, though she could have done it from any reason ranging from boredom to thinking it was sexy to getting rid of pubic lice. Movies and TV should definitely be realistic about women in survival situations not having time or opportunity to mess with their body hair. I would certainly welcome more diverse representations of women’s hairiness.
What does this mean for feminists? It means you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT with your hair. It’s yours. Trim it, shave it, wax it, dye it, shave designs into it, let it grow. You are not a slave of Gilette if you happen to like some part of yourself hairless. At the same time, I do recommend the experience of growing your hair out at least for a couple of months if you’ve never done it before, just to see what it looks like and if you like it, and how much of your preference for shaved limbs comes from social messages, or even fear? But regardless of your own choices, always respect other people’s choices with their own hair. Hairlessness is not modern and it is not for men’s boners; at the same time, female-presenting people who choose to keep their body hair face erasure and discrimination and that’s not okay.
be critical of Anita Sarkeesian all you want but if the fact that she had to cancel a speech at a college because a student threatened a mass shooting isn’t a huge red flag to you about how very much alive misogyny is then you need to get the fuck out of my face
i was making a lot of mistakes and then my archery instructor said:
“you make mistakes because you’re focusing on the target and not on your actions”
and i was like woah
thanks for giving me the best life advice i’ve ever gotten
guys just think about how applicable this is to EVERYFUCKINGTHING
Super incredibly maddening thing about mental illness:
Fighting your ass off to live a normal life and function as well as you can, and instead of getting credit and having people be proud of you for all the efforts you’re making, having people use your apparently normal behavior as a reason to invalidate you and think you weren’t that sick to begin with.
It takes a lot of badassery to act this normal, but the effort is all invisible