I was having one of those chain reaction thought days today.
It started while I was in the shower shaving my various body parts and thinking about that hilarious country and western song called "Did I shave my legs for this?".
I remembered Mr. B telling me about a friend of his who had lazer hair removal done on his back and thinking that maybe this is becoming a "man thing" too.
I started wondering why and how we became so obsessed with hair removal so I looked it up and found this....
The gist of the article is that U.S. women were browbeaten into shaving underarm hair by a sustained marketing assault that began in 1915. (Leg hair came later.) The aim of what Hope calls the Great Underarm Campaign was to inform American womanhood of a problem that till then it didn't know it had, namely unsightly underarm hair.
According to Hope, the underarm campaign began in May, 1915, in Harper's Bazaar, a magazine aimed at the upper crust. The first ad "featured a waist-up photograph of a young woman who appears to be dressed in a slip with a toga-like outfit covering one shoulder. Her arms are arched over her head revealing perfectly clear armpits. The first part of the ad read 'Summer Dress and Modern Dancing combine to make necessary the removal of objectionable hair.'"
More at: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/625/who-decided-women-should-shave-their-legs-and-underarms
So then I started thinking about foot binding. Foot binding was not some patriarchal thing used to keep women in their place but a fashion that was wholly embraced by women and perpetuated by women (read: "Aching for Beauty: The History of Foot Binding in China.)
That reminded me of the first question I ever asked on Abuzz, many years ago: Are long fingernails the modern day foot binding? (I was seriously taken to task for this question as most people really didn't understand the history of foot binding and they thought I was simply dense.)
Which reminded me of how much I hate long fingernails and how I never could understand why women would so incapacitate themselves with those awful (in my opinion) talons.
Which took me back to the marketing campaign of 1915, 45 years before I was born this shaving thing became the fashion custom and it's still here. 95 years is a long time for a fashion trend to hang around.
I'm sure I'll continue to shave hair even though I despise the thought that some long dead marketing executive thought it would be a good idea as a way to sell me stuff.
But I have to wonder -- will it ever go the way of foot binding and super long fingernails?
It also makes me wonder what other marketing gimmicks we fall prey to.
And I wonder if men will embrace shaving off all their hair as a fashion statement.
Are you, like me (I suppose), a slave to fashion?