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UT women speak out on shaving: Societal expectations, razor brands


Women have been shaving since the dawn of time. In 1915 to be exact, Gillette came out with its first razor marketed explicitly to women. It’s 2020 now, and it is safe to say that there are mixed feelings about shaving. 

Women are questioning whether shaving is beneficial to them or just a societal expectation. Is it healthy to shave? Is it gross not to? 

Four UT women decided to share their thoughts on shaving.

Kaitlyn Ireson, UT sophomore, spoke on the societal standards that come with shaving.

“Society absolutely expects women to shave. It’s been my experience that not only are we expected to [shave], but we are told that we are unhygienic if we choose to not shave,” Ireson said.

She finds it essential to compare the female shaving experience with the male shaving experience.

“Hair on men is seen as masculine, while hair on women is seen as unhygienic. Women’s razors [also] tend to be more expensive, but they also have more features than the competition. The built-in shaving gel and extra blades ramp up the cost.”

Ireson recommends newer brands such as Harry’s, Joy or Dollar Shave Club when it comes to razor brands. 

“Harry’s and Joy have more gender-neutral branding than older companies, such as Gillette or Venus. Gillette and Venus tend to have females or males on the packaging while Joy and Harry’s keep the packaging simple with solid colors and bold letters. [Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club’s razors] are durable and extremely sharp,” Ireson said.

According to Bailey Kemper, religious studies major, she agrees with Ireson’s thoughts on society’s expectations of women.

“Society totally expects women to shave,” Kemper said.

In truth, Kemper did find interest in a new razor brand, Billie, but she held herself back from trying it. 

“I remembered how women only shave because razor brands needed a new target audience in World War II,” Kemper said.

It seems that women are interested in how shaving came about in the first place, and whether it was ever designed to benefit their bodies. 

Taylor Sherick, UT senior, wondered about the price difference of women’s and men’s razors, as well as unrealistic portrayals of women in the media.

“Society pressures women to shave, definitely. Why are women’s razors so much more expensive than men’s? Why do commercials always promote a woman to have smooth skin?” Sherick said. 

She believes that shaving as a societal expectation for women partly stems from public endorsement. 

“Celebrities back it. Men on social media are [also] vocal about wanting shaven women.” 

Sherick also blames the porn industry for unrealistic perceptions of the female body. There can be damaging, unreal expectations for others’ bodies that follow depending on what men or women desire “based off that [porn] when it comes to hair.”

When it comes to her shaving practices, Sherick prefers men’s razors only when she feels the need to shave. “Women’s razors are not as good compared to men’s, yet they are more expensive. They don’t last as long, either,” Sherick said.

Overall, Sherick rejects the expectation of shaving. 

“Hair is normal and actually protective and meant to be there. Honestly, it is unhealthy to shave your underarms and clog up your pores with deodorant afterward. This can cause long term damage. It’s not worth the hassle or time to constantly shave.”

It is important to remember that shaving is a choice for everyone. Despite how others around you might feel, it is ultimately up to you whether you choose to shave and where you want to shave.