Over the centuries, a woman's well-being has depended on her attractiveness in the eyes of men (and their views on this attractiveness). Having gained independence in the middle of the 20th century and partly succeeded in the struggle for their rights, Western ladies realized that their well-being was again dependent - this time on the dictates of social norms, largely imposed by cosmetics manufacturers. In the previous article about the conventionality of beauty, "Lenta.ru" talked about the past views on nudity. A new article is devoted to the history of the battle of women to return to naturalness.
In fact, the history of female nudity (and its conventionality) in the second half of the last century is easy to trace: it is documented in detail in photographs in women's magazines, in adult films and in many reportage photos from beaches and resorts. If Playboy and others like him and XXX films can still be suspected of "fanservice" - a distortion of the objective picture of the world for the sake of erotic impulses of men (and their willingness to pay for these impulses), then ordinary everyday and genre scenes shot by amateur photographers, no one, of course not directing.
What is observed? One of the Internet mass media entertainers somehow collected a whole selection of men's magazines from different years, illustrating epilation trends. In general, the evolution in this matter was definitely moving towards an ever greater diminution of the hairline: figuratively speaking, from Tolstoy's beard through Dostoevsky's beard and Chekhov's goatee to Mayakovsky's clean-shaven chin.
In the 1950s, the girls from the Playboy photo had a nude body underneath decorated with a lush triangular (as opposed to diamond-shaped "male-pattern hair") bush, which by the 1980s had turned into a narrow strip, in the 1990s it became a whimsical "intimate hairstyle.”, And completely disappeared by zero. Moreover, razors are no longer enough: hair is brought to zero at best by sugaring, at worst - by carpet laser hair removal.
The popularity of Japanese anime for adults, the so-called hentai, also played a role in the love of modern men (and after them - women) for clean-shaven bodies. Actually, the concept of "fanservice" has one of its sources just these porno cartoons. Genetically, Japanese women, as a rule, are very "short-haired" (which in some periods of history led to the fact that relatively abundant hair in intimate places was raised in their canon of rare beauty). Hentai characters are also often very young, literally school-age: the joy of a latent pedophile. Hollow (and unnaturally full-breasted for such a tender age) heroines of provocative cartoons in the 1980s and 1990s became the subject of fantasies of Europeans and Americans. By the end of the last century, such girls were also printed in men's magazines.
The promotion of such a standard was (and still is) very beneficial for those who produce cosmetics for hair removal, razors and blades, depilators of all kinds and, of course, manufacturers of hair removal equipment and salons equipped with it. Depilatory creams and rubbing are more than one thousand years old, but they have become somewhat hypoallergenic (and still not suitable for everyone) only in the last twenty years.
The leader of this trend, Gillette, launched the Venus "specially feminine" safety razor with interchangeable cassettes only in 2001, while the first prototype of a "razor" for men (with which women would also shave) appeared in 1900 (it went into series in 1920 -m - the speed of progress was not the same). The giant's marketing decision was dictated, apparently, by two main factors: women's demand exceeded the critical point, and the market share had to be “recaptured” from competitors with their wax strips, depilatories and creams.In the commercials of all this splendor, mostly legs appear as the most, so to speak, obvious and therefore innocent place for epilation, but the machine, like the depilator, can also be used in much more intimate areas - for example, in the armpits.
Armpit tears will melt
Shaving and general depilation of armpits in a certain sense has become the peak point of not only aesthetic, but also ethical discussions and, in particular, neo-feminist discourse. Did the heralds of feminism at the beginning of the twentieth century, who defiantly went out into the city in bathing suits and sat in them in cafes, knew that their great-granddaughters would begin to fight for the right not to shave their armpits? Hardly. If great-grandmothers were taken to the police stations for insulting public morality by the appearance of very, very modest swimsuits that covered their legs almost to the knees, then great-granddaughters for demonstrating unshaven armpits in civilized countries are not in danger of anything - except for the outraged screams of patriarchal men and "Vedic" women in social networks yes silent curses of the manufacturers of depilatory devices and cosmetics.
The struggle for postmillennial hairiness of the armpits is based on the ideology of body-positive, so unloved by the above-mentioned patriarchals and their Vedic friends. Most often, the average person associates body positivity with the fight against the so-called fatshaming - humiliation of overweight people and corresponding defects in appearance. However, in fact, the object of application of forces for body positivists is broader: they are against all attacks against people with an unconventional appearance. In their opinion, all people can be beautiful and - if we take it already - women without exception: old and young, with acne (skin inflammation) and vitiligo (pigmentation disorders), full and thin, with stretch marks and scars, and so on.
Beautiful, according to the canons of body positive, and hairy women: if you are naturally hairy somewhere other than the head, body positive welcomes it. Shaggy legs, pubis and armpits are not ugliness or laziness of an unkempt woman (a frequent and rather vicious argument of traditionalists), but simply an alternative form of beauty. The hygienic attacks of patriarchals, defenders of hairy armpits, are easily (and reasonably) countered by the fact that the current level of availability of water procedures and antiperspirant deodorants in developed countries makes it possible to suppress any stench in unshaven places no worse than in shaved places.
Body positive and neofeminism
The new Western feminism is fighting not only for basic women's rights (at the very least, by the middle and third quarter of the 20th century, almost all Europeans and North American women received the suffrage and the right to abortion), but also for the right of a woman to share the hardships of life with a man, to receive equal pay a salary with him and do not bother with his appearance more than him. And that is true: makeup and care cosmetics, manicure-pedicure and epilation of all kinds and varied, often uncomfortable, but "sexy" shoes and clothes (like high heels and narrow short skirts) makes a big gap in the women's budget, and without that too rich because of the still unequal pay for equal work.
This generally practical struggle is under way under the lofty slogan “Stay yourself, you are beautiful, everyone”: if you don’t want to shave your armpits and get a manicure, don’t shave or manicure, you’re good enough. Particularly advanced brands (as a rule, small, independent and loudly declaring their feminism) release completely unexpected beauty products such as dyes for underarm and pubic hair and pubic wigs from faux fur with torn-eyed shades.
Of course, perfumery and cosmetic giants are not in a position to do this. They are forced to change the tone of commercials from glamorous to casual sports, declare their support for an "inclusive" approach to beauty and freedom of choice for their audience. But even if a girl with freckles is filmed in such a video, she is still perfectly fit and, where necessary, photoshopped.And, although it seems that shaving remains “her choice”, the unshaven girl in the video of the machines will not be shown to the viewer.
On the other hand, fashion houses eagerly joined the body-positive theme: from the creative director of Dior Maria Grazia Chiuri, who launched the fashion show of the house entrusted to her in T-shirts with a femp-story on the chest, to the fashion brand & Other Stories and the girlish-youth brand Monki, owned by the Swedish giant H&M … In the latter, big-eared, freckled, full, with moles and, of course, with unshaven armpits of the young lady appear in advertising filming and commercials. Sweden is generally a European stronghold of feminism, but other countries are beginning to follow its example, albeit with caution. Many Italian brands, for example, are launching plus-size lines. Everything is logical: women earn money themselves, and from an early age, they buy their own clothes - they need to like them, you will not be full of fashion alone.
The stars also decided to ride on the body-positive agenda. If in the 1990s unshaven armpits were a punk manifesto in the spirit of Patti Smith and Riot Grrrls, then in the 2000s feminist stars like Julia Roberts, Jemima Kirk and Madonna risked to show their hair in a notorious place (however, many so far only occasionally). Social networks add popularity, and any PR is good, except for an obituary.
In the late 2010s, the Western world no longer thinks of itself without body positivity as an integral part of neo-feminism. So far, to be honest, patriarchal, even in the face of its most liberal representatives, Russia collectively frowns on social networks at the sight of the pubic hair of the feminist Bella Rapoport sticking out from under her panties (by the way, a fem-friendly Russian brand), in the West, the progressive public applauds unshaven armpits supermodels Gigi Hadid in Love magazine and posts her own on social networks under the tag hairypitsclub. And this year's Oscar winner Frances McDormand showed up for the statuette, no makeup or styling, and everyone was clapping. It is not women who please men now, but brands that please women. Times like this: Girl Power, what can you do.