Hair-Free Skin Is a “Cultural Imperative”

Why are New York women so into hair removal? From early treatments with sharpened clamshells, lye and x-rays (!!) to more modern methods of sugaring, waxing, tweezing, and electrolysis, Upper East Side women are ever in pursuit of the smoothest skin. According to anthropologist Rebecca Herzig, it’s a cultural imperative. Smooth skin has become a symbol of civility, affluence, and cleanliness – but it wasn’t always so.

Early Colonists were somewhat obsessed with the differences between European settlers and Native Americans, particularly the Native tendency to be naturally smooth. European settlers, used to sporting beards and body hair, felt that Natives couldn’t possibly be civilized if they couldn’t grow beards.

Times, though, they change, and with the times, so changed attitudes towards body hair, particularly for women. As women demanded their rights with more vehemence, those with the nerve to stand up for themselves were portrayed as hairy, mannish, uncivilized, and unfeminine, so women felt it necessary to remove their “extra” body hair. Eventually, hair removal became an industry, with a variety of methods available. Obviously, if you feel unhappy with your body hair and want to be rid of it, we recommend the safe, permanent method of electrolysis. Will it make you more civilized? That’s up to you, but permanent removal your excess facial and body hair will make you look and feel like a million bucks!

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