Breaking the Beauty Standard

America has a very strong ideology about what is beautiful and what isn’t. These beauty standards are only emphasized through the use of social media, especially TikTok, where people freely insult and judge one another’s physical appearance based upon these nationally accepted beauty standards.

One of these beauty standards involves the presence of body hair on women, a controversial topic that many people have felt the need to influence in the past. Many people believe that women should not have anybody hair at all, especially in the armpit area and on their legs. Because of this, society wants women to conform to this and therefore judge them if they do have visible body hair, which is wrong. Body hair, specifically on women, should not be a topic of conversation and should never be an element of judgment about women. Women should be allowed to do whatever they want when it comes to beauty standards, but especially about the presence of body hair.

While studying the history of this idea, one sees that shaving body hair is nothing new. Only since the start of the 20th Century, has it been solely categorized as feminine and necessary for all women. During the Stone Age, in ancient Egypt, Greece, and the Roman empires, shaving was expected, but by both men and women, and they used various unique methods to do so, including using beeswax. So what changed?

Simply put, sexism and misogyny play a huge role in this war against women. The origins of this new standard date all the way back to the days of Charles Darwin, in which it was stated through studies by various scientists about the hair type and growth of both sexes, that the distinction between masculine and feminine is that a masculine presence of body hair is an indication of “higher anthropological development.” However, women with unkempt body hair were considered deviant after a study conducted in 1893 concluded that white insane women had excessive facial hair more frequently than sane. This led directly to body hair of any type on women being deemed disgusting by new social classes in America in the 1900s, and this led to expensive and sometimes harmful efforts to remove body hair as a result.

So, this idea was not actually born out of accurate scientific research, but rather the idea that men are superior to women, and this unfortunately has racked up quite the expense. In relatively recent studies, the average American woman who shaves spends $10,000 over her entire life span, and $23,000 for those who wax, just to meet this ridiculous standard. But, these women who feel they have to fit in are given multiple reasons to do so, other than society’s standards, that are untrue.

Many people like to argue that not shaving is unclean and unhygienic when it’s quite the opposite. It’s actually been proven more hygienic for women not to shave because if they shave, skin becomes a better environment for bacteria growth and actually encourages it. Also, it can cause can also cause inflammation of the hair follicles, cuts, and hyperpigmentation according to, an internet page full of health tips and medical articles that are reviewed by health care specialists.

Another myth is that growing out hair is simply unnatural and not feminine. Stating something as unnatural that grows naturally in these areas doesn’t make logical sense and obviously doesn’t help one’s physical health. Also, the term feminine is defined as the quality or nature of the female sex, and so this quality or nature of women isn’t defined by others, especially not by men, but by women themselves. Anyone who is a proud woman and exists in this world should be automatically deemed feminine, or possessing the high quality and nature as well as beauty that it means to be a woman.

Social norms can be extremely toxic to everyone when it comes to mental health and confidence, and they have not been kind in accepting women and how they want to present themselves. There are so many other aspects in which women are judged and not socially accepted that are brought on by prejudice against them, and body hair is just one amongst this pool that women deserve to have the right to do what they want with it. Again, women are far too oppressed to deserve this kind of controversy on something so simple. They shouldn’t even care about it. With that in mind, women should feel confident in themselves, and if that entails showing their body hair or shaving it because that’s what they want to do with their bodies, then so be it.