Day 46 - Kewtie

 January 24, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)

Things—a.k.a. stuff—have been overwhelming me as I’ve been making piles slotted for various new homes—family, nonprofits or dump. Clearing out a parent’s estate is difficult on many levels, especially when your own house is bursting at its seams. Among one pile today, I found a small box with a mouse-size razor. Now my curiosity had to be satisfied. This is why I don’t always get things done…I am distracted searching for answers.

I discovered that this mini-razor was marketed to American women beginning in 1915. Before then, women were pretty much covered by clothing from wrist to ankle. However, after the May 1915 Harper’s Bazaar issue ran an ad featuring a model in a sleeveless dress with arms raised above her smooth armpits, women began to wear sleeveless dresses and remove armpit hair. Then came shorter skirts, sheer nylon stockings and leggy Betty Grable, a pin-up to be emulated. Legs then needed shaving. Women’s razors were sold in the Sears Roebuck catalog in 1922 around the time sleeveless dresses started being sold.

Contrary to popular belief, porn actresses and models did not begin the trend of pubic hair removal. Customs in other parts of the world in earlier times confirm that. Many Muslim brides in the Middle East and North Africa removed all body hair before the wedding night. This was also practiced by ancient Egyptians who seemed to prefer a sleek look but who also were being practical concerning hygiene. No hair, no lice. In modern times, as swim suits grew tinier and tinier, women started shaving in areas they had never considered before. Even Playboy did not show pubic hair, partly because of the prevailing attitude that nude photographs were not pornography unless they showed pubic hair or genitals. Eventually this view changed and Miss January in the playboy 1972 centerfold appeared in full front nudity.

Today we find women who do and women who don’t. We find men who don’t care if women shave (anywhere) or not. But women are still influenced by styles and trends. How else can spiked heels be explained? Why else would women endure pain for hours, and seriously hurt their feet and backs? Fashion.

Meanwhile, as I go through stuff that tweaks my curiosity, I am learning. 

Today's gift is curiosity.

You can read more about the history of shaving here:

You can read my other posts on this project here:

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