The first safety razor marketed for women was introduced in the early 1900s, and began a shaving revolution, for better or worse(worse). In 1915, Gillette created the Milady Décolleté and with it came the launch of “The First Great Anti-Underarm Hair Campaign.”
The campaign was first to publicize the idea that women should use razors to shave their armpits. In other words, we’ve all been “Mad Men’d.”
The ads featured women being advised to remove “objectionable hair.” The campaign was launched around the roaring twenties, while women’s fashion mirrored a more liberated state with sleeveless dresses and short hair.
Campaigns took advantage of the changing style of dress to spread the idea of hairless armpits. In an ad featured in Harper’s Bazaar in 1915, that was newly discovered by Refinery29, hairless underarms were said to be a “necessity,” but didn’t clearly state why this was so.
The campaigns were recently mentioned by SNL cast member, Sasheer Zamata, at a stand-up set for the podcast, 2 Dope Queens. She spoke about how she recently started questioning why she has been removing her body hair since she was a teenager.
“Why am I doing this, I’m not going into surgery every month, who is this for?”
Zamata did her research and found out that razor advertising was the culprit while also discovering that Native Americans would keep their hair long with the idea that it would help them sensing an attack.
“So if that’s the case, women of all people should have all of the hair. We are at risk of being attacked just for walking out of our house, for safety purposes I want to be Chewbacca level hairy.”
If we all rocked the latest Chewbacca styles, what would the Don Drapers of the world sell to us then? body hair combs?
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