Why is it that women’s shaving commercials never fail to show a woman running a razor up an already perfectly hairless leg?
Is the image of even a dusting of stubble on a woman too much to endure, and how much does this ongoing advertising further perpetuate the notion that female bodies should be hair-free?
Bestowing this type of shame on those young and old is no new concept; however, many women are putting down the pink razor and letting go of the constant pressure by deciding what is right for them.
London, England-based market research firm Mintel conducted market research in 2016, and it demonstrates a gradual change regarding millennials ignoring these gender-based societal expectations.
Researchers found nearly one in four young women do not shave underarm hair. As well, the findings stated in 2013 that 95 per cent of women between the ages of 16 and 24 were shaving, but by last year that number diminished to 77 per cent.
This trend was also seen with leg shaving, as during that same timeframe, the percentage decreased to 85 after starting at 92 per cent three years earlier.
As well, hair removal product sales saw a decline of five per cent between 2015 and 2016.
Who’s to say why an increasing number of women are forgoing shaving routines? A possible answer could be inspiration from celebrities that are at the forefront of this movement.
According to a 2016 article by Bustle, Madonna and Miley Cyrus are included on the list of celebs that have no qualms when it comes to publicly speaking out against this gender-specific societal norm, and who aren’t afraid to upload photos to social media or be photographed while proudly displaying hairy underarms.
Or perhaps this trend is extrapolating simply due to these women no longer accepting what is deemed appropriate for their bodies. They are told that showing some body hair is seen as gross and unfeminine, but that has ceased to be a motivator to shave until reaching baby-smooth levels.
All in all, the research suggests this is not exactly a golden era for those selling razors.
A recent report revealed that Gillette sales pulled down earnings for parent company Proctor and Gamble, and it’s no wonder: a survey conducted by German-based razor maker Braun found that of a thousand New York men polled, a whopping 67 per cent had beards. Another survey, conducted by Experian Marketing Services, found that 15 percent of men ages 18 to 24 say they don’t use any shaving products at all, a figure that is up from 13 percent in 2009.
But one expert says 2017 will be the year the beard trend finally dies.
“Fast forward four years and we can now see a massive shift back to more of a stubble or even clean shaven,” says Lloyd Hughes, creative director of the grooming brand men-ü. “What’s very apparent is that the ‘big beard’ trend is on its way out. Men first favoured a much closer, cropped beard and are now opting for a very short stubble.I am confident that quite soon this trend will continue and men will go for a completely clean shave in 2017.”