You may have caught the news this week that “Curious Guy” wrote in to Ask Amy pondering why women don’t shave their arms:
“I’ve seen many women who have a decent amount of noticeable hair on their forearms. Some women have dark hair on their arms, which is noticeable when wearing short sleeves. Even blond hair is very noticeable in the sunlight. I’m just curious as to why women would shave their legs, but walk around with hairy arms.”
Amy’s answer is classic, but ignores the fact that it’s really recent – historically speaking – that women don’t have to shave their arms to be considered properly presented to the world.
I own a copy of The Arts of Costume and Personal Adornment (1943) and it specifically instructs young ladies to remove arm hair with sandpaper, as to have any is “a mark of careless grooming” (p.32). 1970’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised doesn’t talk about hairy-legged women liberationists, it specifically mentions “hairy-armed women liberationists.”
For all the numerous problems with second wave feminism, let’s at least be thankful we don’t have to stock up on sandpaper at the drugstore every week.
**And a shoutout to the Hairy Legs Club on Tumblr.