Apart from the massive marketing camping to persuade women to shave, as mentioned in Part 1 A History of Shaving, there are a few other reasons women might choose to shave.
Coupled with advertising, peer pressure often forces women into shaving. Dr Tony Carr, head of clinical psychology at the University of Plymouth, has carried out several large-scale surveys looking into the prevalence of concern with appearance. He says: “An unkind remark at a vulnerable stage such as early adolescence may trigger a preoccupation with a particular feature.” Once such a preoccupation has taken hold it can be perpetuated by faulty thinking along the lines of, “In order to be loved or successful, I have to be attractive,” he added.
As Carr points out, we are bombarded daily with a barrage of pictures in magazines, on billboards, on TV, and in the movies depicting society’s preferred body image. And that image is unequivocally young, attractive, healthy – and fuzz-free (Source 1).
I have been to Sikh youth camps across the United States for 16 years and I think a majority of the girls that I have met shave. I ask why they shave and this is what they say:
Sikh girls! Why do you shave?
- It’s gross not to.
- I want to be pretty.
- It’s hygienic.
- I want to wear shorts, dresses, and go swimming.
- I want friends/life partner.
- I don’t want to look like a guy.
- I don’t want to be teased.
Sikh girls! Do you think you should shave?
- Well, Sikhi says we shouldn’t…… but why?
- The Guru Granth Sahib doesn’t give a good enough reason as to why I shouldn’t…so, why not?
- People say, ‘Hair is a gift from god, and it’s our identity.’ Does that mean I have to wave hairy pits around so people can see the gift from God that makes me a Sikh? Gross. No thank you.
By Lakhpreet Kaur