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Gillette Girls & Badger Boys: The Gendered Shaving Gap

Unless you're a rich New York socialite with nothing but time and Prozac, chances are you can't afford regular waxing sessions. So instead you trim up with your old friend the seventeen-blade plastic razor with blade guard and useless trimming attachment. And, thanks to genius marketing, because your unit plus blades combo pack costs the same as plain old blade replacements, when the time comes to repurchase, you're probably just going to buy the new model.

Why not? There've been such advances in the sharp metal attached to a plastic stick industry since the last time you traipsed down the "shaving needs" aisle. And, luckily for you, they all come in colors like "seafoam" or pink n' purple because you're such a flirty, fun gal when you're hacking at your limbs in the shower. Last stop is buying expensive fruit-fragranced Goddess foam (that will dry out your skin and clog up your razor and cause you to go through blades at a ridiculous clip) and you're on your way to a brand-new you!


Point being: no matter how you dress it up, the current state of lady shaving makes it a boring necessary chore punctuated with cheap and increasingly useless products that need to be replaced at an almost absurd rate.

Yet the men's shaving industry has become (or, more accurately, has returned to being) a way for manly men with no interesting in self-care to "pamper themselves" with plush brushes, nourishing soap cakes, luxury lathering mugs and ultra-expensive blades and blade accessories.

It's hard not to feel a little jealous of my boyfriend calling shaving a "pleasure" and a "relaxing hobby" while gliding a gleaming metal blade over his almond-oiled face. Plus a double-edged safety razor or a straight razor comes with a learning curve — there is a technique to be developed and improved upon. It is quite literally a hobby to be enjoyed. A single unit can last a lifetime (or several lifetimes) with proper care. The soaps and creams are all softening and the whole procedure for a single manly face takes about an hour.

So how is it that a group for whom shaving is allowed to be optional is getting such a velvet rope experience while we're hunched over like a pack of shameful Gollums in the shower, forever missing that little patch around the ankle?


Forget questions of what we ought to shave in order to be "good" feminists or "attractive" women and focus instead on how we're shaving and why. If shaving is so important for women, why aren't we taking more pleasure in it? I think the answer is that women's body hair has always been a shameful secret, while the many ability to grow or shave a mustache is something to be celebrated.

Fuck all that.

As someone who may have stolen one of the manly double-edged blades and given it a try, delicately learning how much pressure to apply and at what angle to hold the blade, legs covered in lotion rather than foam, is relaxing. Even fun.


...until the n00bish razor burn starts. But I'm getting better! And it needn't be super expensive either. While a good rich cream lotion might be pricy (EOS sells one for ladies if you can't bear to be without a berry smell), a cheap double-edged razor can be found for $2-3 and replacement blades are about 10 cents a pop (online — good luck finding any of this in-store in North America).

Either way, whether you shave your pits or your legs or your ladyflower or anything else, consider doing so with a little more pride in your womanly hair removal skills and a little less shameful hunching.

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