To let hair be, or to not let hair be? Gender and body hair removal practices in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Terry, Gareth and Braun, Virginia (2013). To let hair be, or to not let hair be? Gender and body hair removal practices in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Body Image, 10(4) pp. 599–606.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2013.07.001

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/17401...

Abstract

Research and anecdotal evidence suggest women continue to remove body hair, and there is some evidence for cultural changes in men’s hair removal practices. This paper reports on data collected using an online mix-methods survey from 584 New Zealanders between the ages of 18-35 (mean age 26, 48.9% male, 50.6% female). The data demonstrated that substantial proportions of both women and men in Aotearoa/New Zealand remove body hair from many sites. However, gendered differences remain, and a key dimension of gendered difference appears in the concept of flexible choice around body hair removal or retention. This was seen in the difference between perceived acceptability of having body hair (81% for men, 11% for women). These findings suggest that although men, like women, are now coming under some pressure to remove body hair, there is still a great difference in men and women’s capacity to choose whether to bow to it.

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