Wednesday, August 30, 2006

where did it all start?

Anonymous thinks it was with an advert for razor blades.

"It began with the May,1915 edition of Harper’s Bazaar magazine that featured a model sporting the latest fashion. She wore a sleeveless evening gown that exposed, for the first time in fashion, her bare shoulders, and her (shaved) armpits. Shocking at first, this soon caught on. At the same time a marketing executive with the Wilkinson Sword Company, which made razor blades for men, designed a campaign to convince women that underarm hair was unfeminine. By 1917 the sales of razor blades doubled as women conformed to this feminine stereotype of shaving under their arms."

This certianly is an interesting advert that must have come shortly afterwards, for depilatory powder......

Thanks to anon for this research. Can anyone tell us any more?

2 comments:

partykillgirl said...

The first moviemaker to show the feminine armpit extensively in non-pornographic films was Mack Sennett, in his Bathing Beauty shorts… Sennett's Bathing Beauties had shaven armpits, and they are the first direct evidence we have of the armpit-shaving phenomemon. Whether or not Mack actually said "That look like hell - have 'em shave' is a moot point, though the statement is completely in character with what we know about Sennett.

It seems there were several reasons for this. For one thing, early movie stars like Theda Bara and Mack Sennett's Bathing Beauties shaved their legs and armpits, supposedly because Sennett preferred that look.

yclepta said...

pkg thanks for your comment - it's very interesting - I appreciate you stopping by and filling me in....
I'll see if I can find a still image from the film somewhere.

Your site is excellent - you make a very clear point which I fully support - get Lad's Mags onto the top shelf!