Body Hair Is Gross, Or Is This Something Ads Want Women To Believe?

Advertisers find women's body hair to be so disgusting, they won't even feature them in ads for products meant to remove them.

Vanshika nirAkula
Jul 01, 2022 09:15 IST
body hair removal ads, Body hair on women, dirty woman
Women’s insecurities about their own bodies have been used as a tool to control them for hundreds of years. The ways and trends were supposedly different; the common aspect was to fill the pockets of the rich, by feeding on someone’s vulnerabilities. Women’s body hair is one such common insecurity, marketed by the capitalist and patriarchal society that we live in. 

Easily could one blame the social conditioning and unsolicited judgments from people to give in to the world of impossible beauty standards. But did you ever wonder how they are able to build up a billion-dollar empire just on a niche based on someone’s body hair?

The business world dealing with women’s body hair is based on mainly three factors: market the comparison, create the vulnerabilities and provide them with the solution. As harsh as it might sound but the capitalist world uses women as a prop to generate business. Take ads for body hair removal, for instance, the women featured are mostly ultra-thin and fair-skinned catering two major biases in our society. Further, if you notice you will realise that women who “supposedly” shave their body hair in advertisements, already do not have a single one. Even if you use a microscope, you won't find a single strand of unwanted hair on their bodies, forget a hint of stubble!  As if they are only placed in the picture to show that removing body hair will automatically make you desirable.

Think am overshooting? One report suggests that the market for hair removal products, which was valued at 2.2 billion dollars in 2018, is expected to expand at an annual growth rate of of 5.5 percent from 2019 to 2025. The sole reason for this growth is that ads for these products play on the regressive notions of beauty, fueling insecurities among women. Smooth skin is attractive. Body hair is so gross we cannot even feature hairy legs while promoting our products.


Advertisements of major beauty brands in our country have worked like that over the years. Fair skin, because dusky isn’t lovely, ultra-thin because fat girls aren’t supposedly beautiful and silky hair, because frizzy is unattractive.  

Result? Women across the country look at themselves in the mirror only to notice their flaws, then turn to beauty products to fix themselves.


Suggested Reading: Women Shouldn’t Have To Be Apologetic For Something As Natural As Body Hair

Body hair removal ads don't have to be regressive to get the message across


It is time women start questioning the unreal ads that have made us feel like lesser women if we choose not to shave. To remove body hair or not is someone’s personal choice, but it is also a personal responsibility to question the insignificant marketing representation that is put upon us as a society. From casting women with actual body hair which is meant (not) to remove to actually showing brown skins with varying degrees of melanin could be a good start towards change in beauty-representation by the entertainment industry.

Women shouldn't have to feel ashamed about something that is a natural part of their body. It's hair. It'll grow back. That itself is the proof that it is meant to be accepted. What is artificial or man-made is the shame or disgust about women's body hair that is further reinforced by advertisements for hair removal products. So now you know what we need to actually get rid of is this shame and disgust. What we do with our body hair is matter of individual choice.

Views expressed are the author’s own.

#beauty standards #body hair