ATTITUDES TOWARD WOMEN's BODY HAIR: RELATIONSHIP WITH DISGUST SENSITIVITY

Authors


  • Marika Tiggemann and Christine Lewis, Department of Psychology, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr. M. Tiggemann, School of Psychology, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, South Australia 5001. E-mail: Marika.Tiggemann@flinders.edu.au

Abstract

We aimed to further investigate the “hairlessness” norm that is the common practice of body hair removal among women. A sample of 198 undergraduate students (91 men, 107 women) completed questionnaires asking about attitudes toward women's body hair and the reasons women remove this hair, as well as a measure of disgust sensitivity. It was found that the vast majority (98%) of female participants regularly remove their leg and/or underarm hair, most frequently by shaving, and attribute this to femininity and attractiveness reasons. However, the attributions that they and men made for other women were much more socially normative in nature. For the sample as a whole, negative attitudes toward body hair were related to disgust sensitivity. It was concluded that body hair on women, but not on men, has become an elicitor of disgust and its removal correspondingly normative.

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