The wonderful world of looking good would like to present manscaping. This term is thrown around without much thought, but what exactly is manscaping? Plain and simple, the term means removal of body hair (from a dude).
Although this commentary is through a woman’s perspective, this topic is something I care about. This topic, like so many others, is subjective. Opinions differ and tastes vary. At first, I questioned if manscaping even existed. Has society really gone so far as to gender yet another aspect of everyday life? There are articles from GQ and Men’s Health detailing how to effectively manscape, documentaries like Mansome (2012) on the history of manscaping and contests like Movember for the best facially-scaped man.
This is a real thing.
On first impression, manscaping is an act many people would think refers to grooming the nether regions, when in reality it encompasses the grooming of hair all over the body (despite that 8 a.m. class, guys want to look good too, you know). Society pressures people to look their best, and thanks to many famous, good-looking celebrities (I’m looking at you, Hugh Jackman), the stakes have been raised for males, while the female struggle continues to be maintaining immaculate grooming (some more seasonally). This act of hygiene has existed for ages and performed by both sexes, but has been made a bigger, almost glorified, deal for guys, while the act is portrayed as a chore to most girls. Manscaping has become a gendered word, and though the term ladyscaping exists, it is rarely discussed.
Yes, your significant other might enjoy a clean, well-kept partner, but to be honest, manscaping isn’t just to impress women. According to Mansome, manscaping is used as a tool to prove masculinity. Men, like women, seek validation from their own sex. Mansome goes on to discuss issues that deal with removal of body hair; grooming of mustaches, beards, and regular hair; and the stigma that surrounds men and their ability to decorate themselves in western society. From what I have picked up, the less hair, the slimmer and more fit dudes appear. The more hair, the fluffier they look. It all depends on preference.
Humans are naturally hairy beings (some more than others) which makes grooming a more time-consuming process for certain people.
Manscaping is a thing because society has made it one. Male models appear smooth on magazine covers and commercials, wrestlers and swimmers go hairless for the sake of their sport and some men challenge the idea of being hairless and opt to grow more of it. Guess what, guys? You all manscape whether it be to look like an aerodynamic swimmer or to look like a mountain man.
Why must we as a society label an act that is performed by both sexes? Ladyscaping is an equivalent term that is rarely used in conversation. Apparently, it is still taboo to talk about women acting like humans.
We all care about our appearances; we all seek to be validated by our own sex. Why take an action, object or product (*cough, cough* razors *cough*) and assign it a gender? Manbun, murse, manscaping? It all seems a little ridiculous. If anything, let ladyscaping be heard as much as we hear about manscaping. Or better yet, mix both terms together and let us all scape, snip and take care of business.
However, throwing the term around in random conversations did provide interesting feedback. People contemplated manscaping for their significant others, but some contemplated it for themselves. A good portion of the population doesn’t even know that a term exists for male grooming, much less lady grooming. It is an act of hygiene that the media has genderfied and society has rolled with it. Most of the guys that spoke to about “man grooming” didn’t feel the term was such a big deal. Most commented that they only manscaped when they felt it necessary.
Going back to the question, is manscaping a thing? It is, but it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal. Male grooming, like female grooming, is a want for a healthy, clean-looking person. If we are completely honest, everyone has their own likes and dislikes of themselves. If a guy wants to look like a lumberjack, go for it. If a lady wants to be lazy for the winter season, do it. Scaping anything is the choice of the person. Just like women, men will find articles, videos and charts that detail how and why they should groom. Ultimately the choice is theirs, unlike women who are condemned to a life sentence of societal enforced grooming. For now, I will keep on looking at guys in class and on campus, judging their appearance as we have been trained to do.