I was chatting to my partner about this the other day, after I was told to have two days growth of underarm hair for a mammogram. In fact it's come up quite a bit since he has grown his beard. My thoughts "If women were never sold the idea of shaving we'd all be our "au naturel" selves with leg and armpit hair like men, along with a 70's bush."
So where did it come from? On reading, I learnt that the Ancient Egyptians shaved their body hair because of lice, however that does not pertain to us. Ours came through the fashion industry and short sleeved dresses. This brought about underarm shaving as the fashion designers thought underarm hair unsightly. Shaving leg hair came later as women were a bit more dubious because smooth legs lead to their lady gardens and so it was seen as more sexual. But with the design of stockings, leg hair again looked unsightly poking through. Betty Boo promoted smooth legs and short skirts. Hence the reason women shave their legs and underarm hair everyday is due to people deciding it was unflattering to fashion.
Women in certain European countries have unshaven legs, that is their norm, and so they do not have the rigmarole of shaving or waxing.
I don't find it gross but it has become part of my cultural norm without me really knowing why we shave, so when I see unshaven women it is just different.
I found this link and the comments section interesting