A friend of mine, increasingly observant, is interested in shaving his body for both aesthetic and athletic reasons. I have told him that I believe it is forbidden for men to shave parts “traditionally” shaved by women – in particular, legs, underarms and genital areas. However, is it true that it may be permissible to just trim those areas (or use some other “alternative” method) – especially as it appears that doing so has now become commonplace among many men? Thank you for your insight!
Shalom U'vrachah, While it is true that it appears that for a man to shave such hair due to it being a female activity, however the Rashba already wrote that in his day men already had the custom to shave in such areas. He therefore allowed it as it cannot be defined as a female activity. If it is the accepted custom today in a particular place for men to shave in such areas then it is permitted for men there to shave. Kol Tuv