Why are Baths Considered More Feminine than Showers?


Believe it or not, my husband takes baths and I take showers. That seems a little opposite to most couples in the Western World. He says, "a nice hot bath relaxes him and helps relieve his aches and pains". I say, "Wash the stinky parts and let's go, I don't have time to think about 'aches and pains'. " It's a role reversal that has worked in our household. It was weird at first, but I'm used to it now.

So, why are baths considered more feminine than showers? Well, in order to answer that question, we must travel back in time for a few minutes. The Greeks were one of the first known cultures to bathe. However, unlike today it wasn't a matter of cleanliness, it was more of an event for pleasurable reasons. Men and women bathed nude in public baths on the streets and in the buildings of Athens. I'm sure we've all heard the term "bath houses"; do you really think they were there to get clean? Egyptian's bathed for both ritual purposes and personal cleanliness; often utilizing the use of oils and herbs in their baths. The process of bathing became the center of Rome's social life. Over 2000 people could gather in the Caracalla Baths in Rome to bathe together. Of course, the massages and various other activities offered there was a great marketing tool for cleanliness, as well. Because bathing has always been a ritual and a pleasurable task done since early times, it's not looked at as a "manly" venture. Men are the fearless hunters, not pleasure seeking beings… Over time, people began to realize that bathing was an important part of good health. Cleanliness became a necessity. Communal and Social bathing became a thing of the past to most of us. However, in countries like Japan and Tunisia, communal and social bathing is still done. However, in Western cultures, bathing is more of a private ritual. And because bathing became more of a task and not a pleasurable experience; the shower made its debut.

The desire to speed up the task of cleanliness was first introduced by our ancestors, in the form of a waterfall. The fast falling water helped scour the bather clean. And of course, there was the famous bucket of water thrown over the head while standing in a tub that failed miserably. So, in the early 1800's the first shower was developed. The English Regency Shower, a 12-foot high tote shower, made its debut in the richest of homes in England. The first shower made in America was around 1830 or so; the all wood unit was made of walnut and included a revolving seat. It wasn't until the late 1800's that showers resembled those of today.

Because showers in general save people time; both men and women take showers daily instead of baths. Showers, although known to be the masculine form of "getting clean", are for women, as well. Because women work just as much as men in today's world, more if you count our homemaking duties, we don't have the time to bathe for 30 minutes.

Showers have also been proven to save people money on their electric and water bills. The average 5-minute shower uses approximately 10 gallons of hot water, while the average bath uses 15-25 gallons of hot water.

Another great reason to shower and not bathe, the issue of dry skin. Many women suffer from dry skin. Because baths are usually longer and the entire body is submerged in water for a certain amount of time; the skin can dry out. Showers, because they can be quick, doesn't seem to dry a woman's skin out as much.

But let's face it. There's nothing like a nice hot bath. Only while taking a bath can you lay down or recline in a restful position. You can add oils, bath salts, herbs, and of course bubbles. What woman doesn't enjoy her occasional bubble bath? The lighting of candles, the smell of sweet bath and body products, and a soft bath pillow. In a bath, you can read a good book or even lay back and watch television, if you're one of the rare American's that have Televisions in their bathrooms. And trust me, there are televisions in lot's of bathrooms these days. Because bathing has become more of an event for women, rather than a chore or task, it's very much like early times, when the Greeks bathed for pleasure.

But don't underestimate the shower, yet. Although, the shower remained virtually unchanged for over 100 years, in the 1980's the world was introduced to "vertical whirlpools", pulsating shower heads, multiple shower heads; larger showers, and showers that can practically do everything except lather you up.

For the most part, when it comes to baths, most women take them for relaxation and enjoyment. When it comes to showers, it's for the quickness and the job at hand. No matter which you choose the same outcome will occur- you will be clean!