The idiom put hair(s) on someone's chest means:
Fig. to do or take something to invigorate or energize someone, always a male, except in jest: Here, have a drink of this stuff! It'll put hair on your chest. That stuff is powerful. It will really put hair on your chest.
[McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002]
I have known this idiom for a while and as the above dictionary indicates, I always believed this idiom could be used only for males or boys.
According to BBC Learning English broadcast on Dec. 15, 2015, it says it could be used for women as follows:
Feifei: Well, last night I was in the pub with some friends, it was getting late and they were starting to drink shots of liquor; one of my friends was encouraging me to give it go and he said “Drink it, it’ll put hairs on your chest!” What did he mean? Why would liquor put hairs on my chest? I do not want hairs on my chest!
Rob: Haha, I’m sure you don’t but that’s very funny, Feifei. ‘It’ll put hairs on your chest’ in that context means it’s good for you, it’ll make you a strong man or a woman!
Feifei: To have hairs on my chest means I’m a strong person? What a strange expression!
Can this expression be used to women? I would really like to get some input/answers from female members of this community on whether it would be considered offensive even if it is used in jest.
What is etymology of this expression? The linked Ngram Viewer shows that the expression started around 1915.