When it comes to body hair on women, I’ll be the first to admit, I think it’s revolting. I, like most of the women I know, have spent many an hour trying to de-fuzz to the best of my ability – waxing inner thighs, plucking eyebrows, shaving legs, immac-ing bikini lines – and I don’t regret a second of it.
Now make no mistake, I get that it’s social conditioning which has made women being hair-free the norm – and at times it can be a bloody ball ache, but, society’s conditioning or otherwise, I think a hair-free body is much more attractive than one sporadically coated in a layer of fuzz.
But others disagree. According to this week’s Grazia magazine, we should all be joining the ‘under-army’ and returning our pits to their natural state.
With the likes of Madonna, Miley Cyrus and Jemima Kirke leading the way, it seems to be the body statement du jour and you’re no-one unless you have three weeks growth under your arm.
Do I have a problem with this?
Well, let’s see, from a personal perspective not really, I will never throw out the razor, I don’t care how many celebs are filling their Instagram accounts with jungle pits – and with regards to other people doing it, hell, do what you want – your body etc, etc.
What I do have a problem with, however, is people talking about under-arm hair in relation to feminism and ‘owning your body’
According to Kate Wills, writing for Grazia -
’Despite feminism, shaving our armpits has remained one of the most deeply entrenched beauty rules … until recently when people like, model, Charlotte Free, have made the look cool and carefree, the ultimate statement of ownership of their body’
‘It boils down to the fear of shattering the illusion of women as a feminine other – a perpetually child-like state’
‘Hairy armpits are a small part of the movement towards women not feeling they have to conform to narrow expectations … ‘
And so it continues.
Yet another example of stereotyping women – categorising them into groups, of most secure to least secure, least unable to think for themselves to most able to defy beauty ideals all depending on whether they’ve got a bit of fuzz under their arms or not.
It implies that all women who shave their armpits are doing so to conform to an ideal that men have created. God forbid a women actually shaved her armpits for herself, because she found it uncomfortable and unsightly (as ,yes, I do)
My same gripe applies to all manner of alleged women’s suppression in the fashion industry – high heels? Love em! Wonder bras? Best invention ever! Hold ups, suspender belts, corsets and g-strings? Would wear them to the gym if I could!
I don’t ‘conform’ to anyones ideal, I wear what I want and shave what I want for myself – and apologies if this doesn’t conform to your feminist ideals.
Suggesting that a women who doesn’t shave her armpits (or who wears high heels etc) does not ‘own her body’ or is somehow suppressed is narrow-minded and patronising.
Why can’t feminists stop using everything as a representation of a woman’s stance on the gender debate and her position in society?
If you want to make a feminist statement, how about you talk less about body hair representing the entire psyche and sexual standing of a women and more about how real respect for fellow women is about not judging them or type-casting them, regardless of what the decide to wear or how they ‘groom’ themselves.
If having hairy armpits is a feminist statement and nothing to do with the fact that it’s ‘en vogue’ at the moment, how about you stop using deodorant, having manicures, colouring your hair, wearing make-up and writing for a women’s fashion magazine too.
No, didn’t think so – all in good time, eh.