The Internet is up to its armpits talking about a new social movement that rejects the unrealistic beauty standards of women’s body hair, punk style.
That’s right, folks. Some ladies out there are not only opting to stop shaving their underarms, but they are dyeing their armpit hair too.
The presence of body hair on women, unlike that of men, is often considered undesirable, unattractive and unfeminine.
But now, movements like Free Your Pits are taking the taboo against women’s body hair and making it their own. Seventeen-year-old Destiny Moreno was recently featured in the New York Times for doing just that.
After not shaving her underarms for several months, she dyed her armpit hair Voodoo Blue — but not without drawing negative reactions after posting a YouTube video modeling her newly electric blue pits.
But Moreno is certainly not alone. Miley Cyrus flaunted her pink pits in an Instagram photo that drew more than 396,000 likes, along with hundreds of other women posting photos with their dyed underarms.
Similar campaigns have taken off, such as Free the Nipple, which shuts down the idea of body censorship and the sexualization of women’s breasts and instead advocates for the decriminalization of female toplessness.
Chelsea Handler slammed Instagram for its gender-specific double standards on nudity after it removed a topless photo she posted of herself imitating an also topless Vladimir Putin.
While most women might not want to post a topless photo to Instagram or dye their underarm hair, that is not the point. The point is they are punished and stigmatized for doing it in the first place.
Shaving armpit hair isn’t perceived as a choice for women; it’s just something they feel they simply have to do, just like shaving or waxing their legs, not going shirtless in public and always wearing a bra.
On the flip side, men can make a conscious decision whether to shave or grow out a full-fledged lumberjack beard and needn’t worry about shaving their legs or underarms. We even adore the “man bun” look, which is seen as scruffy, unkempt and even a little dirty, but in a sexy and attractive sense.
And yet a woman with unshaved underarms is often perceived as unkempt and dirty, but in an unattractive, unflattering, unfeminine and unsexy way.
Surprisingly, the beginning of women shaving their armpits doesn’t go so far into the past as one might think.
Before 1915, there was no expectation for American women to shave their underarms until the sleeveless dress came along. A Harper’s Bazaar magazine ad featured a young model in a sleeveless dress posing with her arms over her head and her perfectly shaved pits exposed. The 1915 ad decreed in order to wear such a sleeveless dress, women must first remove their “objectionable hair.”
But now, women are saying, “Screw that!”
Young women are becoming catalysts for change and challenging the public’s attitude about body hair on women. By dyeing their underarm hair, they are highlighting the presence of an aspect of women’s bodies we had once so comfortably erased.
The last time the Editorial Board checked, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with body hair on women, especially if it’s bubble gum pink.
Instead of being told they must remove an “objectionable” aspect from their bodies, women are rejecting harmful standards of beauty — and they’re doing it in the coolest, most badass way possible.
Power to the pit, ladies.