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Female body hair is becoming more visible in popular culture and, while the issue has been around for decades, the new enthusiasm for hirsuteness has a 21st-century twist. I am usually late to catch on to shifts in the zeitgeist; this one came to my attention just recently.
For the past couple of decades, I have seldom shaved my armpits. Now, all of a sudden, I was on-trend. Among both celebrities and the masses, female body hair is sprouting all over. In some ways, this phenomenon harks back to the second wave movement of the s and s, when feminists began to challenge restrictive beauty standards. At a famous march outside the Miss America ant in Atlantic City, protesters ceremoniously discarded their bras and stiletto heels; many feminists of that era also ditched their sexy shaved armpits and tweezers.
Unshaven women in often meet other criteria for traditional feminine beauty —they have sculpted eyebrows, wear lipstick or sexy lingerie — while proudly displaying their armpit hair. If the ethos of the 70s was a refusal to spend time and effort on cosmetics, the more common approach today is for women to curate different elements of their appearance, remaining conventionally attractive while deploying body hair as a feminist fuck-you: half-statement, half-ornament.
Since its launch in NovemberBillie has positioned itself as explicitly feminist. Strange, huh? She is smoothing the hair on her head back with arms raised, revealing undisturbed axillary fuzz. Hale hit puberty early, she told me, and her body hair was dark and noticeable. Now, she sometimes, but not always, removes hair from her legs and other body parts, but never from her armpits.
We were saying shaving is a choice. Back in the s, the conversation sounded quite different. The very first full issue of Ms. The time, money and psychological energy required for depilation were oppressive. Hairlessness was also infantilizing — it made women look like prepubescent girls. But another faction of feminists, led by Betty Friedan, had a different take. Friedan believed the preoccupation with body hair was counterproductive. She considered these concerns a trivial distraction from more important issues, such as professional opportunities and subsidized childcare.
She also thought they harmed the cause of feminism by casting feminists as hairy, ugly, man-hating weirdos. I came of age in the s, a midway point of sorts. My two best friends and I stopped shaving in high school. For me, this decision was not explicitly about feminism, but about an sexy shaved armpits to my idea of authenticity not to mention my allegiance to laziness.
I wanted to be attractive, but I did not want to invest effort or enlist artifice into making myself so. Any such measures, to my year-old mind, would have been cheating. At the same time, I usually felt self-conscious about my body hair, and often wore pants or long skirts. Displaying smooth, bald legs would have felt like selling out, but I felt a different sort of discomfort displaying hairy ones. I envied one of my friends whose leg hair was fine and wispy. Mine was not. Later I d shaving my legs.
Back then, in my recollection, body hair did not register much in the cultural conversation.
The founders of Instagram were in middle school. Feminism was in something of a lull, with a few exceptions such as the Riot Grrrl scene.
My favorite magazine, Sassy, did embrace feminism, but not in a way that involved challenging beauty norms very aggressively. As far as I recall, nary a patch of stubble could be found on the waifish bodies of their models. But she remembers thinking something was afoot when dyed armpit hair became fashionable a few years ago. One of the pioneers of that micro-trend was Roxie Jane Hunta hairstylist in Seattle.
This article includes content provided by Instagram. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. To view this content, click 'Allow and continue'. It felt like a big chore but also a little bit of violence against my own body. It opened up a little more imagination. If body hair has historically been invisible — too shameful to even sexy shaved armpits in razor commercials — this aesthetic makes it ultra-visible.
Sexy shaved armpits that sense, it takes the pro-hair ethos to its extreme. The look is also highly social-mediagenic, destined for virality. And social media, for both dyed and virgin body hair, is obviously a key part of what makes this round of hair affirmation different from eras.
The new body-hair acceptance advocates land squarely in the former territory. Now, much more common is something like the reverse: claiming the mantle of feminism no matter how un-feminist the position may seem. A theme that came through loudly in my conversations with young women was that we should judge nothing — except perhaps judgment itself.
You can shave. Is there ever tension between their aesthetic preferences and their values? According to Gooley, the Billie co-founder, she found a range of attitudes in her focus groups and market research. I like my underarm hair. So far, this is all sounding very kumbaya: the shaven and the waxed and the hairy and the semi-hairy all getting along famously, showering each other with love and likes in a judgment-free festival.
There is some truth to that: this discourse is refreshingly peaceable. For all the love that the photos of body hair have generated, they have also, inevitably, attracted trolls. And some came from women.
Posting a picture of your hairy self online takes guts. You know that not everyone will approve, and some will let you know it. Merely going out in public sexy shaved armpits female body hair takes a different sort of courage. Female hairiness is still far from mainstream.
But the more people who brave the all-caps comments and the whispers and stares, the less shocking it becomes. This is how norms change. And one of the few real upsides of social media, in my view, is its power to accelerate that process of dismantling dubious norms — not, in this case, in order to replace the old one with a new, equally unforgiving one, but to challenge the need for any norm at all. Life and style. The new feminist armpit hair revolution: half-statement, half-ornament. Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow.
Mon 24 Jun Why does female armpit hair provoke such outrage and disgust?. Allow Instagram content? Allow and continue. Topics Life and style Women features. Reuse this content.Sexy shaved armpits
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I Stopped Shaving My Armpits A Year Ago & Here's Why I've Never Felt Sexier