Monday, July 30, 2012

Eeeeew Shave Your Pits

A few months ago I wrote a guest post for my blogging friend Alexandra Naughton over at the Tsaritsa Sez. In it, I mocked the uproar that followed Julia Roberts' attendance to the Notting Hill premiere with (gasp!) unshaven underarms! The scandal! Check out her amazing post on her pride for her unplucked eyebrows too.

Well, it seems the media still haven't gotten over it. Alexandra shared a Daily Mail article on Facebook with me about singer Pixie Lott's appearance at the Dark Knight Rises premiere, also unshaven. The article suggested that Pixie had taken fashion tips from Julia Roberts. It says she had "forgotten one very important part of her grooming routine" and describes her choice as a "faux pas."

Now, I don't object to people shaving their underarms. I shave mine. I don't object to people finding unshaven underarms unattractive, though I firmly believe that this distaste is socially constructed. I DO have a problem with people shaming women, with classifying the female body in its natural form as disgusting, a fashion don't. It's not just men shaming women. We do it to each other.

I'm not really angry about the uproar over Pixie's unshaven underarms; I think it's ludicrous and hilarious that so many people care, made a big deal out of it. This made the news! We remember Julia Roberts' pits like it was news. It was news. It's freaking brave for any woman to step out in natural form because of the inevitable ridicule she will face, let alone one of the world's biggest celebrities attending a film premiere and waving. But the fact that we remember it? That it's an infamous moment? WTF.

Women grow hair under their arms and some of us choose not to shave. Big flipping deal. Get over it and go read about Brangelina or something.

Not shaving is so often described as an issue of hygiene, a lack of interest in being feminine. Hair on a man is seen as a sign of virility. On women it's a sign of poor hygiene, a lack of interest in being feminine, and a sign that she's a lesbian or a feminist (like that's an insult.)

Our fear of women's underarm hair is a symptom of a wider problem: socialized ignorance.


  1. I started shaving late in life and was teased relentlessly for my body hair. It gave me SO many self esteem issues, many of which I still can't let go of today. That in itself makes me angry. I'm 100% with you on this one.

  2. Oddly enough I saw a photo of a man recently (wish I could remember who) with very hairy pits. My first thought was ugh. It was very dark, very bushy and sticking out from under his arm, even though he didn't have it raised very far. HE should have at least trimmed a bit. (Or worn something with sleeves.)

    I rarely shave under my arms and I only do my legs when I know they'll be on show. I DO pluck my eyebrows though. I've never thought about why. I'll ponder this one.

  3. Dom - Thanks for bringing up the issue of self-esteem. People don't realize how their shaming affects people. They think they are helping.

    Morning AJ - I pluck my eyebrows too, but it's because I prefer how it frames my face, not the perception of hygiene like with legs. It is interesting why we may be okay with some body hair and not others.