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.