The PJ Tatler

TREND ALERT: Women with Hairy Armpits

I’m always the last to find out about these things and in this case, ignorance is certainly bliss.

The new “thing” hitting the mainstream social media culture is unshaven armpits.

“Women are proudly showing off their growth on Instagram and YouTube, and it’s not just Miley Cyrus anymore. Jemima Kirke of ‘Girls’ flashed her fair-colored au naturel look — earning some cringes — at the June 1 CFDA awards, one of the top fashion events of the year.”

This isn’t just an American thing, it’s happening in China, too.

On Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging site in China, the women’s rights activist known as Xiao Meili held an “Armpit Hair Competition,” complete with prizes that included condoms and a vibrator, to protest societal pressure on women to shave under there.

“In the past two decades, there have been a lot of commercials and advertising for hair removal cream and laser removal of hair that have talked about women needing to shave their underarm hair and that the armpit area should be clean,” said the 25-year-old Xiao, whose real name is Xiao Yue.

“My mother’s generation didn’t care about that, but now it has become a headache for women in the summer as they have to consider whether to shave that area or not,” she said.

(I’m not sure what she has going on under her armpits, but it takes about 2 minutes tops to shave there. I’m not sure that qualifies as a “headache” but whatever.)

So we are seeing a “call to action” on this and I’m going to opt out of the latest episode of Cultural Oh The Humanity!

If women don’t want to shave their armpits, that’s fine, I don’t care. But I am suffering from OUTRAGE FATIGUE. Every single mundane detail about one’s personal life/preferences does not need to become a world-wide rallying cry against oppression or a metaphor for injustice.

It’s as if we’ve been afflicted with some twisted narcissistic solipsism, where your personal FILL IN THE BLANK  is a symbol of cosmic unfairness and everyone must enthusiastically join your campaign to “heal” the world with some insignificant, trivial gesture.

Angelique Serrano, beauty director for InStyle magazine, said there’s clearly no one right way to approach the pits, on feminist, beauty or hygiene grounds. The magazine offered a tutorial on its website late last year on how to achieve neon Rainbow Brite tints with bleach and Manic Panic dye after the hashtag “dyedpits” popped up on Twitter and Instagram.

“With the help of social media, the conversation is reaching a new level,” she said. “People are sharing their personal choices in a public way.”

People are sharing their personal choices in a public way, that’s the problem. Most people don’t care about your personal choices.

Maria Del Russo, a beauty editor for the millennial-focused fashion, style and beauty site Refinery29, said expression of identity is key in the mix.

“I think the reason more and more women are using social media to show off their body hair choices is connectedness. Since the idea of women having body hair is not considered the `norm,’ women who feel that it is their norm are likely attempting to make connections with other women who feel the same way.”

If there’s any statement to be made, she said, it’s this: “What one woman decides to do with her body hair is her business, and hers alone. For plenty of women, it’s just hair.”

It’s really not just her business when it’s videoed, tweeted, Facebooked, Instagrammed for the world to see. It’s being SHARED. Once you share something, it no longer becomes what we used to understand as “private business.”  And if we now live in a society where people need to connect based on their body hair and ladyscaping preferences ,then we have bigger problems than our armpits.

More from Dr. Helen: 

Women Who Shave