Personally I have never given it much thought until quite recently when I saw the Ben Hopper’s photographs for the Natural Beauty series. First of all, I thought about real women going through with it and not Cara Delevingne or some other high fashion top model, but you and I lost among the crowds on the high street with a vest-top on showing off our underarm turf. The idea immediately puts me off. Even though I’ll happily pass through winter without shaving my legs and allow my unibrow to assume its proper Frieda Kahlo splendour for some time without worrying too much. This new craze is a little too extreme. It’s like when the feminists in the 60’s threw their bras in a bin, held hands and sang kumbaya (well, I’m not sure about the last bit) to promote equality or something. This only works on a theatrical level. In truth, we all need our bras, unless we want our boobs to hang down to our knees, then we’d have to put socks on them in the winter when it gets chilly. But when it comes to hair, we could easily dip into ridiculous territories and go too far. We could soon be looking into growing out our facial hair and even go further with beards and choosing a style for Movember.
Frightening thought, isn’t it? I’m all for the so-called ‘natural beauty’ and I put that term in quotes because if we all really wanted to be natural, we wouldn’t shave any part of the body, wax, put make-up on, wear deodorant that actually works, comb our hair, wear synthetic materials and so on but you get the gist. What I’m trying to say is it’s impossible to be completely natural on a realistic point of view. We have to draw the line somewhere.
What’s more, if you’re going to take a feminist stand, is there nothing more worthwhile that you can think to do than to grow your armpit hair? Removing armpit hair isn’t something that only women do. In Spain, it’s normal for men to wax their arms, legs, chests, and presumably down there as well, although I haven’t asked them about that bit. Over there, hair removal is just part of the daily routine. They feel more groomed, more attractive to the opposite sex and more confident. This isn’t because they are oppressed. It is merely a by product of a modern, western society that places heavy emphasis on being preened and pampered, whatever your gender.
To me, it’s just silly. Sure, I will go out wearing short sleeves with a few days’ worth of stubble under my pits (because I’m forgetful and, if we’re being honest, lazy), but do I feel the need to make them a point of political debate? Of course not. Having shaven, stubbly or fully grown armpit hair is your own prerogative, but it doesn’t need to be something that everybody has to shut up and listen to. I would much rather we focused on the bigger issues that women face in societies around the world than fret over whether my sweaty pits have the power to change the world! If I’m being totally honest, making a show of growing your armpit hair out is at best histrionic and at worst the tears of the melodramatic, middle class white woman who have nothing better to do. Either way, you can count me out.
What do your think? The armpit revolution Yay or Nay?