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Mind Your Own Pits

mind your own pits - hairy arm pits

I’ve noticed quite a few posts in my newsfeed lately declaring that hairy armpits is a new “trend”. A “trend” that seems to be bothering more than a few people.

Here’s the thing though – allowing body hair to grow wherever it grows naturally is not a trend – though shaving it off is.

And that doesn’t mean shaving a bad thing either! But shaving is a choice that people make. Not shaving isn’t a choice, it’s the default. It’s just what is.

I can choose to hold my breathe, but I wouldn’t say I choose to breathe.

See how that works?

There seems to be three main issues though people have with women not choosing to shave their own bodies.

1. They perceive it as being unhygienic for women not to shave.

2. Or that it’s not feminine to have hair anywhere below the eyebrows.

3. They think it’s not attractive for women to have body hair.

Firstly, not shaving does not mean not bathing. I haven’t shaved my legs or armpits for a few weeks, but I shower every night. Which is arguably excessive, showering daily isn’t necessary and possibly even bad for you – but there it is! I am an extremely clean person – who doesn’t always shave.

What of the alleged smell from not shaving? It’s not something I’ve noticed. I’ll catch a whiff of myself if I’ve been exercising excessively or the humidity is particularly high – or when my second baby was little and attached to me practically 24/7 and our mutual sweat, dribbled milk and baby vomit combined into a bit of an odour – but otherwise…. meh…it’s not a problem… My partner is also a very furry guy and he smells fine too.

And if it’s ALL about hygiene, why is okay for men to have body hair? Because body hair allegedly masculine and smooth shaven is feminine, so body hair is is unfeminine. Nope. I am female. Hair grows on my body.  Ipso Facto the hair that grows on my body is female hair. How much more feminine do you want it to be?

Actually, who cares what you want it to be? It’s my body. If YOU don’t think that body hair is attractive on a woman – tough titties! (or… tough pitties…) Women don’t exist for your viewing pleasure. What you want to see makes no difference to whether or not someone else should shave, pluck or forcibly rip hair out by the follicles with hot wax. Nobody – and I mean NOBODY – is obliged to adhere to your preferences.

That’s not to say you can’t have preferences. I love it when my partner has short, neat, trimmed beard. The sweet spot between “gives me a pash-rash” and “I feel like I’m eating his hair when we make out”. I also like the look of it trimmed. But if he shaves it all off – or it grows out longer – I don’t lose my shit over it. I don’t start screaming “ERMERGERD IT’S GROSS! Growing a beard is a disgusting trend. Get yourself back to the bathroom and trim that off.”  

Nope. I say nothing. His face. His hair. His choice.

I think he’d prefer I shave my legs and armpits regularly – but – hey, we don’t always get what we want. (Though whenever I do shave my legs I’ll prop my leg up on his desk and say “LOOK I SHAVED MY LEGS!” … because I’m nice like that…)

When it comes to what lessons I’d want my children to learn about body hair – simply that it’s their body and it’s up to them what they do with it. It’s not for anyone else to decide for them – or for them to decide for anyone else.

If you’re still not sure how this works, I think this little info-graphic clears it all up nicely:

my-body2

 

About Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central Australia. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner.

She has a background in early childhood education, but right now is content to be a stay at home mum.

She is passionate about birthing rights, breastfeeding and mental health. She enjoys crafting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

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4 comments

  1. Exactly. I realised I shave my legs every time I shower (which is not everyday in Tasmanian Winter! *shock*) and it is just habit, one of the things I do in a certain order everytime I shower. I haven’t thought about doing otherwise! you are spot on with the “femininity” of body hair. I think people who are outraged by armpits are also not really thinking about it, or other things in depth, and just enjoy getting outraged by things that either have nothing to do with them or they don’t really understand!

    • Fair enough! When it’s cold I resist getting in the shower and once I’m in I don’t want to leave it. Ever. I used to shave my body hair most days and I kind of enjoyed the ritual of it, but it’s totally optional.

  2. Exactly. I realised I shave my legs every time I shower (which is not everyday in Tasmanian Winter! *shock*) and it is just habit, one of the things I do in a certain order everytime I shower. I haven’t thought about doing otherwise! you are spot on with the “femininity” of body hair. I think people who are outraged by armpits are also not really thinking about it, or other things in depth, and just enjoy getting outraged by things that either have nothing to do with them or they don’t really understand!

  3. Fair enough! When it’s cold I resist getting in the shower and once I’m in I don’t want to leave it. Ever. I used to shave my body hair most days and I kind of enjoyed the ritual of it, but it’s totally optional.