Armpit hair on women is natural and should not be shamed

Illustration by Cara Seccafien

Illustration by Cara Seccafien

Women’s armpits are none of your business

By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor

I will admit, I have hairy armpits. I refuse to shave my armpits for two reasons: One, because I am protesting in my own way against the beauty standards and societal norms that are placed upon women’s bodies, and two, I am too damn lazy to shave them. Whether you choose to shave your underarm hair—or any body hair—that is your own choice, but do not shame women for whatever they decide to do with their body.

Some people claim armpit hair on women is “unnatural,” which I say is nonsense. If armpit hair—or any body hair for that matter—on women isn’t natural, then why does it grow there? Why do women have body hair at all?

The truth is, women only started shaving their body and underarm hair for the sake of aesthetics because of the popular razor company Gillette. At the time, their only customers were men and they wanted to increase their revenue, so they targeted an untapped demographic for shaving: Women. They started marketing shaving towards women as a necessity and advertising armpit hair as undesirable. Their first women’s razor was called “Milady Décolleté Gillette” (cringy, I know,) and advertised underarm hair “an embarrassing personal problem,” and said that “a feature of good dressing and good grooming is to keep the underarm white and smooth.” They preyed on women’s vulnerability and fear of loneliness to sell razors. Fast forward 100 years later, society still considers armpit hair on women as gross and unnatural, all because of a genius, but diabolical, marketing scheme.

It is a ridiculous double standard that women are expected to shave their body hair and men are not. Don’t even get me started on the price of women’s razors compared to men’s. It can also be harmful to women’s body image when they internalize these notions that no body hair equals beauty. In high school, and even as early as elementary school, all my friends were shaving their armpits, legs and even their arms regularly. It was an embarrassment if you were ever caught with even a little a bit of hair that was not on your head. It personally made me feel disgusting and embarrassed if I noticed hair on my armpits because I internalized the idea that boys would only find me attractive if I had no body hair.

What people do with their armpit hair is their choice. Some women like shaving their underarms and it makes them feel more attractive, while other women feel the opposite. Whether they choose to shave or not shave is their business and no one else’s. Women should be judged on their character, not the hair on their armpits. After all, it’s just hair.

 

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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