Should you shave your pits? Our new agony aunt, Auntie Cooler, strokes her beard and answers…
Dear Auntie Cooler,
I’m seeing a lot of armpit hair on tumblr right now. Is it ok for girls to stop shaving and fuzz out? Was there a memo? And what if I have super-dark thick hair and live in Neasden?
An aspiring teen wolf
Dear aspiring teen wolf,
Sometimes you’ve been doing something for so long it’s robotic. Like instagramming sunsets, sighing when you see the ocean or dipping shit in hummus. You can’t remember why you started doing it in the first place, it’s just something you do.
Shaving would be on that list too. It’s a pain, often literally, but if you’re a woman in 2014 (especially a British one), rocking hair-free pits, legs and bikini zone is something you’ve just been doing since your early to mid teens. Without question.
Sure from time to time you’d forget. Lifting your arm while wearing a vest top you’d realise your iron filing-style fuzz was on full view and blush, hoping friends, especially those with benefits, hadn’t noticed. Apologising for your slackness if they did. Busy days, they’d nod. Hear ya.
Even if you did think about the why, cos guys prefer it that way (or we think they do anyway), to sell razors, as we live in a world where arbitrary notions of beauty rule and we’re sheep, and find them all pretty lame, growing it out deliberately, cavegirl/70s hippie-style would never cross your mind.
Or would it? For this summer underarm hair appears to be a thing. Well as you mention it’s on tumblr a lot and I’d add in some parts of London anyway. Whether it’ll go mainstream or stay strictly hipster enclave remains to seen.
Madonna, always one for courting buzz, posted the above fuzz photo this spring.
And eagle-eyed readers will have noticed Arvida Bystrom with full underarm hair in the 'Short Cuts' fashion shoot in the current issue of Cooler. A shot from which nearly made our collage cover in fact, as shown above, before we tuned in to the fact our bosses would hate it that is.
Arvida also recently modelled in a 'Hair Everywhere' shoot for Vice, which as you might imagine fully went off in the comments section.
[part title="It's actually weird how it is such a big deal"]
Cooler fashion contributor Dasha Love (above) isn’t quite sure what the fuss is about:
I think armpit hair is whatever, it's actually weird how it is such a big deal if you think about it because boys have hair and it's fine and also armpit hair does not make a girl look worse or better really overall. I mean if Miranda Kerr had armpit hair I'm sure everyone would still drool over her.
But back to the original question, should you shave your pits? The easy and most obvious answer is only if you want to. Though I’d also say expect some backlash depending on where you live.
Sweeping generalisation alert but Europe’s always been more relaxed about that kind of thing. But back in Britain whether the suburbs or in fact anywhere other than east London would be as down with your down is less of a cert. And something tells me this trend, if it even is one, won’t be going the way of beards, craft beer and good coffee and lighting up the mainstream or appearing in a youthful brand ad campaign anytime soon.
Side point: Can you image any of the surf brands doing it for example? Gidget’s head would full on explode. It would be so cool and fully in fitting with the non-conformity credentials they love to trade on but it would never happen though.
[part title="Meanwhile in China"]
Though girls in China have been posting hairy armpit selfies on twitter as part of a competition run by Weibo (as the Daily Mail reported, not linking obviously) so props to Weibo for that.
It would also be dumb to think there won’t be a reaction from friends and lovers if you play hairy. You might be cool with that. That might be want you want, and hell we’re always into mixing shit up, especially when it comes to questioning the cultural norms that make women behave in a certain way for a predominantly (perceived at least) male gaze but it’s worth thinking about and probably not for easy-lifers. Unless you’re lucky enough to live somewhere super-progressive or plan to only show that version of yourself online.
But if you've taken that on board and you're still game then go for it. As ever it's helpful to quote Teen Wolf (original version) in such situations: "You're not a monster, you're a werewolf like me…"
What do you guys think? Do you still shave your arm pits? Would you ever not? If not why? If you don't how does that go down where you live? Tell us below the line.
And have you got a question for Auntie Cooler? Message us on facebook and we’ll pass them on.