Hairy armpit? Who cares?
Why do I shave? Because my older sister told me to.
Why is it that when I look at my hairy armpits, my first response is to say "Yuck, I need to shave"? My earliest shaving memory comes from when I was around 12 years old. I was getting ready one morning when my older sister came into the bathroom and noticed that I was starting to grow some underarm hair. Her response was "Looks like it's time for you to start shaving." Her word was gold to me. If she said it was time for me to start shaving, then I needed to get a razor ASAP. Fifteen years later, I've had enough. I hate shaving. It's time-consuming and expensive, and who ever said there's anything wrong with hair? Oh yeah. My sister...and the advertisers.
Whose notion of beauty? The advertisers'!
A little history of hair removal
According to Cecil Adams at The Straight Dope, with help from a scholarly article by Christine Hope titled Caucasian Female Body Hair and American Culture, the ad pictured at right was the first to show a woman's naked underarms and was the beginning of a campaign by marketers to convince women that underarm hair is unsightly. It came out around the same time sleeveless dresses were becoming popular, in 1915.
Leg shaving gained popularity during WWII. Adams speculates that it may have had something to do with a pin-up of Betty Grable. "Showing off one's legs became a patriotic act," says Adams. Since women were already convinced that underarm hair is unwanted, it wasn't much of a stretch to convince them that leg hair is unattractive.
Rail against the standard
Why are we letting the makers of hair-removal products convince us that there is something wrong with having body hair? Of course they are going to tell us that--they want us to buy their products!
We've become so conditioned by advertisements to think that today's standard of beauty is normal that we are shocked when celebrites show up in public with body hair. Try it: do a Google image search of "celebrity armpit hair" and you will see beautiful women like Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore and Beyonce Knowles pictured with a bit of underarm hair and being ridiculed for it. Mirror.co.uk, a British newpaper website, has this to say about Beyonce's underarm hair: "Seemingly unaware of the hairy situation, she waved to horrified fans at the opening of Cadillac Records."
I think it's time to fight back. Women, stop letting the advertisers convince you of what is beautiful just so you'll buy their products. You know what is beautiful? You are. You in all your natural glory. That's what I'm telling myself when I see my hairy armpits and legs. I squash the "Yuck.." thought in its tracks and instead think "I am beautiful just the way I am." It might take a little while, but I think soon I'll grow attached to all my hair in more than just a physical way.
Stina Ann (author) from Los Angeles, CA on September 04, 2017:
Thank you for the new comments, folks! Glad to see this post still has a life and that new eyes are seeing it.
Camille Harris from SF Bay Area on September 02, 2017:
YES! I hope more women read this, Stina Ann. I started - and stopped - shaving my legs at 13. No one seems to notice or care that my legs have hair on them. In fact, most people I mention this to are surprised there's anything there. Shaving really is unnecessary for most of us, and I hope women feel empowered to decide if it's really right for them. Articles like this help normalize something that isn't abnormal in the first place. Thanks for sharing.
Regine on August 30, 2017:
As you might know shave g especially in Germany did not become popular until just recently.
my mom never shaved nor did I until I came here in 1989.
Raising children the right way is essential of course, but what is the right way? I taught my boys and my grandson that we are all individuals with different minds and different desires/needs. Cosmopolitan thinking has no place when raising a child. Maybe they are strong and will sustain the urges to shave when they grow up.
almorr on July 27, 2012:
Well done Stina Ann, I am glad you have vowed NEVER to shave under your arms again. My wife has never shaved, waxed, cut or trimmed her under arm hair since they started to grow when she was about 11. She just does not understand why women do that, like you she wants just to stay the way nature intended. The only shaving equipment in our house is for me to shave my face. I think it is also very sexy, when I have intimate closeness with her, I love to gently pull and caress the hairs under her arms, its so sexy doing that, it prolongs our lovemaking. She is not ashamed to wear tank tops and sleeveless dresses during the summer or when we go to weddings or important occasions. When women shave under their arms, it leaves a black sore, if they are light haired, this won't show, but otherwise I agree that it should be left alone.
Unfortunately the majority of women do shave under their arms, its all to do with the razor companies saying that shaving is grooming, but all they want is money.
hairyjazmin on February 27, 2011:
Just a little info I posted on my blog about hair, shaving, deoderents and dangers...I hope you enjoy
You know, I have never given alot of thought to why women really should not shave...Like I posted before, I love it, and my hubby loves it...But I have been doing lots and lots of reading on it, and some of the things I found are very shocking to me...For one, Armpit hair, truly don't make you smell worse (I don't wear deodernt) nore does it make you sweat more...Up to about 7 years ago, I used to shave on and off, I, nore my hubby noticed any diff with or with out hair.
Cancers are on an increase from deodernts...Just one site about it
Now with the shaving cream, most use the ingredients:
Ingredients of shaving cream
A standard shaving cream contains approximately
1.Stearic acid (8.2%)-- It is a fatty acid used as an emollient and as an agent to help keep other ingredients intact in a formulation. It is considered an irritant to the skin and can be readily absorbed by the skin.
2.Triethanolamine (3.7%)-- It has been identified as a skin or sense organ toxin.
5.polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate (6%)-- This has also been identified as a suspected skin or sense organ toxin. It has been given a rating of terible by "The Green Media Toolshed, Suspected Skin or Sense Organ Toxicants".
7.Fragrance -- There is currently no requirement to disclose fragrance components used in consumer products. A listing of nearly 3,000 compounds used by the fragrance industry indicates that approximately one third of the compounds are known allergens or respiratory irritants
This was found at
Now, what about the razor you may ask...I will not use creams or anything else to shave, then I should be ok, correct?
Something I found on a waxing site...It is funny how they promote waxing of the armpits, but give you this warning as well...
Underarm hair protects the skin from dirt and bacteria, but it serves to protect the substance toxin from outside the body. And, armpit hair also protects the breast
In short, Not only is the hair sexy, beautiful, womenly, but great to touch, but is also there for a reason...
When you remove it, you open up little sores, let in things that harm your body, and just don't look good (at least in my eyes)
I hope you all have a great and wonderful time!!!!
your hairy mistress
Stina Ann (author) from Los Angeles, CA on January 28, 2011:
Thanks for your story, Fran, and for the link! That is an awesome photo.
fran on January 27, 2011:
I grew up in the tail end of the "hippy era" and none of my friends shaved when we were teens. But slowly over the years most of them have succumbed to societal pressure and shave their under arms - but not me!
I tried it once in my twenties and hated it. Then, a few years ago when my daughter became a teen, she started shaving and begged me to, also. So I did a few times - hated it all over again and stopped.
My husband hates to shave, too & has a full beard! We are a hariy pair, but I agree with you Stina Ann - it should be a choice, not mandatory. The advertisers and the razor blade companies have done a good brainwashing job on our culture and unfortunately it is spreading around the world, thanks to instant media and the idolization of American style.
It's going to be a tough convention to break, but I am glad there are other women out there who are breaking it! For inspiration, I like to look at Stieglitz' amazing photos of Georgia O'Keefe with her unshaven underarms, totally normal in their era.
Check one out at:
Stina Ann (author) from Los Angeles, CA on January 04, 2011:
By the way, everyone, my armpit hair is even longer now and I am very happy with my decision never to shave again.
Stina Ann (author) from Los Angeles, CA on January 04, 2011:
Thanks for your input, Andy. I wouldn't go quite that far--every woman should be able to choose what she wants to do with her body. The problem, I think, is in thinking that one MUST shave and not being able to determine why that is because one is so influenced by societal pressures.
Andy on December 26, 2010:
I wish drugstores required a doctor's signature before they would sell razors to women. If I were king, razors for women would be banned. No seriously, you look gorgeous with your natural underarms. Please don't change a thing!
Stina Ann (author) from Los Angeles, CA on December 23, 2010:
Thanks for the comments, dhj and Charles!
Charles on December 22, 2010:
I think hairy armpits are the sexiest ;) screw the haters and shaving companies
dhj on November 30, 2010:
Nice work... I admire women with armpit hair too.... They are natural and sexy.... Keep it up...
Stina Ann (author) from Los Angeles, CA on December 09, 2009:
Beautiful artwork, Fabrice! Thanks for the comment. Glad you find it sexy, fast 12. And to Rachael, good for you, too! I don't think it's true that shaving causes hair to be much darker or thicker, so I would encourage to just let it grow!
Fabrice Martin on December 06, 2009:
Personnaly I think hairy armpits are more naturals. I live in France and practice painting.
When I paint live model I always ask them not to shave before the pose, I think It looks more natural.
Here are my artworks : http://www.fabricemartin.fr
Continue not shaving !
fast 12 on September 24, 2009:
your hairy armpits is very sexy indeed. Its a real turn-on for me and a lot of other guys who are afraid to speak up. Let it grow girl, its all natural and um um sexxxy.
Rachael on September 01, 2009:
Good for you! I have recently decided to do the same. I've been a hard and fast shaver since I was 13, and at 15 I thought I'd like to see what it was like not to shave and stopped, but my aunt noticed and seemed repulsed. My immediate reaction was to start shaving again. But not I'm done for good now at age 18. My boyfriend consents and I think other men (and women) can just get over it. I personally find that there is something very erotic about natural, unabashed feminine beauty.
Years of shaving has thickened my hair a little and made it darker, so to "reverse" that I'm going to use home made sugar wax and do my legs and underarms the next 3-5 times it grows out to thin and lighten the hair to look as if I'd never started shaving. But after that, no hair removal for me!
jay on August 05, 2009:
It looks good that way.. all natural.
Stina Ann (author) from Los Angeles, CA on July 22, 2009:
Thanks for the comments, both of you! I love the idea of a hairy armpits festival in Brazil! If you organize it, I'll do my best to come. :)
email@example.com on July 22, 2009:
good for you and all that feel this way. Im out in brasil putting together a book project tthat tries to show whats dehind this attitude and of spirit ..any one have adeas..?In Brazil many girls would like to make a statement but ar scared for possibly beinh ridiculled. Maybe you all could help:First South Anerica hairy arpits festival in BRASIL Anyone? ANdre
Eddie on June 15, 2009:
Good for you! You're a very pretty woman and your underarm hair makes you look natural, mature, and VERY sexy. Not all us guys like the shaved "Barbie Girl" look and I am definitely one of them. When I see a woman with hair under her arms it tells me she is intelligent, secure, and confident within herself and doesn't worry what others think. Congratulations on your decision and I really hope that you stick to it. If you want to get back to me with a reply my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org