But it’s not just celebrities embracing a more natural look. Recent statistics show a growing number of millennials foregoing their razors. Between 2013 and 2016, 18 percent of women between the ages of 16 and 24 opted to keep their armpit hair, and the numbers on leg-shaving are dropping, too.
Hairy underarms is a look that’s defiant and, for some, sexy. It flips the bird to the dutiful ritual of maintaining flawless armpits like women have done for generations. Body hair removal dates back to the Stone Age era, peaking during Egyptian times and the early 1900s through the 1950s.
But having armpit hair is not just a skin-deep trend reserved for celebrities. Chinese feminist Xiao Meili put an international spotlight on armpit hair when she started an underarm hair competition on the microblogging site Weibo. The end result saw dozens of Chinese women submitting selfies of the hair beneath their arms.
“Women should have the right to decide how to deal with their bodies, including small details like armpit hair,” Xiao explained to CNN. “You can choose to shave it, but you shouldn’t be forced to do it under the pressure of stereotypes.”
What’s the Point of Armpit Hair?
Let’s acknowledge the obvious: armpit hair grows for a reason. It offers a natural, protective barrier by covering the parts of your body that contain vital arteries. Even though it doesn’t seem like it, armpits are highly erotic, and letting the hair grow “facilitates the release of sex hormones.” Let’s also dispel the idea that underarm hair is synonymous with stinkiness. As long as you keep your armpits clean, an abundance of bacteria will not grow and cause odor.
If armpit hair is harmless, and is actually good for our bodies, then why are women taught to shave it? It’s time to reconsider this traditional beauty routine.
Whether choosing to keep armpit hair as a quiet revolution or a natural aphrodisiac, young women today are embracing their natural bodies, just as was seen during the Women’s Movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s and in the same way celebrities like Sophia Loren and Barbra Streisand did — and that’s fantastic. Hairy armpits have made a full comeback. It’s time to welcome them as more than just a fleeting trend.
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Image credit: Business Insider