When it comes to No Shave November, women typically don’t have a lot of options. Generally speaking, we do not grow a ton of facial hair, so building up a big ol’ beard isn’t quite something we can hope for. Now, though, we officially have a growing-out month of our own: Armpits4August, wherein participating women do not shave their underarms.
Started in order to raise awareness of and funds to fight Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Armpits4August also encourages women to feel more comfortable with their bodies. From the organizers’ website:
PCOS affects up to 10% of women and is even more prevalent amongst trans* men, yet it’s hardly ever talked about. A common symptom of PCOS can be hirsutism (excessive hair growth), so by growing our body hair we are working towards having pride in our body hair, not shame. Armpits4August will provide a stimulus and safe space to discuss the complicated, emotional, or embarrassing experiences of body hair that women, trans* and non-binary people often have.
“I’m medically classed as a hirsute woman,” founder Sarah Hickmott said in an interview with the Guardian. “I used to absolutely hate my body hair because of bullying. I feel better about it since meeting other feminists.”
Being a female and dealing with bullying, strange looks and even disgust over your body hair is not only stressful, it can lead to serious self esteem issues. While everyone’s situations are different, I am certain there are thousands upon thousands of women out there who hate shaving, hate waxing, hate tweezing, and yet they do it each day regardless because other human beings feel they can criticize their bodies. Though I wish we could all just brush it off as no biggie, it’s a whole lot easier when you know there are many other women standing next to you who believe the same thing, as well as men who are supportive of gender equality and closing the gap between hair standards.
Of course, growing out your underarm hair is not for everyone. Why? Because many people (myself included, though I don’t do a lot of removal elsewhere) find it physically uncomfortable not to shave in that spot. Plenty of others just prefer the aesthetic, or maybe just plain enjoy the hair removal process. When it comes down to it, people like what they like because they like it for them; what matters is that you don’t go around dictating how everybody else’s bodies should be in accordance to your own preferences.