• Tue, Apr 8 - 11:30 am ET

These Photos Of Women With Armpit Hair Prove That There’s More Than One Way To Be Beautiful

natural beauty arm pit hair photos Ben Hopper is a London-based photographer who shot a series called “Natural Beauty,” which featured conventionally beautiful female models with exposed armpit hair. The series is jarring and plays off of the deeply ingrained idea that women should be free of all body hair in order to maintain their beauty, and the fact that the body hair doesn’t diminish their attractiveness is supposed to challenge our notions otherwise. It’s quite beautiful and minimal, and overall effective. natural beauty arm pit hair I don’t entirely understand our collective revulsion about arm pit hair on women, but I admitted earlier this year that I wasn’t entirely immune. It’s a completely internalized prejudice based on an arbitrary standard, and it’s bizarre that someone somewhere decided that women had to remove their body parts in order to be attractive. But it went a step further–it’s not that body hair is unattractive, we’re told that it’s disgusting, unclean, masculine, and horrifying.

natural beauty armpit hair photosThat idea is pretty limiting in the grand scheme of things, given that in reality people find a diverse variety of qualities attractive, and not everyone goes for the hairless thing. Hopper himself said that “as [he] matured as a person and an artist, [he] realized [he] liked [armpit hair]. It can be a beautiful look.” I know people of all genders who are attracted to women who don’t remove every ounce of their body hair, and that spans all sexualities, including straight dudes who’ve been told their whole lives to seek out waxed, hair-free women. The problem with having one beauty norm is that not every person on earth fits that mold or finds that mold attractive, even if they’ve been told they’re supposed to.

Hopper wants to be clear that he’s not taking a stand against hair removal if that’s what you want to do with your body.

“I don’t want to say that I want women to start growing their armpit hair. I just think that it’s a possibility and people shouldn’t dismiss it. I’d like people to just question [beauty standards], the whole thing.”

The key here is that all people should feel entitled to do whatever they chose with their bodies, and that beauty norms are stupid wastes of time that don’t actually serve a purpose. I think these photos are all beautiful (and actually really do fit the beauty norm with the exception of the body hair), and I only wish there were more representations of all forms of natural beauty more widely visible.

Photos: Ben Hopper

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  • Kaitlin Reilly

    It’s great to increase the visibility of different kinds of beauty, and I agree — these photos are really beautiful.

  • Lindsey Conklin

    definitely an interesting way to redefine beauty. it’s so strange to me that we remove hair in the first place, it’s there because it has a purpose and yet, I too am guilty of it. While this won’t make me want to grow armpit hair, I am amazed at the beauty of these black and white images!

  • Michelle

    i agree that everyone should be able to do what they feel is best for them. i have no issues growing leg hair now and then, but i can’t do armpit hair, i find it uncomfortable :/

  • J_Doe5686

    I didn’t shave my armpits for 3 months And I liked it. It was “organically beautiful” it was another kind of beauty society don’t think it’s beautiful on women. I agree with the photographer, I wouldn’t stop shaving all together but it’s a possible new “look.”

  • ScarletRegina

    I remember when Paula Cole was a rising star but then completely tanked because at the Grammy’s everyone saw that she didn’t shave her armpits. She was everyone’s musical darling until *gasp* she had armpit hair! Our society is very weird.

  • scallywag

    But if Ben Hopper is taking a stand on what counts for natural beauty why not also use models who are not thin and attractive as the ones we see in the fashion world, the very world that Ben Hopper wishes to challenge?

    Hair is a personal choice and our reaction to it differs from person to person but a continuity of perpetrating the thin gamine model as the owner of ‘natural beauty’ is deceptive…. and not really answering the question Hopper asks but capitulating.

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2014/04/ben-hopper-natural-beauty-hairy-armpits-make-skinny-girls-hot/

    • Julia Sonenshein

      Yep, we’re on the same page here.

  • Benita

    These photos do nothing for me, I still find armpit hair on men and women gross.

  • Serina

    To each their own… Personally I wouldn’t even think of going ‘natural’

  • FemelleChevalier

    Uhmmm, men and women historically partook in hair removals/grooming for the sake of hygiene. Probably the most extreme that I’ve heard of are ancient Egyptian royalties. They shave off every hair, including the head hair, and wore wigs. Men and women.

    This is why there is ingrained revulsion. Then it became cosmetic as time goes on, with only women partaking due to it being a luxury and a time-consuming practice at the time. For example, soldiers can’t be arsed to waste time, so most don’t bother. Only the upper echelons have the luxury.

    Although now, to each their own, I guess.

  • AmazingE

    If I could I would print these photos out and plaster them all over the place. I don’t shave and I’m sick to death of being shamed for it. I will admit that I remove a small patch that’s on my chin, but it’s my choice to do so, just like it’s my choice to not remove the hair I have elsewhere. I don’t necessarily mind the shitty looks I get from strangers, but I’d give anything to make the criticism I get from not just my family but my husband on the subject of my body hair to just stop. Most of the time I can shrug it off, but sometimes it really hurts because to me, these are the people who are supposed to love me just the way I am. Maybe it’s a symptom of a larger issue within me, maybe it’s not. Either way it’s a touchy subject with me.