Not since the 1960s and '70s have women felt so free to grow and show armpit hair. After more than two decades in which women were pressured to pluck, shave and get laser hair removal until they were "slick and hairless like newborn seals," as Alison Lynch for the Metro UK put it, it appears women are letting it all hang out on social media. And Weibo, a microblogging site in China, just posted the results of what is probably the world's first "Women's Armpit Hair Competition."
â€” Eric O'Daily (@EricODaily) May 3, 2015
Feminist activist Xiao Meili held the Armpit Hair Competition to protest the pressure that society puts on women to shave. The contest, which started May 26 and ended June 10, offered prizes like condoms, vibrators and female urination devices to the winners, who were judged based on how many likes and shares their photos received on Weibo, reports the Shanghaist.
First place went to a woman who got 202 likes, and who wrote, "When I was still heterosexual, my boyfriend at the time just took it for granted that I would shave my armpits to wear sleeveless T-shirts. Then I shaved all of his underarm hair and let him experience what girls go through."
Me and rio walked 2 miles to an elementary school park ft my cute armpit hair pic.twitter.com/5yfONGSkjB
— Hanna ✘✘ (@GDgirl80) June 6, 2015
In the U.S., celebrities like Miley Cyrus and "Girls" star Jemima Kirke are letting it hang out -- with Cyrus even dying her armpit hair blue.
Hipster men have been sporting beards for years, so perhaps the "Free Armpit Hair" movement is an apt attempt at hair equity. Will it take long for women's hairy pits to go mainstream? Perhaps they already have: Madonna, after all, already has an "Armpit Hair, Don't Care" picture on Instagram.