Tub Thoughts

Pit Hair

5 months ago by

Pit Hair

I thought that by now the subject of body hair was out of the question. Whether you grow yourself a bush or get a regular brazilian, you’re the master of your domain.

As I was scrolling through Instagram (and by the way somebody should ban this saying from any piece of self-respecting journalism, but I’m no journalist so…), I stumbled upon an image of an elegantly-dressed model with her one arm lifted showing a little fluffy bush under her pit. It was a post by Vogue Ukraine.

See, I’m from Ukraine, and I know that every cultural movement that started in the West took about ten years to get to my country. That’s why the age gap of 14 years with my husband makes little to no difference in how we experienced our childhood and teens. The shows that ran in the US in the 80s came to our shores only in the mid to late 90s. Same with music, fashion and, needless to say, social movements. We were too busy getting rid of authoritarian Soviets to be thinking of fighting for women’s rights.

Although our culture is rich with anecdotes of wife-fearing husbands and tough women who stand with pride, it has very little effect on how men see the role of a woman. First, she has to be pretty. Wait, no. She’s gotta be beautiful at least (!), gorgeous preferably. No matter how much of a good-looking man he is himself, that is a requirement. No wonder why a Russian woman (broad title for every woman from a post-Soviet hemisphere) is a long-standing meme of a fur-and-10-inch-heels blonde sex doll with the most ear-wrenching accent. And women buy into that, there’s one Russian internet famous saying that young women love to quote: “Mommy is pretty, daddy is working”.

Second, she has to be domestic, but still work. Now, that’s something that is a bit different from most other extremely patriarchal cultures. She needs to work, otherwise he won’t respect her. Third, an old tale that every woman reading this knows, she has to be smart, but not too smart. God forbid she embarreses a man with her wit.

This list can go on for awhile. To spare you time spent reading it, I encourage you to spend $1.99 on iTunes and see an episode of “The States of Undress” with Hailey Gates about Russia. Trust me, it’s money well spent.

N-myajHU

So, back to that Instagram post. A picture of a more than beautiful, gorgeous model, with a tiny armpit bush. On Vogue Ukraine’s page. I knew right then, the comment section would be a thrill! And just like that, I clicked on “See more comments” and fell down the maddening hole full of angry men and women calling it “ugly”, “anti-hygienic” and a “lice forest”. And the most maddening of all was a comment written by a young woman, who offered us observers to think, how would a man, any man, treat a woman who doesn’t care about herself compared to how this X man would treat a squeaky clean and bald lady? “It’s all about how you project your image into society” she added.

Oh, how big was my lust for a fight. All my rough-neighborhood-girl anger was about to burst at that very moment. I don’t know where the courage to pace myself came from, but I swiftly scrolled away, stopping by for a second to tap “Save” under this post. Not to return after I’ve calculated a perfect comeback to all the women-haters, but to admire a bold image, a challenge-maker, with Vogue Ukraine beaming above it.

As I’m writing this, my own thin bush is well-hidden inside my bathrobe. Not that I grew it intentionally, I just got lazy, forgot about it, and then, one day dressing up looked in a mirror and thought to myself “it actually doesn’t look that bad”. It’s not monstrous, it’s not gross and dirty, and it surely does smell good after the small-batch brooklyn-made all-natural soap I’ve just used. In all realness, it’s just a few dozen thin dark hairs under my arm.

13 comments

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  • So beautifully written Bogdana!

  • Thank you <3

  • Is the regular here in Sedona, AZ. No one blinks an eye at body hair. We are a pretty chill place like that.

    Remember when Julia Roberts showed her unshaved art pits at an award show? It made world news. Yet on styling calls, I used to see it all of time and was a no biggie.

    I am all for freeing the pit! Nice article thank you! I love your writing style.

  • Hey Meg,

    Thanks for the reply. Love it that there are places where it’s so normal!

    And yess, I remember that incident with Roberts! What a crazy story out of nothing :)

  • Hi, a woman from a post-soviet hemosphere here :). It was interesting to read this article and i can’t help commenting. I personally think that we should leave freedom of choice to each and every woman. If she wants to be looking gorgeous for her man or for herself let her do it. I don’t want to sound anti-feminist here but i do think that whatever changes we want to make in society we shouldn’t impose them. I rather prefer to see it as an offered alternative. And a cliche about “russian woman” is just a cliche. It’s same as saying all americans are obese and eat fast food, which is not true, right?
    I see it more helpful to talk about importance of being self-confident, have your opinion, speak it up and embrace femininity in you. I love it how violette_fr manifests feminism and talks about it in this article: http://insideoutwomen.com/feed/experts/makeup-artist-violette-fr
    <3 Mila

  • Hey Mila,

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to reply!

    Yep, I totally agree with you that it’s everyone’s choice! And every woman should feel free to decide what being a woman means to her. And underarm hair does not reflect what being a woman means, in my opinion. It’s just a human body doing its job.

    Don’t hesitate to share your opinion with us. Always up for a converse in the comments:)

    Big hug xx

  • LOVE pit hair!! don’t let others dictate one’s look!
    hair does NOT mean unclean–what are these stupid commenting people thinking?!?

  • Hahah, I see your rage Johanna! That’s how I felt when I saw those comments.
    Glad we have so many like-minded people here <3

  • I had breast cancer last year and after a thankfully brief course of chemotherapy I watched with delight as my pit hair was the first to start growing back (while my eyelashes continued to fall out). I haven’t yet shaved or waxed it and this is the first time in my adult life that I’ve ever let it grow beyond a short stubble. I’m not into it aesthetically, but I can’t help but love the fuzz becuase it proves that my body is surviving.

  • Kristen M Gibson April, 19 2019, 10:36

    That is beautiful.

  • I find it so upsetting that there are still (many) men that think it’s dirty or unhygienic when they, themselves, have the exact same body hair! that’s some serious brainwashing

  • Great timing. I just watched Helen Mirren’s first movie “Age of Consent”. It was so refreshing to see a young woman with such a completely natural body in every respect. Including body hair. And it wasn’t an issue at all in the film. So easy to forget how a woman’s body is subjected to the whims of fashion as though it were a piece of cloth owned by someone else.

  • Kristen M Gibson April, 19 2019, 10:38 / Reply

    I like the term, “under arm”… not pit. It sounds unfeminine. I’m laughing to myself…. but It just does.

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