A little while ago, I posted a picture of the few small hairs that are growing on my right breast (there’s one on my left too, but it’s not as interesting). Lately I’ve realized that they’ve actually grown quite long so I figured it’s worth revisiting that same breast to see the growth process.
Now, as I stated before, I have usually plucked those out because I thought that it was horrible, unruly and downright manly for a woman to grow hair on her breasts, but I’ve realized that it’s actually really goddamn normal. The amount of women who have emailed me since I posted that picture stating that they ALSO thought they were total weirdos for growing a couple of hairs on their chest has certainly made me realize that I am not alone in this and that there’s no reason in the world I should pluck them out or be embarrassed of them. Because you know what? I love my breasts. Stray hairs, big areolae and stretch marks included.
As a result of Nerve.com writing an article about me (which I loved, thank you), I have recently had the unique and wonderful opportunity to do something which most people are probably not very fond of: watch yourself be ripped apart by the internet. Now the article itself was great and seemed to find no fault in me, but the people who commented on the article had a lot of other things to say.
A link to the article also found its way on to Reddit (among other places, I’m sure) and was promptly met with an onslaught of comments about me, my body, and most often - my armpit hair. Now, the internet is well known for “trolls” and negativity from its users, so it was no surprise to me when I started scrolling through comments and reading things about how ugly, stupid and disgusting I was (which is all news to me, I had no idea!). After reading comment after comment, it honestly got pretty boring. Yes, there are some people who have defended me and said kind words about my project and my body (thank you), but the overwhelming negativity was kind of baffling.
It made me realize something. The world in which my project lives right now consists mostly of Tumblr. The people who follow me either like ME or my body hair, or some combination of the two. When they re-blog my images, they share them with their followers who tend to like similar things to them, or they wouldn’t be following. So my images get passed from person to person but they all have a common unifier between them. They are passed around in a safe circle of people who (usually) have more positive things to say than negative. Watching my project come face to face with the internet as a whole, and not a “I like this, so my followers like this, and their followers like this,” type of path was eye-opening.
A little while ago, I made a mash up of some of the negative comments I’ve received since the onset of this project, but now I know that those were a mere whisper in the wind compared to the shouting, screaming hoards once the internet as a whole saw what I was doing. And you know what? The most common complaint, by FAR was that I had armpit hair. Armpit hair that was not even the point of the article and had nothing to do with the Reality of Nude Photos post or the Breast Pictures post I made. My armpit hair is superfluous in both of those and has nothing at all to do with them. But because I have it in the pictures, the internet chose that one, (in my opinion) irrelevant area to fixate upon.
Here are some of the precious snippets of text directed at my armpits.
Somebody forgot to airbrush out all that nasty armpit hair.
Armpit hair is disgusting.
I can’t stop seeing the armpit hair.
Ugh. Those armpits.
I wish she would demonstrate shaving her pits.
Somehow, my armpits have become so famous that they are now widely hated on the internet. The reasons behind the hate are varied, I’m sure, as most people don’t elaborate they just claim that armpit hair on women is “disgusting” and “gross”, but don’t really say why they feel that way. It seems that the most common argument is that it’s unhygienic somehow, which baffles me because to the best of my knowledge, having armpit hair does not make me dirtier, more prone to disease or unsanitary. In fact it doesn’t change a thing about my armpits except for the fact that they have hair. I don’t have any more or less odor, my clothing hasn’t changed, my deodorant remains the same, I still take showers and I have not contracted any weird sorts of armpit diseases. Perhaps the only argument that could be made is that the hair might fall out on occasion resulting in loose hairs ending up on my clothes or in my bed. But if that were a sign of something “disgusting”, what about all of the hairs on my head?! Those falls out much more often than my armpit hair does. And also, I wash my head-hair less frequently than my armpits so by those standards, my HEAD is unsanitary and my armpits are actually cleaner!
In my opinion, is comes down to the fact that a lot of people really don’t know WHY they think something is gross, but they decide that it is, and decide to tell the world how they feel. Which is fine, people can decide whatever they want, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the rest of the world has to decide the same thing. If you’ve been personally scarred by armpit hair or it caused some horrible thing in your life to happen, I’m very sorry that my article has triggered those memories for you and I have no issue with your hatred. But if armpit hair has never done anything mean to you and you hate it simply because you have decided to hate it or because it’s something that’s unfamiliar to you and you’re attacking it for no reason, that just seems a little bit strange to me.
Yes, I have armpit hair. It’s clean, it’s hygienic, it smells good (especially right now because I soaped it up to get that picture!), it is not a big, scary monster that needs to be slaughtered. It’s just hair that happens to live in my armpits. And you know what? It lives in *everyone’s armpits, if they let it. (*the exceptions being young children, those who suffer from alopecia universalis and a few other groups of people, I’m sure) The sheer amount of people who have jumped on the armpit-hate-wagon quite honestly bores me at this point and also just makes me sad for them.
I wish I could set up a little viewing room some day where I let people become exposed to armpit hair in small doses, the way that doctors sometimes treat patients for various phobias. They could open up a little window for 30 seconds and stare at it and then walk away, disgusted. The next week, they would come back and look at it for a full minute before leaving, only slightly disgusted this time. The following week, they would come back and sit for two minutes, noticing the hair for only the first few seconds before starting to look at the rest of the body and its nuances. Upon leaving they wouldn’t remember the armpit hair, but the body they had looked at. The next week, they’d forget it was there at all and it would be the most normal thing in the world to see and they’d spend 5 minutes alone with it, absorbing and appreciating the form and shape of the body in front of them and leave feeling no hatred or disgust for what they’d seen. That would be a wonderful little project.