People are up in arms - in a happy way - over an unexpected beauty craze: armpit-hair dyeing. Women already cut back on shaving, proudly flaunting their natural body hair; even many famous women don't shave. These "Free The Pits" advocates take the movement a step further, though, by adding color to their underarm hair.
The idea behind the practice is the same as the one for dyeing head hair: a new color creates a different overall look. But is there more to it? Really, why do people dye their armpit hair?
First, remember smooth, hairless armpits are largely an American invention, and a relatively new one. Women have only been shaving their pits for about 100 years, mainly in the United States. Despite the Pit Pride movement, though, clean-shaven armpits are the norm - and drawing further attention to this area may seem counterintuitive. Why dye your armpit hair, generating more notice?
Whether a political act or just something fun to do, the answers vary for everyone who chooses this unique look. So, let's explore the reasons people dye their armpit hair, and why it's become a buzzworthy beauty trend.
Many people who dye their armpit hair see the practice as an act of political resistance. Armpits remain one of the (many) parts of a woman's body policed by modern fashion and beauty standards. And bucking the trend of hairless pits marks a step towards rejecting the larger trend of conforming to traditional American ideas of beauty.
For many women, though, the choice to dye their pits may not begin that way. As Dr. Breanne Fahs, the Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University, told The New York Times:
Probably most women don't say, "I'm dyeing my armpit hair as a direct act of political resistance." But nevertheless it becomes that, because it really highlights the presence of the hair and the presence of this otherwise sort of silent or erased aspect of women's bodies.
Some choose dyed armpit hair just because it's unexpected. "When I see myself naked in the mirror, I laugh every time, because I think it’s hilarious and kind of awesome," one fan of the trend explained.
Dyeing your pits to bring a little joy into your life? Sounds as good a reason as any to indulge in this unorthodox practice.
One of the primary reasons people opt for outrageously colored pits: they like the way it looks. The majority of folks who choose this new beauty regimen don't pick a shade of brown or blonde. As Today put it, they select "funky colors like bright green and neon pink." It might be a fashion statement; it might be bold. But, first and foremost, it's kinda punk.
Though not the first to do it, Miley Cyrus gets credit with thrusting dyed armpit hair into the spotlight. In 2015, the provocative chanteuse sported pink pit hair for all the world to see. Cyrus also posted a series of Instagram images showing how she did it. But in typical internet style, the anti-armpit-hair brigade piled on in droves. "Decency is dead," one headline read.