First there was the selfie. Then, “petfies” for Man’s best friend. And lately, “armpit selfies” have been posted by women all over China. Proudly displaying their unshaven armpits, these “armpit selfies” (armfies? selfpits??) are taken by women from all parts of China and have been posted on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site.
But…why? The “armpit selfies” are part of an online contest hosted by Weibo itself. Simply and brutally honest in its name, the “Girls not plucking armpit hair” contest encourages women in China to submit a picture of their unshaven armpits – face optional. Although there is absolutely no prize offered, hundreds of women have submitted their photos.
While most submissions to the armfie/selfpit contest are what you’d expect to see at such a one, some women have entered amusing photos of their own hair poking through their sleeves. The trend has swept the nation, with the competition’s page amassing a whopping 28 million views and counting.
Body hair activism seems to be taking off in recent years. While the contest is the first of its kind in China, Tumblrs like The Hairy Legs Club are immensely popular and have been gaining positive feedback for encouraging women to question the stigma surrounding female body hair.
In fact, even many celebrities have been flaunting some fuzz – since the days of 1999 Julia Roberts. Still, the female body hair movement didn’t really pick up till earlier this year, when Our Lady Madonna decided to grow out her underarm hair and was so proud of it that she posted it on her Instagram. #longhairdontcare
It’s also amazing how many celebrities have been caught flashing some fluff on the red carpet or while strolling the streets of Hollywood. Britney Spears, Drew Barrymore, and Lily Allen, just to name a few. Even Queen Bey herself has been snapped with unshaven underarms! We wonder: did she wake up like that?
The contest is aimed at promoting a healthy body image and societal acceptance of body hair – something which most women today are taught to think of as taboo or disgusting. A wide variety of epilators, shaving creams, razor blades, waxing services (ow!) – in other words, a landslide of pro-hair removal products – targeted at women are readily available to enforce this mentality.
With this competition, Weibo hopes to push a new message – that body hair is okay.
Despite the weird and awkward way it was delivered, it’s still undeniably a great message, one that we should teach women everywhere – love your body and have a healthy self image! After all, women should feel empowered with or without their hairy armpits. At the same time, we can’t help but wonder – why not leg hair selfies?