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Memeday: The cruel misandry of the unshaven female armpit

pattismith
Patti Smith doesn’t care what you think of her armpits

Misogynistic men tend to have a rather possessive attitude towards women’s bodies. They often grow quite angry when women deviate from the standards of beauty that these men think they should conform to — by doing everything from gaining weight to getting tattoos and piercings.

It’s as though they believe that women’s bodies don’t really belong to women at all, but to the world’s (heterosexual) men. By “ruining” their looks, these women aren’t just making the straight men of the world sad in their pants; they’re damaging something that these men feel belongs to them.

You may recall the racist PUA Heartiste’s recent complaints that the world’s white women weren’t “exercising good stewardship of their Golden Gashes,” by allowing themselves to get fat and/or sleep with black men. “Stewardship,” is an interesting choice of words here, as the term usually applies to those who take care of a resource that belongs to someone else, or to society as a whole. In other words. all your vagina are belong to us.

Misogynistic men rarely put it quite so baldly, instead preferring to simply attack those women who don’t pay proper obeisance to their notions of what is and isn’t attractive. A lot of this animus is directed at fat women. But it’s also directed at women who break the rules of femininity in more deliberate ways.

Like not shaving their armpits. Some women don’t shave because they don’t really care; some because they’re sick of razor bun; and some because they see it as a small rebellion against conventional femininity — and a way to show themselves and/or the world at large that their bodies are theirs. Regardless of the reasons, misogynists see the unshaven female armpit as an assault on men.

Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

armpit1

 

Yes, that’s right, this mememaker thinks that the best way to stand up for all the men who are allegedly being shamed by feminists for not liking armpit hair … is by shaming women with armpit hair.

And no, dudes, you are not required to like armpit hair on women.

Here’s another meme that also tries to play up the phony “double standard” issue.

armpit2

Shamed for being a neckbeard? I wonder what that’s like.

These guys also have something of an animus towards hair on any other part of a women besides her scalp and possibly that secret place:

hairy

Here’s a sentence that has never been uttered by a feminist ever except perhaps in befuddlement after seeing this meme: “Look at that asshole forcing his man beard on my eyes damn shitlord.”

There is no feminist campaign against beards or beardy dudes. Some feminist women like them; some don’t, because that’s how the world works. Different people find different things attractive, and people who aren’t assholes don’t go around attacking those who don’t appeal to them as if these unattractive-to-them people are being unattractive to them out of spite.

Several years ago, feminist YouTube sex educator Laci Green made a similar point, writing on her blog that

body hair is a matter of personal preference! it’s not a matter of “boys do this and girls do this”, and it’s supermega uncool for people to body police those who have a different preference than they do. pffff. fuzzy or hairless, you’re a friggin babe either way.

Alongside this mini-manifesto, she posted this picture, revealing a small puff of hair under one of her arms:

lacibody

Naturally, the Great Internet Lady Hate Squad decided that they did need to police her body, or at least her body hair:

laciarmpit

If women who don’t shave their legs or armpits are seen as poor stewards of their bodies, which really don’t belong to them, then men who don’t stand up against this terrible misandering are traitors to their gender.

manginasbelike

That fellow looks awfully familiar, possibly because it’s me. The quote isn’t anything I actually ever said; up until this post I don’t think I’ve ever spoken out on this particular issue, largely because it’s really none of my damn business what women do with their armpits. (Though in the interest of full disclosure I will add that I don’t really care one way or the other.)

Here’s the most revealing armpit hair meme of them all:

selfish

Yep, she’s apparently being “selfish” by denying the men of the world a view of her armpit that’s not obstructed by hair.

Dudes, if you’re that interested in seeing shaved armpits, go shave your own, and take a day off from work so you can spend the day staring at it in the mirror.

You know who else doesn’t like women with hairy armpits (in general) and this feminist with hairy armpits (in particular)? White supremacists.

femnat

What a weird coincidence, huh?

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dust bunny
dust bunny
4 years ago

@ Skiriki

Thanks for the tip! I will immediately start making flower hats for all the rest of my friends, too. For their protection, and the future of the nation.

Kevin
Kevin
4 years ago

Sometimes I wonder how much richer hairdressers would be if women had beards. Cheri Littlebottoms of Roundworld unite !

Skiriki
Skiriki
4 years ago

dust bunny:
Seriously, it is ridiculous, but it really works. I think it is a part of “respectability policy/who is OK to beat up because they are troublemakers” — that is, if the anti-bigotry protesters were some fierce ass-kickers clad in leather black, ripped clothes, stomping boots etc, but no, just people dressed… like… that, in… flowers. It would look… bad, wouldn’t it?

And yuck, what if they gave a flower and someone took a press photo of it? Horrible! Terrible face loss!

😀

Neuro
Neuro
4 years ago

Strawman

Neuro
Neuro
4 years ago

Animus is directed at fat men too.

Although being fair, there are biological reasons why people find things attractive – body hair not being one of those biological things, but general health and fitness are obviously survival advantages for mating.

Not that you should need to share what you don’t find attractive with people you don’t find attractive. If someone wants to know what you think of them sexually, they’ll probably ask.

Bryce
Bryce
4 years ago

Meanwhile men’s hairy backs and butt cheeks get a free pass.

katz
4 years ago

Although being fair, there are biological reasons why people find things attractive – body hair not being one of those biological things, but general health and fitness are obviously survival advantages for mating.

It takes a certain chutzpah to make this assertion on a post that you yourself admit is a counterexample.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

Does Neuro mean that “general health and fitness” = being skinny? Because that’s definitely not always been the ideal everywhere.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

@skiriki

after Sweden lost yet another war

Heyyy. No need to rub it in. :p

It’s interesting even today to see how Finnish immigrants and their descendants in some cases have a special relation to immigrants from other parts of the world. Because of segregation I have the impression that, if this can be said in a non-offensive way, Finns have been viewed as almost Swedes but not quite, in some neighborhoods, being the whitest and superficially most Swedish looking immigrant group.

I was thinking of this recently because I heard this line from the Pato Pooh song “13”: “jag var ute hela dagen ute ända in i natten/ inga suedis i vår trakt, bara finnar som acne”

Dalillama
4 years ago

@Moocow

Growing up in France but living in America, there’s this bizzare stereotype that French women all have hairy arm-pits. I have no idea where the hell that comes from, are french women too feminist-y?.

No, it’s because a)~50 years ago (I know the stereotype is at least that old) it wasn’t as common for European women to shave as it was for American women, and once Americans have hold of a stereotype, they won’t ever let go of it and b) for some reason Americans consider France to be the epitome of ‘Europeanness’. I’m not sure why.

SFCH

Me: “Do The Troubles ring a bell at all?”

For that matter, there were Fenian groups here in the States that did various kinds of violence, including at least one attempt to invade Canada.

somebody
somebody
4 years ago

lol I can’t help but imagine how these MRA’s would react if they knew about nipple hair on women…

Last year, for a few months I grew my armpit hair. My sons (aged 6 and 8) were kind of freaked out by it at first. I think being at an age where social conventions are important to them due to kids at school made them feel uneasy about breaking conventions.

Anyway, I decided to dye it and let my boys choose what colour. Tom chose red for my right pit, Cody chose blue for my left armpit. After that they thought it was so cool that I had pit hair. We had a great conversation about how people can look however they want to and it’s not our business. Tom decided that when he grows pit hair he’ll dye it. Cody says he’ll shave his.

So not only did I commit misandry by growing my pit hair, I’m raising sons who understand that women can have hair and tattoos and whatever they want. Double misandry!!

That is a lovely story! Thank you for sharing it with us. It’s amazing the things kids to pick up on even at a young age.

Skiriki
Skiriki
4 years ago

Imaginary Petal:

Heyyy. No need to rub it in. :p

Well I can birch-whisk it in sauna, if that’s better? 😉

Because of segregation I have the impression that, if this can be said in a non-offensive way, Finns have been viewed as almost Swedes but not quite, in some neighborhoods, being the whitest and superficially most Swedish looking immigrant group.

Depends on where and when; at one point (during the second big migration wave in 19th century and early 20th) Finns were regarded as bottom scum in America, for example. Although this article is in Finnish, it contains English-language newspaper clippings that should speak for themselves.

So… yeah. What we need as a nation is a heaping helping of empathy injection.

I was thinking of this recently because I heard this line from the Pato Pooh song “13”: “jag var ute hela dagen ute ända in i natten/ inga suedis i vår trakt, bara finnar som acne”

…that just reminds me of Jörn Donner’s Swedish ad from 1980s or 1970s, for acne cream and you can guess what it said.

Neuro
Neuro
4 years ago

I meant general health and fitness is not having too much, or too little body fat, getting regular exercise and eating well. I don’t think that requires too much analysis. Although it’s worth qualifying that some body fat is protective of fatality during disease, and some is required to produce estrogen for pregnancy – so the typical ripped dude, and skinny chick promoted isn’t the actual health ideal.

Also, whomever implied it was off topic, actually fat was mentioned in the post. Just pointing out that these things (attraction) are partly biological, partly social (like most things). And again, not that people need uninvited commentary on how attractive they are to others (plus it varies quite a bit).

Human sexuality is a weird abstraction. It’s much simpler for animals, it’s almost enviable.

Neuro
Neuro
4 years ago

As an aside, isn’t it interesting that hair, has become taboo for men and women?

I mean, for quite awhile before now, beards were uncool. And the image still largely promoted is the body hairless man. Public hair is trimmed, and shaved.

Women have it worse. But there is a _general_ sense in which people are so disgusted by our monkey/animal/blood and guts bodies, or our mortality, or animal instincts or something to the degree our society has to not only cover our bodies up with clothes to hide our genitals, but to shave, pluck and remove all signs of body hair.

We can’t fart, burp etc.

It’s psychologically very weird. Why are we afraid of our bodies? IDK, might be a deeper question.

VioletBeauregarde
VioletBeauregarde
4 years ago

@Hambeast: Seriously! If Trump the Rump wins, I will wear all black (for mourning) throughout his term.

TheRoseHipster
TheRoseHipster
4 years ago

It seems exceptionally counterproductive to me that the bearded dude picture they chose is literally a picture of a male model. Seems rather an own goal.

I’m nonbinary, but generally read as a woman, and haven’t shaved my armpits for years because I think pitfluff is very cute. I do shave my legs regularly, though. Because it shows off my many large tattoos there better, which may well negate any approval for shaved legs.

As for body hair in general: my own preferences are generally that whatever makes someone happy and feel good about themselves is clearly the most attractive choice. Soft fuzz to pet? Yes! Super smooth? Yes! Any combination, that may or may not change? Yes! But I’m also not some kind of weird baby who still believes every other human exists for the sole purpose of pleasing me, unlike MRAs.

Proffie Galore
Proffie Galore
4 years ago

MRAs who dislike women’s body hair must be really into menopausal women because we get much less hair. On the other hand, please don’t suggest that. One benefit of menopause is no longer having to deal with propositions from men on power trips.

Supernova
Supernova
4 years ago

Jesus Christ… The tiniest patch of blond armpit hair is too much for them.

Moocow
4 years ago

@Dalillama

I see, funny how the 1950s-60s are so influential like that

James
James
4 years ago

What does ‘reading as a woman’ mean? That doesn’t make immediate sense to me, and it would be nice to know what that is.

James
James
4 years ago

Also, did anyone bring the torches?

Dalillama
4 years ago

@James
It means that others are likely to assume based on one’s appearance that one is female.

TheRoseHipster
TheRoseHipster
4 years ago

@James:
What Dalillama said.

Freemage
Freemage
4 years ago

Neuro
March 26, 2016 at 9:37 pm

Strawman

I’ll play–Scarecrow!

Wait, you mean you didn’t want to play a word-association game? This was an attempt at commentary on this column? Well, that’s just very silly, given that a ‘strawman’ argument is one based on a false rephrasing of one’s opposition. It involves varying proportions of whole-cloth invention and cherry-picking, the art of taking a quote out of context in order to make it come across differently than it actually was intended. It is so called because, much like a man made of straw, it constitutes an easy target for counter-attack, unlike a real opponent.

It does not consist of quotes, made in full context of their uttering. These are memes made by actual MRAs, posted on their websites and social media accounts. Memes are, by definition, their own context–that’s the whole point of a meme. There is nothing in this post that remotely invents or twists the statements being made; if you feel otherwise, please feel free to post your evidence to same.

Or you can just reply, “Tin Man!” and we can continue a nice game.

occasional reader
occasional reader
4 years ago

Hello.

Well, let mansplain the evolution reason. You are going to see, it is quite easy.
As you know, back in the times, the men were hunting the mammoth.
Mammoth is hairy.
So, in order for the men to not confound mammoths and women, women have to shave their body parts except for the head because mammoths do not have curly sexy hair on the head, so that can not be a confusion point.
In others words : hairy = mammoth ; not hairy = woman.
QED

Well, that does not mean that both are not prey for men. Just a way to differenciate them.

But MRA are lucky, because i doubt the ladybots they are calling with all their wishes are going to have hair in place they do not want to.

Have a nice day.

(NB : just in case, i precise that the “demonstration” has not to be taken seriously)

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@occasional reader
I enjoy your comments. You have a subtle humor.

Tragedy of the Commas
Tragedy of the Commas
4 years ago

The women’s armpit hair/men’s beard meme is straight up saying that by not finding all beards attractive, women are being misandrists. What a desperate attempt at a “gotcha”.

Telling women that they need/must shave to appease the real owners of their bodies, or forever be doomed to being unattractive, as these meme makers do is not the same thing as individual women expressing an opinion that they don’t like beards on men. If the armpit hair “issue” was just about wanting to be OK with a preference, they’d simply date women who shave their pits and be done with it. Not shame women who have armpit hair.

The anger here is over women being able to have preferences for men that aren’t them.

Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
4 years ago

I like to keep my legs and armpits smooth. It’s mostly personal preference, although I also tend to get cysts around my chest and armpits and feel that less hair makes it easier to watch for cysts. However, I must say that on the few occasions I didn’t have time to get to my legs, no one even noticed. I’m OK with men having beards, but I much prefer the neatly-trimmed variety over the Duck Dynasty-style variety. Both are roughly the same: NBD, just personal preference, very few (decent, non-MRA) people care either way and even fewer feel the need to comment on it.

ColeYote: Don Trump Jr. from your first pic is actually kinda hot! I feel bad saying that, though, since dear old Dad’s such a douche. Or I feel kinda bad for Don and his siblings for being related to the douche. Or maybe a little bit of both.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
The Trump I feel most sorry for is Ivanka because her awful, awful dad behaves so inappropriately toward her. I guess that she goes along to get along.

I also feel sorry for Ivana because she said in her book that her awful, awful husband raped her. After he threatened her, she took it back. But I believe that she told the truth the first time.

I also feel sorry for anyone who’s ever crossed paths with this awful, awful man.

And anyone who’s ever seen this awful, awful “presidential candidate” on TV.

Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
4 years ago

I also feel sorry for anyone who’s ever crossed paths with this awful, awful man.

And anyone who’s ever seen this awful, awful “presidential candidate” on TV.

I wholeheartedly agree, Kat.

AsAboveSoBelow
AsAboveSoBelow
4 years ago

Late to this particular party, but Patti Smith is one of the most beautiful women ever. In person, her eyes are stars.

Fabian Prewett
Fabian Prewett
4 years ago

@Tragedy of the Commas….Yeah, they think of ‘women’ as one, homogenous group (probably because they don’t interact with many). If one woman doesn’t like beards, she clearly speaks for every woman on the planet. But the difference between men with beards and women with armpit hair is that men with beards don’t get harassed on the internet by masses of women complaining about his lack of ‘Stewardship’.

Shaving armpits is so ingrained I’m pretty sure we do it on autopilot. I’m non-binary, and I was doing it myself. A few months ago, my armpits were really sore from shaving and I’d had an allergic reaction to my deodorant. I was sitting in the shower (I’m disabled, so I have to sit), one arm over my head and razor in hand, psyching myself up because I knew it was going to hurt when I thought “WTF??!!?” Seriously, wtf was I doing? I’m not in a sexual relationship (my choice, I’m in too much pain, not from my armpits lol) and it’s the middle of winter. No one was even going to see them, so why did I feel so compelled?

I thought “F__ this!” and put the razor down. I don’t know what I’ll do in the summer, but at least I gave my skin a chance to heal. There might be advantages to not shaving though as it appears to be a very effective MRA repellant 😉

Fabian Prewett
Fabian Prewett
4 years ago

@Moocow, @Dalillama

I don’t know about the US, but I definitely remember the attitude in the UK in the 80’s. The boys at my school were horrified that my French exchange student didn’t shave under her arms. The only other woman they’d ever seen who didn’t shave was the Nena of ’99 Red Balloons’ fame. So they called her ‘Nena’. I didn’t have the heart to tell her why and her English was pretty bad. So I told her (in French) that Nena was beautiful (she was, and all the boys were attracted to her in spite of the armpit hair), so it must be a compliment. When they sang, ’99 Red Balloons’ as an attempt to shame her, she smiled at them. I think (I sincerely hope), that in the end it became an affectionate nickname. But it certainly stuck that French and German women didn’t shave their underarms.

I’d forgotten all about this incident until my memory was prompted today. Now I think about it, they used music to bully a lot. I had ‘Centrefold’ sung at me for 2 years. This was because I apparently looked like one particular centrefold model, not because I’d flashed anyone. Half the time they didn’t bother with the lyrics, it was just, “Na na na na na na”. Fortunately I just found it mildly irritating, but I bet some of them grew up to be first generation MRA’s 🙁 (They’d be between 46 and 50 years old now)

Thomas Andrews
Thomas Andrews
3 years ago

Reading all the mano-grams on what women should exalt, leaves me very pained at the best of times. Perhaps in better times…(LOL)