Over the past few weeks, celebrities like Miley Cyrus and everyday women around the world are making a statement – with their armpits. Long armpit hair, often dyed vibrant colors, has now become synonymous with feminism. Any trend, especially one with a message behind it, creates polarizing viewpoints. And while I value the right we have to voice our opinions, the divides created by them can often lead us away from our end goals. So, let’s take a look at the two extremes:
“Don’t shave your armpits! Be a feminist! Fight against the patriarchy!”
I do not have to grow my armpit hair out and dye it bright pink to be a feminist. I wholeheartedly believe in the fight for equal pay and I also enjoy clean-shaven pits. There is no reason anyone has to choose one over the other. While I appreciate and understand the symbolism behind this trend, I do not have to participate in it to believe in the same ideals behind the message. In fact, I would even propose if anyone makes a change, men should take the plunge and shave their armpits.
“I’m not a feminist. They are all crazy girls who want me to have smelly hairy armpits.”
You cannot put all feminists under the same label. With anything in life, every person has a different way of interpreting ideologies. Saying you are not a feminist because you don’t want to grow out your armpit hair is a cop out. The definition of feminism is straightforward: the advocacy of women‘s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. If you want those rights, then you are a feminist. It’s that simple. Some women may decide to advocate for this by growing out their armpit hair, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find other unique ways to promote the same rights.
The large gap between these two viewpoints brings us to the biggest problem – how can we achieve our common goals if we allow situations like this to divide us? Everyone learns about the importance of finding the middle ground, but we often let trivial differences blind us from working together. At the end of the day, growing your armpit hair out or shaving it is just a matter of how you want to express yourself.
By respecting both sides of the spectrum, hopefully we can solve the big questions together. Instead of sparking debates on pit hair, we should be using the trend to address the big picture. I can think of a few questions that are just a bit more important, like, why in the year 2015, are women still only earning 77 cents to the men’s dollar? And why is the United States one of only two nations in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave?
Featured Image via unsplash