Ladies and gentlemen of this hallowed establishment. It appears that my good friend Terdoh and I are at an impasse regarding this most peculiar new trend. Women, most especially in the United States, have started dyeing their armpit hair.
I know what you’re thinking, and no, it’s not a typo. You read that right. Women have started dyeing the hair in their armpits. I’m sure at this point, any reasonable person would ask, “Why l would anyone do a thing like this?” The only thing I can say is, “Why the hell not?”
Think about it. Most people who object to this sort of trend usually do so on the basis of its deviation from traditional or perhaps conventional norms of beauty and appearance. If we have to be honest with ourselves then we can all agree those norms are completely arbitrary and therefore subject to change based on our whims and caprices.
In fact, we see standards of beauty, particularly female beauty, change with each passing generation. In our own neck of the woods, we see it and statements like “Thin is the new orobo,” which is a phrase that has made a prominent appearance in the new web series “Skinny Girl in Transit.” (Side note: I have some thoughts about the premise of this show that will appear in a later post, assuming that I can get my shit together.)
The sentiment highlights changing attitudes about what makes a beautiful woman in the eyes of Young Afropolitans, which is in stark contrast to what older generations of Africans have traditionally found appealing in the female form. In any case, we shall add another chapter to the long chronicled war of the Lepas vs. the Orobos another day, because right now, we are all about armpits.
About the armpits, we have to ask ourselves what is the real problem? Is it the fact that women are growing out their armpit hairs? Or is it more about the fact that they are giving them strange and unusual hues? Or perhaps, it’s a combination of both?
So let’s start with the hair. Hair is one of those food with things that has waxed and waned throughout history. The trend seems to vary significantly with cultural attitudes and dress styles. For example, French women have historically been known to relish their armpit hairs opting for an occasional trim but hardly do they ever commit to a full shave. On the other hand, shaving is becoming more of a trend among younger Chinese women, particularly if they tend to be well off. Older women never really saw a need to shave their armpits, because it was never visible to the public. Traditional Chinese fashion always kept the arms, and consequently the armpits covered. However, since younger generations are more exposed to Western fashion and ideals of beauty, they have begun to embrace it as a way of life.
Do you see how stochastic and arbitrary this all is? One Western culture eschews armpit nudity altogether while a non-Western one has begun to embrace it as way of life.
As for the coloring aspect, I think the visceral reactions are overblown. Sure, if you have darker hair, you’re probably going to have to bleach your hair first before you can dye it. But it’s not like people don’t do that already with the hairs on their heads. More importantly, it’s probably one of the tamer and forms of body modification. We live in a world where people bleach their buttholes (again, you read correctly, BUTTHOLES!!) and my dear friend is wasting his energy on trivial matters.
Also, In case y’all decide to read the article that sparked this debate later, I would like to point out that a lot of women pictured in the article are already sporting tattooes, multiple pierced body parts, and a head of dyed hair. All of this suggests that at least on some level, they’re comfortable with the idea of body modification. Now with that in mind, is anyone really all that surprised to hear that some of them dye their armpits?
In the end, we all do things that others might find to strange and unusual, but often, they are hardly stupid. Usually, they help us express who we are and what we value more fully. When I see these women, I see people who are expressing themselves as funny, and quirky individuals. They strike me as the kinds of people who don’t take themselves unnecessarily seriously and are willing to laugh at themselves for their zany antics. It’s an important lesson that far too few people have learned.
So go ahead and dye your armpits if you so choose. High five strangers in the streets without giving a f***. Hail your taxi proudly (lets face it, you’ll stand out so you might have better chances). Above all, just be your awesomely weird self.
Question: Would you ever dye your armpits?
Image via New York Post