to think we owe it to our DC to let our armpits go feral?

(293 Posts)
ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 10:15:49

When our kids are little, shouldn't they see that women have body hair (and accept it rather than remove it)?
Once they're in their teens, they'll probably see endless full-body-waxed women online, whether we like it or not.
So while they're little and forming their basic impressions of the female body, shouldn't we stop all this bloody depilation? Whether we feel comfortable with it or not, don't we owe it to the younger generation?

Yours faithfully,
Mr Tumnus

youmeatsix Wed 07-Aug-13 10:16:58

no, just no, sorry, you can, but not me TYVM

My son tells me when to shave. I won't be going hairy for my son.

HollyBerryBush Wed 07-Aug-13 10:19:00

Seeing as teenage boys wax under arm now, what have you got to say about that?

Looking at re-runs from the 80's men were very sexy and masculine hirsute - now they are effeminate and wet very metrosexual and smooth

LEMisdisappointed Wed 07-Aug-13 10:19:17

I don't shave my armpits - why would i? because of some social convention? no thanks

ClassyAsALannister Wed 07-Aug-13 10:19:54

I get what you mean. I remember the shock when I saw my grans pits during a swimming session aged 6 or so. I had no idea women could get the hairy under the arms! It is a bit weird & I dislike the way a natural woman's body is 'not natural' to a lot of people but I'm so used to it that I like shaving & would be tempted to do it if I was a bloke to be honest! It just feels nice & I do it for myself rather than others to be honest.

badguider Wed 07-Aug-13 10:20:22

I think that if you do lots of swimming or live somewhere warm where people wear vests then your child will notice that most female armpits are not hairy at a very young age. You will not 'normalise' hairy armpits alone - just invite lots of questions about why YOU are the only one with hair there.
Fine, if you want to leave yourself natural, I see quite a few natural armpits at my yoga studio.. but if you don't like it yourself then I think you'll struggling to 'normalise' it in most situations.

LEMisdisappointed Wed 07-Aug-13 10:20:31

OP - can i just ask, why have you signed your post Mr Tumnus? smile

ClassyAsALannister Wed 07-Aug-13 10:21:04

I'm pretty certain I'd shave my legs if I was a bloke. Or at least want to. It just does feel nice, especially in the summer <weirds herself out> grin

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 10:21:09

HollyBerry, then maybe this applies to dads too

Mr Tumnus is the beardy chap from Narnia.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 10:24:00

He is the creature in Narnia with the legs of a goat. I am going for the same look grin

Lem you are a step ahead of me. I have only just started to be brave enough to stop this malarky.

ClassyAsALannister Wed 07-Aug-13 10:25:32

I am lazy with it though. I do it once a week even though I get 'regrowth' after a day. As I said I do it for me and am not fussed by a bit of stubble. My partner isn't fussed and if he was he wouldn't be my partner...

Nagoo Wed 07-Aug-13 10:25:48

I don't shave frequently enough to maintain the illusion grin there'll be no shocks for my DC smile

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 10:26:07

Ooo, this is a new subject, never heard of this before, lucky old us to be educated by a poster on a subject that has never, ever been discussed. Luckily the OP will know that this is going to end very well with everyone agreeing, nobody's oh being called a paedo or anyone else being branded so thick they have been brainwashed by the media. Good luck and enjoy OP, if you run out of buns I have some popcorn I can chuck. If you run out of fights on this thread, just search for old ones and resurrect those as well.

LEMisdisappointed Wed 07-Aug-13 10:26:17

Then i am Mrs Tumnus smile

ClassyAsALannister Wed 07-Aug-13 10:26:23

Good luck yourself though smile

I'd like to think I could some day!

Fakebook Wed 07-Aug-13 10:26:53

You obviously haven't had a toddler pulling at small armpit and body hairs and giggling have you? Both my children have done/do this. I'd rather shave/wax thanks. You can carry on cultivating your forest though.

LEMisdisappointed Wed 07-Aug-13 10:28:23

theodora - i dont understand your post, at all!! what the actual feck does shaving under ones arms have to do with being a paedo??

See, because i don't shave under my arms, i don't actually have a jungle, more a village green

livinginwonderland Wed 07-Aug-13 10:28:52

I can't stand the feeling of underarm hair, pubic hair or leg haire, so mine will be staying shaved off. DP shaves too so it's not just a woman thing.

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 10:31:15

Well the previous 4 zillion threads started about any type of body hair always end badly with people saying "my oh says only a paedo would like a woman to remove hair" or "I wouldn't remove any hair, I would feel like a 12 year old". This may start about armpits, it will fast work it's way down to vaginas. They always do. With a bit of leg and forearm on the way.
Moustache removal seems to be acceptable though in MN land.

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 10:31:53

As I said, fast descends to pubics, every single time.

I think she posted on the wrong thread Lem

Ok maybe not! grin


theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 10:33:34

Yes, just because I am bored of the self congratulation of either shaving or growing body hair, I posted on the wrong thread.
Not everyone always has to agree with you.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 10:34:17

No Theodora you are absolutely right that we must never discuss anything on which there has been previous discussion.
Please close down MN immediately and inform all politicians.

HollyBerryBush Wed 07-Aug-13 10:34:50

Its quite simple

men = hairy
women = smooth

If the 1970 East European steroid filled shot putter look is one you aspire to, then thats your choice.

MrsMelons Wed 07-Aug-13 10:35:01

I am confused why does it actually matter if children see women who are clean shaven and think that is the norm? I just can't see how it hurts anyone whichever ever way you want to be.

I may be completely missing the point though . . .

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 10:35:29

Obviously not saying that but I have seen some really nasty things said on threads like this. I am allowed to express that, ok?

LadyBryan Wed 07-Aug-13 10:35:46

I shave legs and armpits. I don't do it because of "social convention".

I do it because its more comfortable for me.

My daughter has asked about it. So I told her. When you get older you'll grow some body hair. You might want to remove it, you might want to leave it to grow. Either is perfectly fine.

I think my obligagtions to her are well covered in this department grin

I haven't bothered shaving my arm pits for a little while. Not a conscious decision, but I'm 8M pregnant, still working, trying to finish off all the DIY before DD2 gets here, looking after DD1, and I'm bloody knackered! Those 5 minutes it would take to shave are 5 minutes I could sleep! Anything lower than my armpits is a logistical headache, so I'm hairy and I couldn't give a fuck. Maybe I'll use this thread as an excuse and claim I'm doing it for the good of DD. grin

Flobbadobs Wed 07-Aug-13 10:36:05

Well I do and will carry on doing it. Because I sweat. None of this glowing crap, I sweat like buggery and it literally drips from my armpits if I'm hairy. Plus I have very dark hair on my legs and on the odd almost non existent times I wear a skirt I like to look smooth. Bikini line gets neglected on a regular basis though...
DD's can do what they like when they're old enough. I won't force it on them, just let them know that they can if they choose to or leave it alone.

ClassyAsALannister Wed 07-Aug-13 10:37:02


The rest is personal choice and whilst it may not be my cuppa to shave myself head to toe/be with someone that desires that, that's down to my beliefs, so who am I/anyone else to judge...

MrsMelons Wed 07-Aug-13 10:38:24

Surely it only takes seconds to shave your armpits in the shower? Not that I think you should but I have never spent even 5 minutes removing all my hair!

I am a bit crap with my bikini line in the winter but wax in the summer, definitely not all off though!

LRDYaDumayuShtoTiKrasiviy Wed 07-Aug-13 10:38:43


I have no comment but I really, really want to know how you make armpits 'feral'. Do you have a badger?

Mine just get slightly hairy.

I get rid of armpit hair for comfort. If I have hair there I end up scratching at it and feeling like it's trapped under the bra strap (I know that sounds weird but it feels like that).

piprabbit Wed 07-Aug-13 10:40:35

My hairy bits are managed like New Forest ponies - mostly free to wander where they will, but periodically taken in hand. Neither tame nor feral.

I like to think I'm getting the balance right.

Wellwobbly Wed 07-Aug-13 10:41:55

I had a skiing accident, and in the hospital they had to cut my stuff off.

I was lying there, shivering and terrified, and overriding everything whilst they xrayed my neck to see if I had broken it, was the sure knowledge that I hadn't bothered to shave anywhere for months!

Never again. Its that old Mum warning isn't it, about being run over by the bus and clean knickers, and I got found out!!

No Theo your first post mentioned peado and I didn't think tajt had anything to do with this thread but there is a peado thread ongoing so I had thought you had made a mistake. I realised you hadn't when I saw your second post!

ClassyAsALannister Wed 07-Aug-13 10:42:51

grin @ pipra

I'm similar. I sort of like the feel of having shaved legs/pits but can't be arsed that often and don't want to waste too much valuable bath-time maintaining it

EstelleGetty Wed 07-Aug-13 10:43:07

My mum usually had hairy armpits when I was a child and, I noticed the other day, still does now. I thought that was what everybody did until I got older.

My mum, like me, is a rather dark and hairy lady but unlike me my mum doesn't sweat like a sailor. When I left mine to grow (after watching Betty Blue and thinking Beatrice Dalle looked hot as hell with her hairy pits), it sadly just encouraged the excessive sweating. So it's not for me, but I've still got my big brows and unwaxed bikini line to show my commitment to hairiness (my commitment to being lazy grin).

Each to their own, but I do feel that the social norms which demand that women should be smooth are still far too pervasive and unpleasant.

LRDYaDumayuShtoTiKrasiviy Wed 07-Aug-13 10:43:37


I think that works, pip. So long as you don't get bits of gorse stuck in their manes, fine.

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 10:43:43

I avoid those types of threads. I do think that come wine o'clock this thread will turn ugly. They alwys do.

MrsMelons Wed 07-Aug-13 10:44:39

Wellwobbly - that is scary (the non-shaving not the accident of course grin ) Did you have clean knickers on though?

piprabbit Wed 07-Aug-13 10:45:19

Luckily I don't do much naked galloping through gorse bushes grin.

I am a hair remover. Well when I can be arsed grin

All over hair removal normally for me.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 10:45:56

LRDY grin, feral as in "existing in a natural state" (OED). I would like it if they started foraging though.

ClassyAsALannister Wed 07-Aug-13 10:46:06

I'll no doubt hide this thread by wine o'clock... <shudders at the thought of what it'll look like by then>

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Wed 07-Aug-13 10:46:16

I like hairy women but I don't like to be hairy myself. I don't remove my hair because I like the way it feels, I do it because of social convention. I do a lot of things because of social convention. I used to have a mullet and batwing jumpers, then I had a bob and bootleg jeans. I wouldn't expect my DP to grow a beard to show my ds's that hairy faces are normal so I think I'll continue with my shaving too.

LEMisdisappointed Wed 07-Aug-13 10:47:08

at least you will have marked your place though theo wink

littlemisswise Wed 07-Aug-13 10:52:38

You do what you like, I'll continue to shave my armpits thanks. It takes about 30seconds in the shower and I do it every morning.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 10:52:40

I'd like to make clear that I was certainly not intending on starting up any aggressive posting. And if you're bored by the topic, please don't feel that anyone wants you to get involved anyway. When topics come up again and again, I would argue that it tends to be because they're important and rather complicated.

I happen to find depilation a total PITA, as do many I know, and I genuinely question the reasons we're all doing it. Personal preference is massively influenced by culture, so I don't think that explains it all (though clearly we're all free to do as we wish in the here and now). I really worry a bit about adolescents worrying about their body hair. I worry a lot about cultural perception of women (yes, I know, blah blah) too. I happen to think MN is (or could be) the perfect place to explore this - for those who want to.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 10:55:40

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou - yes. I also do this because of social convention. I find it odd that it's such a relief to hear someone say this.

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 10:58:00

On the contrary, I watch threads like this because I think it is important to report posts that are nasty and offensive and because I don't like someone telling me what to do and then saying ridiculous things if I don't agree. It is little to do with hair and a lot to do with knowing that this will not end well.

Samu2 Wed 07-Aug-13 10:59:48

I get sticky and smelly if I don't shave. I wash them obviously, but I feel like the smell lingers on the hairs more if I need to shave.


So no, I will continue to shave.

My legs? yeah, I will get round to them when they get out of control ;)

ouryve Wed 07-Aug-13 11:00:49

I only shave my pits when the hair is likely to poke out of something I'm wearing and I'm likely to be out in public, but my pits are hairy about 90% of the year. Same with my legs. And I have dark, coarse hair. I never shave or wax my arms and the boys like stroking that hair. I don't leave it all intact for their benefit, though.

SanityClause Wed 07-Aug-13 11:03:07

I don't do it because of social convention - I do it because DH likes it.

He doesn't insist on it, but he likes it. He would still want to have sex with me, even if I was hairy.

I'm not that fussed about what the rest of the world likes. But I do care about what DH likes.

Guerrillacrochet Wed 07-Aug-13 11:03:36

Well it is wine o clock where I am. Hooray! I shave my pits because I sweat, but my ladygarden is a wildly unkempt. A bit like my actual garden. Does it matter?
I do need to shave my toes though. Bilbo in Birkenstocks is not a good look for me.

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 11:04:26

I shave my toes as well. What is the point of toe hair?

squoosh Wed 07-Aug-13 11:08:36

I'm a bit slap dash about hair removal but if my legs or armpits are going to be on show then the hair will most definitely be coming off.

I do admire women who care not a jot as to what people think of their furry underarms but personally I'll continue to shave. I realise this is down to social conditioning, it's naive to say otherwise, but I don't think I'm harming anyone. My body, my choice.

SaucyJack Wed 07-Aug-13 11:09:29

I think I owe it to my daughters to show them that I can choose to do whatever the frick I like with my own body.

Within reason obviously. Much as I'd like to rub it all over Max from The Wanted.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 11:10:37

Well, thank you - I'm heartily amused by all this! Theodora, who on earth is telling you what to do?!

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 11:11:56

There is logic to hairless armpits. Hairy armpits are harder to keep non smelly.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 11:12:03

Yes, squoosh, I agree, individually. It's the collective potential "harm" (term used loosely) I'm concerned about. But basically, yes, I agree.

niminypiminy Wed 07-Aug-13 11:12:16

I don't shave my armpits, and never have.

A story. About 15 years ago, I told a group of young women about the Victorian art critic, John Ruskin, whose marriage was annulled because it wasn't consummated -- Ruskin (who'd looked at a lot of Greek and Roman statues of women) couldn't bear the reality of a woman with armpit and pubic hair.

Fifteen years ago the young women hooted with laughter -- how ridiculous that someone shouldn't be able to stand the sight of female body hair; how utterly laughable that he thought that women's bodies were hairless because that's all he'd seen.

I wonder how that story would go down now?

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 11:12:24

OK, it is AIBU.
Yes you are BU.


YouTheCat Wed 07-Aug-13 11:14:29

If people teach their kids to have respect for others in all their guises, hairy or not, I'd say that is a better way forward.

I really can't say I ever noticed anyone's armpits when I was a kid, ever.

What about make up, hair dye, bras. Shouldn't everything we do, as woman, reflect our natural state?

morethanpotatoprints Wed 07-Aug-13 11:15:59

I do mine once a month because it doesn't look good when its long, but wouldn't do it too often as don't get many anyway.
I do think we are obsessed by being smooth. I don't like waxed or plucked men neither, they look like girls. I like my dh manly, but trimmed. grin

squoosh Wed 07-Aug-13 11:16:54

Niminy I've always felt so sorry for Ruskin's wife. Poor girl, looking forward to her wedding night, probably more than a bit nervous, and her husband screeches and runs at the sight of her hairy undercarriage.

I've never had a bald crotch though and can confirm that most men are just happy to get near a naked vagina. But yes there probably are a few modern specimens who would recoil in horror at pubic hair.

LRDYaDumayuShtoTiKrasiviy Wed 07-Aug-13 11:17:53

Ooh, I did, youthecat.

I remember - my mum was going swimming and some teenage girls were sniggering because she had a bit of hair escaping. It was horrible, actually.

So I think maybe what is more important isn't just how we look, but how we react to other people? Like, I am never going to grow a ladybeard, but I can still tell ignorant twits to fuck off for sniggering at someone else (I'm thinking of that lass in a US high school who had some facial hair but it was part of her religion not to remove it, and she responded with a lot of dignity to being teased).

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 11:18:13

Much better, theordora. I personally would have preferred a calm and reasoned rationale for the conclusion as well, but you can't have everything.

That's a pretty sobering thought, niminypiminy.

LRDYaDumayuShtoTiKrasiviy Wed 07-Aug-13 11:18:47

(Dunno why I felt the need to say that as if it were a new point, sorry! [blush) Was just thinking about the example.)

IsabelleRinging Wed 07-Aug-13 11:21:41

My DM has never shaved her armpits or legs or bikini line. It didn't make me want to be a hairy mama though! Therefore don't think my dd will be much influenced by my hair or lack of it.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 11:22:07

GlaikitFizzog - I think this is a really interesting point. I don't really know. Is a boob job really much different from eye liner? Tatoos? (I don't mean in practical terms). Very difficult issues.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 11:23:55

IsabelleRinging - yes, I might be overstating the influence of parents. It might do the opposite of what's intended! I just thought maybe appropriate early perceptual learning of what women look like might make teenagers less judgmental of body hair.

Supertrooper88 Wed 07-Aug-13 11:23:57

I am becoming more realxed about my hairy pits. There was a time where they were shaved everyday not even a slight shadow of regrowth allowed. Then I started to wax them and had to allow some growth to do that. I do still wax but actually sometimes I go rather longer periods of time between waxing now and sometimes its quite hairy under there.

I would not go on an evening out on a sleeveless top but day to day I dont care and dont care who stares tbh.

Do men owe it to the children to all grow beards then? Because that's what all men naturally look like?

And never cut the hair on our heads? Or colour it? Or wear make up? Or clothes even?

Where do we stop in the name of children 'learning what we look like?'

jamdonut Wed 07-Aug-13 11:28:30

In the summer I shave arm-pits and legs more often,(once a week) but I'm not a slave to it.

In the winter,when everything's covered up, I do it less often.

My DH is not bothered by it in the slightest, but then he is a hairy man,with a moustache and beard.

Caster8 Wed 07-Aug-13 11:30:39

I will carry on shaving mine thanks. Takes all of 5 minutes once a month.
Kids can make their own minds up. Actually they are teens and more. Their choice what they do.

op. Cant your kids make up their own minds when they get there?
But ps,personally I didnt let mine read too many teenage mags/watch an overdose of specific teenagy things/computers kept in living room stuff.
For far more reasons than body hair.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 11:34:05

Starfish - good questions. I'm not sure there are any good answers.

Do people find beard hair "disgusting" in the same way as people (some people) seem to find female body hair?

I shave my pits in summer for personal comfort but don't generallly bother in winter. Same with legs. Pubes never.

I don't make any of these decisions for the good of my DCs, but you do raise a good point, and I do think it's important (to me, anyway) to show that there is nothing shameful about a normal naked body. This is why I don't make a fuss about privacy when changing, showering, etc. They have seen me empty my Mooncup (horrified fascination the first time grin , boringly normal now). I have never really thought about the hair side of things, but I suppose that's part of the same thing.

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 11:43:02

I am not against beards generally but I used to swim in a local pool and every day a man with a very long beard used to swim there. After seeing him in the queue with the remains of many, many meals poking out of it, I did find that particular beard repellent! Especially the eggy floaters in his lane...

HellonHeels Wed 07-Aug-13 11:43:59

I've had hairy legs / armpits in my student days. These days I shave them. My choice. I'd have no time for a man or a woman expressing a view on my choice - it's a MYOB situation.

People should make up their own minds about hair removal. I'm not keen on these types of threads because they tend to degenerate into posters telling other posters what to do or think or end up with different choices being slated for various reasons.

Live and let live, I say. Shave or not shave.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 11:50:58

Bitchyrestingface - yes, my kids were both horrified the first few times they saw a tampon.
Caster8 - yes, I'd hope my kids could make their own minds up, but I think our decisions/preferences are probably heavily influenced by what we see early on. Sounds like you do a good job on the mags/computer stuff. I hope I can do the same, but don't feel massively confident given the availability of various form of technology out of the house.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 11:54:33

Hellonheels - this thread was most definitely not intended to consist of anyone telling anyone else what to do. It's an issue I wonder about (I think it brings up some very important issues), and wanted to spark sensible discussion, largely from a theoretical perspective (but with implications for what I, and maybe others, do). However, perhaps I as OP didn't manage to achieve that.

TheSunTheMoonTheTruth Wed 07-Aug-13 11:55:54

I sometimes shave my armpits, sometimes I don't. I depends less on the influence or impact from or on my children, and more on whether I have a clean blade for my razor. Same with my legs. The children see that I have hair on my legs, they also see that sometimes I shave them off.

happygirl87 Wed 07-Aug-13 11:56:21

Clock thanks for starting this (sincerely!), am watching with interest- DSD (8) asked me why Daddy doesn't shave under his arms, which prompted a chat about how often ladies remove hair and often men don't, but it's fine for people to do what they want. I mentioned that it was sad if anybody felt like they had to do one or the other, and we went online and looked at pics of the Armpits for August campaign, which attempts to normalise hariness, I believe in support of PCOS (as well as presumably in the name of feminism)

Did I do it right?! grin

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 12:12:55

Thanks happygirl smile
I would be very happy if I managed to give such reasonable, thoughtful answers to my kids' questions

minkembernard Wed 07-Aug-13 12:16:37

This may start about armpits, it will fast work it's way down to vaginas. They always do. With a bit of leg and forearm on the way.

way back up there...
if only this post was not about depilationwink and if only they did...<wistful sigh> grin

I thought this was a thread about armpits for august...which I am campaigning to have renamed Oxtober.

Feminine Wed 07-Aug-13 12:24:53

I think its fine to leave it in the winter.

Swimsuits etc...look a little bit odd with sideburns!

Actually so do knickers, but I don't tend to go out and about in just those.

I suppose, that you could give it a go clock and see how things work out?

Parmarella Wed 07-Aug-13 12:29:42

I have shown the DC my stubble ( or well, they pointed an laughed) . I said all women have hair in their pits and bits, and that some (most) shave it off. They were fascinated...for 2 seconds.
(8 and 11)

Still, thought it important to mention.

Parmarella Wed 07-Aug-13 12:30:18


MrsMelons Wed 07-Aug-13 12:33:47

I must be having a really bad day as I am still confused as to why it matters if children growing up think its normal to be hairy/hair free.

I could understand if this was about making sure children have good eating habits and don't get hung up on dieting etc but what harm can it do for teens to start shaving/waxing etc?

Please someone put me out of my misery . . .

HellonHeels Wed 07-Aug-13 12:55:45

I reckon it could be covered by conversations, rather than actual modelling of a particular mode of hairy/non-hairy.

But I don't think children are 'owed' hairy armpits, no. As long as some judgement-free discussion or information is supplied.

I think it's fine to guide young people on important issues - smoking, drinking, exercise etc. Hair removal comes down to personal choice - or it should do.

My mum has hairy armpits, and it didn't make a jot of difference to my desire to depilate as a teen.

She just seemed like an out of touch hippy to me!

pigletmania Wed 07-Aug-13 13:01:33

Errrrrr no thanks, ou can though. I like wearing cami tops in this wether, I really do not want mini bushes under each arm, not nice on men or women!

Caster8 Wed 07-Aug-13 13:09:05

I can see that you are serious about this issue, and are genuinely concerned.
fwiw, I dont think that young persons up to about 8 notice anything much.
I think from about 8 to age 12, family influences still hold sway over peers and outside influences.
After that, bit harder for parents to influence.

phantomnamechanger Wed 07-Aug-13 13:10:41

Mrs Melon - I think it's about whether we teach our children they have a CHOICE and that CHOICE is theirs and theirs alone, and that there is no right or wrong - their decision is "right for them" - so that they do not feel they are somehow a freak or different if they choose not to shave their pits, for example, and are in the minority among their friends. Teen boys may have a perception of what a naked woman looks like from porn - and teen girls should not feel under pressure to "conform" to suit their bloke. That's how I see it anyway.

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 07-Aug-13 13:33:47

Already had this conversation with 5 year old DS - as someone said upthread, they are already surrounded by women with shaved pits, ads on telly for depilation products, so they know what the stereotypes are. He pointed to my hairy armpits and said "only men are supposed to have hair there" to which I replied that women grew hair there too, some chose to shave, some didn't, a bit like beards and moustaches.

Why make a big deal of it? Well, because I want him to grow up thinking it genuinely is a woman's own personal choice which matters, not his opinion on the subject. (And so that when he gets a girlfriend at some stage in his teens - or a boyfriend - hopefully he won't choose according to social pressure about what counts as acceptable in terms of appearance).

And all those who are saying - as usual - that it's a free choice: no it's not, not in a society like ours where there is enormous pressure to conform. Aesthetically I prefer shaven (but that's just the culture in which I'm immersed), from a comfort point of view I find I'm actually sweatier and more uncomfortable when I do shave, but I choose not to shave some of the time just because I'm bloody minded that way and object to the social pressure to do so. But I can tell you, as someone who sometimes goes swimming (shock horror) or wears sleeveless tops with hairy pits, people do feel free to notice and comment.

MrsMelons Wed 07-Aug-13 13:42:25

thanks phantom. I think I can understand its worth a conversation but I certainly won't be growing armpit hair to prove the point, I am fairly open with my dcs and will epilate my underarms or legs in front of my children but they have no real interest in what I am doing (5 & 7 YO boys), I faff around with all sorts of body treatments, lotions etc they pay no attention to me!

Most people surely understand that porn is porn and RL is RL, I am yet to meet a teenager or adult who doesn't TBH. I am inclined to believe it is not that much of an issue and there are worse things teenagers are under pressure to do/not do than a bit of shaving or waxing.

I don't have teenagers yet but was one myself of course and it was part of my daily grooming to shave etc but never felt any pressure at all. I was a dancer so would have looked pretty unpleasant to have armpit hair etc but no one ever told me I should/shouldn't.

ICBINEG Wed 07-Aug-13 13:48:21

I shaved my pits for summer...coz you know.....the peer pressure got to me...blush

but it made me smell more, and sweat more and was generally horrible, so I am really happy to finally be back in my normal state now.

I look fine in a swimsuit with my leg hair and armpit hair....and even if I don't, I am happily married and don't really give a flying toss if either other women or teenage boys don't find it attractive.

I try and avoid DD seeing me pencilling my eyebrows of a isn't about how I is about the fact that people can't tell if I am joking or not if they can't see my eyebrows. I find I can't really function effectively at work if my eyebrows are invisible.

ICBINEG Wed 07-Aug-13 13:52:07

mrsmelons I think attaching massive value to appearance is the problem. Not all our DC are ever going to be lookers. So every time we send the message that 'appearance matters' we hurt them a little.

If Mummy spends a good hour doing her hair, make up, shaving etc. every morning, and Daddy just has a shower and heads out, then what does the daughter watching learn?

That women are valued more on appearance than men? That your value to society is intrinsically tied up in how good you look?

Are either of these messages that you would want to give your daughter?

Or would you rather be telling her "you are fine just as you are, and your value is not based on your appearance".

eccentrica Wed 07-Aug-13 13:57:34

My daughter is nearly 3 and likes to examine my legs. If she thinks they're too hairy she orders me: "Mummy your legs are hairy, go to the bathroom and cut them". Or, after a recent (disastrous) experiment with Nair: "Go and put magic cream on them."

I am not sure this does much for my feminist credentials hmm but at least she understands that I'm not 'naturally' hairless!

I haven't shaved in years. Nothing to do with my kids (stopped before I had them), more to do with not being bothered by it enough to maintain upkeep and far more comfortable not going through the growing stage anymore. My kids have seen it, they aren't particularly interested, but I do hope I model them doing what they find comfortable for them.

MrsMelons Wed 07-Aug-13 14:01:20

Why would you not want to look good though? It is not about being a looker but just taking care of yourself. I cleanse/tone/moisturise every morning and night to look after my skin, I make sure my hair looks neat and tidy and I prefer to wear a small amount of make up every day, I have a lot of meetings at work and like to look reasonably nice. My husband works in an office, he spends longer in the shower than me, he shaves his stubble, mositurises, uses deodourant and puts wax on his hair. I can't really see the difference. Neither of us spend a great deal of time getting ready for work.

I don't think it is a bad message to give out if its in moderation and in the right context. I am not sure the message that it doesn't matter at all is right either, sometimes it does.

I think there is a happy medium, I would expect anyone male or female to take care in their appearance at work (depending on type of job of course) and it is important in some environments as impressions can be important. For instance if someone turned up to an interview for a professional job which involved meeting with high end clients looking like they had just got out of bed then it may not give a great impression. I don't believe you have to be a looker but surely everyone should take pride in themselves, male or female?

Nancy66 Wed 07-Aug-13 14:06:31

People can do what they want - personally, I think there's much more important things to worry about re our kids' future than hairy knees and pits.

I shave mine, I prefer it. It doesn't matter if you do or don't.

ICBINEG Wed 07-Aug-13 14:10:14


I don't think it is a bad message to give out if its in moderation and in the right context.

No it wouldn't be a bad thing in moderation. But is it? Have you switched on a TV recently? Have you seen the abuse of Mary Beard because she 'doesn't look good enough for TV no matter her intellectual qualifications'? Have you seen women retired from TV due to age while the men go on? Have you seen the zillions of adverts that link success and happiness with appearance? The adverts that scream at the top of their voices from every TV, radio, website, billboard, shop front that you MUST improve your appearance or be left behind?

Why do you think so many teenage girls have body anxiety issues if the message that you should look good is being given moderately and in context of it being less important than your other values as a person?

The only place in the whole world that your daughter might get the impression that they could be worth something outside of their appearance is in your home.

IMO that means you need to do something special to counteract the massively biased environment outside the home. Like showing by example that your time is more valuable than can be spent on primping yourself for others viewing pleasure.

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 07-Aug-13 14:13:48

Funnily enough, DS seems able to separate out hairiness and looking good. He helped me choose my work outfit this morning so I'd "look pretty" (I confess I vetoed the floral skirt with striped top combo). He likes to look good too (slightly odd aesthetic from my perspective - mostly cartoon character tops, not my thing, but it keeps him happy). It's about accepting that people can come in all sorts of different looks and that's ok. Clothes clean, not ripped or smelly, body not smelly. That'll do fine (admittedly I don't work in a customer facing job).

FWIW I don't see the point of makeup, not for everyday use. All young women look beautiful because they're young, makeup or not. Honestly, you do, trust me, you just won't realise till you're my age. At nearly 50, I avoid it because I'm terrified of looking like Barbara Cartland.

Habbibu Wed 07-Aug-13 14:17:47

Dunno - maybe shaving will lead to rebellious teenage hairiness? Yy, I shave because that's the cultural norm for me - sure, I prefer the look of shaved legs and pits, but I can't see how that isn't influenced by the society I've grown up in. I'm not convinced I'm any weaker and more suggestible than anyone else, but it's like food - had I grown up in, say, Cambodia, I might think that a spider was a tasty snack, whereas, as a brit, I find the v idea horrible.

ICBINEG Wed 07-Aug-13 14:18:00

Gosh, you know shop assistants? people with seriously customer facing jobs? I'll go out of my way to interact with the one that doesn't look like an explosion in a make up factory.

This is a problem in Boots because they all do....all of them...I really do wonder if they have to put ALL of the make up on each know something from every tube...coz that's what they look like.

LazyFaire Wed 07-Aug-13 14:20:43

I don't shave religiously. DS has seen hairy pits and smooth pits.

I only shave my legs if I want to wear a skirt, then only the bottom half. I hadn't done it regularly for a few years until this summer as we didn't have the weather for skirts!

If he ever asks (Or I ever have a daughter who asks) I will tell him the truth, which is that I personally get smelly and find excess hair (particulalrly nether regions but probably would leave that out!) quite uncomfortable, but if I didn't I wouldn't bother, and that some women like to keep it and some don't and both are totally normal.

LeBFG Wed 07-Aug-13 14:25:37

It's such a shame really. That we all feel pressured into doing these things. Sorry but I disbelieve those who say they shave for themselves and no one else. It's a cultural norm. One where women shave pits and legs and men don't (well, some men may now be included, I don't know). My DP and his peers would never NEVER shave pits and legs. Totally unheard of. And all my UK living peers always ALWAYS shave pits and legs. So is it likely they are doing so out of pure free choice? I hardly think so.

I remember the pressue to shave my legs at secondary school. I must have been the last person in the group to finally get the razor out at about 13yo. As much as I disliked it, I crumbled. I'm happy now at 37 I can waltz around all hairy without giving a fig what anyone else thinks (almost. I still get the razor if I go swimming - v rare, or wear a posh frock - rarer still).

I'm pleased not to live in a TOWIE culture. I'm pleased my DC aren't being brought up in one either. I don't, however unfortuntely, think my hairy paradings will have any effect on how they view hairiness.

IsisOhIsis Wed 07-Aug-13 14:28:25

I don't shave my armpits, occasionally shave the bottom half of my legs (depending on how I feel. I happily wear a skirt with hairy or smooth legs) and just do a trim and neaten up of my bits grin

I love my hairy armpits! Do not give a flying fuck what others do with their hair but I do wish other felt the same about mine and there wasn't something of an expectation that I would remove it.

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 14:29:56

And there we are. We all feel pressured. Because we are all sheep. When I don't shave my left big toe, the curly hair gets caught in my flip flop and hurts. No social pressure. I cant use tampons and was very hairy, i didnt like the clotty tangle, it wasn't comfortable and smelled. No social pressure there either.

Lavidaenrosa Wed 07-Aug-13 14:37:47

No. I will shave my armpits because I like it that way. It looks better.

Mrsrobertduvall Wed 07-Aug-13 14:45:16

I hate body hair, including on men.
I have had my legs/bikini line lasered, so never have to wax/shave again.

I have never had armpit hair, so that's not an issue.

Dd is 16 and epilates her legs sporadically.

slightlysoupstained Wed 07-Aug-13 14:46:13

My mother didn't depilate, or wear make-up, or primp.

I take the piprabbit pony approach for the most part - somewhere between tame & feral.

I was in the shower at the swimming pool a few years ago, when a couple of little faces peeked under the cubicle wall. "Mummy that lady has HAIRY LEGS!" So I think I've done my bit (just glad I hadn't got around to taking my swimming costume off by that point grin ).

TBH I don't see what's so offensive about suggesting that it's easier to do something with cultural approval? Doesn't mean you wouldn't have done it anyway, but it certainly tends to put a big heavy thumb on the scale.

LeBFG Wed 07-Aug-13 14:50:14

I don't care what others do though, all I'm saying is pitsnlegs shaving is a cultural norm. Like men not wearing skirts. Or wearing makeup. Or not eating pets. You could say people who shave are sheep. Or people who don't shave are ever so slightly sociopathic (I mean, a bit insenstive to societal norms). <shrug>. They're just names though.

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 15:00:39

In the early 80s my mum could have been thought of as a sheep. After leaving my dad she embraced feminism, in a champagne type of way. Body hair, greenham common picnics, boiler suits etc. She had a ball but it didn't influence me apart from wishing that I could bring home a friend without finding her naked being reborn between two sofa cushions..lighthearted,not belittling 80s feminism. It didn't last long.

Habbibu Wed 07-Aug-13 15:17:04

It's not about being sheep. Do you only shave your toes because of your flip flops, or because it seems normal to you to have unhairy toes? Do you find the idea of eating insects normal or a bit repellent? Cultural norms are pretty inevitable, and in many ways good, or we'd all just make up or own words, for example. Language is a cultural norm.

NorksAkimbo72 Wed 07-Aug-13 15:24:32

I don't shave because I'm 'supposed' to, I just prefer it. My DD, who is 5 asked when she could start to shave, and I told her if she decided she wanted to, we'd talk about it when she's 12.

What is the big deal? It's hair...some remove it, some don't! Why does it always have to MEAN something?

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 15:25:59

Yes! I don't think anyone would notice a hair on my left toe!

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 15:27:48

I had camel hump for Iftar the other night. It didn't repel me even though i was brought up on oven chips and fish fingers

Habbibu Wed 07-Aug-13 15:27:54

No, I'm sure they wouldn't notice a single hair. If you had very hairy feet, like a man, do you think you'd shave then, even if there was no flip flop issue?

Habbibu Wed 07-Aug-13 15:31:32

Well, I don't think Camel hump would repel me, tbh, but grubs would. And some people are v adventurous wrt food - my point is only that overall people tend to prefer what they find culturally normal; they might be more or less adventurous, but things like disgust or distaste are often cultural (apologies for stating the bleedin obvious).
What is Camel hump like, anyway? Meaty or fatty?

MrsMelons Wed 07-Aug-13 15:41:54

ICBINEG I suppose I meant that it is in moderation in our house IMO but I cannot do anything about what's on TV and we aren't actually talking about appearances in general just hair removal which is generally part of our culture and has been for some time.

I know full well what other influences can do being a recovered bulimic. I am glad I don't have DDs as I would never want them to go through what I have gone through. I guess I think that is far more damaging than feeling you need to shave or wax to fit in which is maybe why I am blase about it and I just don't believe it is particularly damaging.

I don't find my deodorant works particularly well when my armpits go unshaven.

I don't religiously (as in every few days) shave any other parts of my body apart from my armpits for that reason.

OH (male) also shaves his armpits for the same reason. Goodness knows what we're teaching our son shock

theodorakisses Wed 07-Aug-13 15:44:17

Just fat, no meat. Seasoned well and ok, not on a par with my all time favourites but nice enough

Viviennemary Wed 07-Aug-13 15:45:06

I can't stand having underarm hair. Horrible horrible horrible. And the very sight of it makes me ill. grin

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 07-Aug-13 15:52:08

Fancy a date at the local swimming pool, Vivienne Mary? I'll bring the sick bag... wink. Or should that be envy?

Viviennemary Wed 07-Aug-13 15:59:46

I knew I'd get the thumbs down. Still. Sadly DH isn't of the generation that believes in waxing for men. The very thought says he! But I'm very tolerant. grin

justanuthermanicmumsday Wed 07-Aug-13 16:04:50

I think it's social etqiuette in western countries to be completely hair free, and whatever the west does spreads across the world.also i feel beauty industries are constantly feeding us this myth that smooth hair free = beautiful. to me as an Asian woma , its akin to the bull that white skin = beauty and dark skin = ugly.

I remember when I was in labour with my first child all I was thinking was omg I better go do my legs quickly can't let midwives see me like this they will think I'm a disgusting woman. But when I later told my midwife she said they see women with hairy legs armpits etc all the time it's natural they don't bat an eyelid. This advice hasn't meant much to me with the other 3 labours I did the same, waxing when I was having contractions I felt this pressure to do it.

There's some hair removal that I have to do due to religious reasons its a requirement for hygiene; removal of pubic hair, that includes armpits. But legs arms anywhere else is optional. I prefer waxing so I do have weeks when I have hair since it needs to grow a certain length to be effective, my husband doesn't care and I don't either . But if I was in the habit I wearing skirts then this wouldn't be a choice I'd have to shave everyday. I find it time consuming and expensive waxing legs once a month I don't wana think about shaving everyday I wouldn't do it.

I won't be encouraging my daughter to remove hair other than what's necessary, it's just another lucrative industry.

marriedinwhiteisback Wed 07-Aug-13 16:11:21

Ctually what every child needs is to be loved, encouraged, to receive kindness, care, be wanted, feel free to make decisions. Why sweat the small stuff and the wholly irrelevant in the context of what children need and how others live. Is your greatest concern in the world really to worry about the impact of other people's armpits OP?

Jux Wed 07-Aug-13 16:12:03

I stopped shaving my pits when dd was a baby (she'll be 14 next week). I was having a massive ms attack and physically couldn't do it. As dh was barely speaking to me at the time, he wasn't going to do it for me, so they just didn't get done. Ot was years before I trusted myself to hold a razor so even when I could do it, I simply couldn't see the point.

diddl Wed 07-Aug-13 16:14:26

I tend to be a summer only shaver, & then I let it grow a bit so that there's something to shave!

But it's up to me, & it'll be up to them.

Caster8 Wed 07-Aug-13 16:45:10

With threads like this I sometimes feel like I am missing the point.
So I have put some more thought into it!

a. If the op and others choose not to shave, there is absolutely no guarantee that their dc wont. In fact, I would have thought that the dc would be more likely to run in the other direction themselves when older, so it may have all been a waste of time.
Unless really, the op and others wanted not to shave.


b. If the op and others shaves, again, no reason that the dc will necessarily, but I suppose there is more likelihood of that. But personally, I had a lot of influence over how my children turned out. But it does sound like that some on here dont have much influence, and I sort of wonder why.
And I suppose, if that is the case, there will a whole lot more stuff to be worried about than body hair.

Hope that doesnt sound harsh. And to be fair, it is up to each and every parent how they choose to parent. And I think as parents, we all have priorities in different orders to each other.

earthmother33 Wed 07-Aug-13 16:45:28

Unshaven muffs anyone?!

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 07-Aug-13 16:58:37

Caster8 - for me it's all about the massive backlash against women at the moment (attacks on abortion and contraception rights world wide, a CPS prosecutor saying a 13 year old child was a "sexual predator", not the 41 year old man who abused her, the pornification of popular culture, the gender pay gap, women still getting the sack for getting pregnant, women like Mary Beard being subject to internet hate campaigns for not being pretty enough).

OK, this is a tiny, tiny piece in the jigsaw puzzle, but when my 5 year old boy looks at my armpits and says "only men are meant to be hairy there" I want to at least sew a seed of doubt in his mind, and get across the idea that the world is more complicated than the images he's bombarded with by popular culture about what's an appropriate look for women to have. Because I don't want him to grow up into the kind of teenager who thinks it's cool to abuse women on twitter about their appearance, or undermine his girlfriend (if he turns out to be straight - chances are about 9 in 10 that he will) by being rude about her appearance.

ICBINEG Wed 07-Aug-13 17:01:53

MrsM sorry to hear that, I agree that the size zero thing is a bigger issue than hair, but they are both facets of the same over all problem...a fixation by society on the appearance of women and more recently men too.


I don't shave. Anywhere. Just can't be bothered, and my hair is quite fair anyway.
In another similar thread though, my opinion came through as if I thought anyone doing shaving, or having botox were Barbie-dolls. So for the record, I don't think that. I just don't see the point myself, and I really loved the photo of Julia Roberts with armpit hair at the Oscars (or wherever it was).

ICBINEG Wed 07-Aug-13 17:04:16

lucrio I 100% agree with you!

That is exactly what I hope to achieve with my DD. Just a slight slight hint that maybe appearances aren't everything and that the images in the media are only telling 1% of the story or real people.

And I agree with Lucrio.

Caster8 Wed 07-Aug-13 17:07:12

Fair enough Lurcio. I suppose I do the same thing in my own way - though not by not shaving though!
I purposely wear second hand clothes sometimes. And have some second hand furniture. Not just to save money, but so that my kids could see that posh cars, clothes etc are not really something to aspire to.
I would offer a warning though. I know a family that did that sort of thing to an extreme, and guess what, surprise surprise, their kids now want all the latest gadgets and trainers known to man.

Caster8 Wed 07-Aug-13 17:11:56

Had a rethink. I have slightly missed the point haven't I? smile
You are talking exclusively about body image. My clothes are in the same ballpark, but not furniture! blush

quesadilla Wed 07-Aug-13 17:16:01

I will continue to shave my pits. Hairy armpits get smelly very quickly and don't look very nice IMHO.
I support your general sentiment but as someone said up-thread I think you are being a little naive if you think your doing something to make a point will normalise it if the majority doesn't. But go for it if that's what you want to do.

SoleSource Wed 07-Aug-13 17:28:58

YABU wrt armpits but I haven't shaved my legs for weeks and just call me gorilla!

johnworf Wed 07-Aug-13 18:26:50

It's down to personal choice. What disgusts one person, their neighbour will shrug their shoulder.

I can't be bothered shaving anywhere and never have done. Just been on holiday to centre parcs, went swimming every day and didn't give my hairy legs/armpits/ladygarden a second thought. Who cares?

My DH is hairy all over (which I like).

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 07-Aug-13 18:28:40

No I'm not naive enough to think it will normalise hairy armpits - of course it won't. But it might help DS to grow up thinking about social norms and whether they reflect some immutable social order that can't be challenged, or whether they're actually just arbitray social constructs (and no, I have no intention of trying to explain that to him age 5 - Dworkin as his bedtime reading is quite enough to take on wink).

Also, I know children frequently rebel against the things their parents take to be big deals (I have a good friend who jokes that as a teenager she embraced evangelical Christianity because it was the only way of rebelling against her impeccably left liberal atheist parents). So I'm trying to play it as "sometimes mummy shaves, sometimes she doesn't, depends on what I feel like." I certainly don't think shaving is wrong, or betraying the sisterhood, but I do think there's scope for thinking about why we do it, what the social pressures are, and whether women are judged unfairly if they don't.

johnworf Wed 07-Aug-13 18:29:21

As for the OP point about giving their children a view that being hursuit is normal, that won't work I'm afraid. It'll be down to peer pressure and what they find is 'normal', usually through the media's image of women.

My DD#1 who is 27 even shaves her arms she hates body hair that much. Obviously the sight of me when she was younger made her go the other way grin

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 07-Aug-13 18:30:08

Oh, and should say I agree Caster8, there's more than one way of making the same point!

johnworf Wed 07-Aug-13 18:30:14

*hirsute blush

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 07-Aug-13 18:31:15

I shave pits, bits and legs every week, I dont' feel clean with hairy armpits and think it looks unkempt. I would assume any woman with hairy pits also had knitted lentils as a hobby.

johnworf Wed 07-Aug-13 18:32:36

Having hair doesn't necessarily mean dirty. Lots of men have underarm hair and I wouldn't think they all had a BO problem.

curlew Wed 07-Aug-13 18:34:09

Presumably you also shave your head? After all, you can't possibly feel clean with all that hair.......

LRDYaDumayuShtoTiKrasiviy Wed 07-Aug-13 18:36:09

It's true, I plait mine.

But no, seriously ... if you sweat more than usual and you've shaved, it is really important to see a doctor. Any unusual changes in your body, you should check with a GP, not assume it's normal.

johnworf Wed 07-Aug-13 18:36:47

What worries me is that teenage boys growing up now will think that 'normal' women are hairless as per the images they see on the internet and in other media.

I don't wish to look prepubescent.

catgirl1976 Wed 07-Aug-13 18:41:52

Good god no

You stay hairy but it's not for me

I smell more if I don't shave regardless of how often I shower so I owe it to the people around me to shave

LRDYaDumayuShtoTiKrasiviy Wed 07-Aug-13 18:43:05

Oh, do what you like catgirl!

catgirl1976 Wed 07-Aug-13 18:52:14

Um ok

You too


Blondeshavemorefun Wed 07-Aug-13 18:58:52

i shave my pits every day and legs every few days when stubbly and wax bikini line every 6weeks ish

french and italian woman seem to like being hairy (notice this on holiday) no offense anyone smile

one time i went away for the weekend and forgot my razor shock felt weird being stubbly and conscious in a strapless dress and sure pist were a tad wiffy

yet my oh obv doesnt shave his pits - does anyones man?

yet he never smells and hair is soft - unlike mine hmm

LRDYaDumayuShtoTiKrasiviy Wed 07-Aug-13 19:00:35


Sorry, I meant that in the terribly obvious sense.

You should do what you like.

Clearly many people on this thread know how to make their children feel confident and secure, and know how to feel happy - this is a good thing.

LEMisdisappointed Wed 07-Aug-13 19:05:51

nup - the only thing i shave is my chin blush

catgirl1976 Wed 07-Aug-13 19:09:36

Sorry grin

I read that all wrong and was really confused as to why I had caused so much offence smile

LRDYaDumayuShtoTiKrasiviy Wed 07-Aug-13 19:11:10

Oh, no!

I wrote it wrongly. blush

We'd best go out separate ways with razors and/or furcoms at the ready! grin


catgirl1976 Wed 07-Aug-13 19:12:04


TheWickedBitchOfTheBest Wed 07-Aug-13 19:20:03

"it will fast work it's way down to vaginas. They always do. With a bit of leg and forearm on the way."

That's my DH's definition of foreplay right there grin

mignonette Wed 07-Aug-13 19:22:50

How about giving them this doll?

Gave me quite a turn....

I sometimes shave and sometimes (often) don't. I can't always bothered and having hair doesn't upset me. The beauty of it lies in having the choice to shave or not and that we should be each free to make that choice for ourselves at any time.

LazyFaire Wed 07-Aug-13 19:35:38

I know at least one man who does shave his armpits - he is quite obese and probably is something to do with odour/cleanliness or chafing...

squoosh Wed 07-Aug-13 19:41:07

I was once with a man who was pubeless. I didn't approve and yes I realise this is social conditioning too.

Trim them boys, don't bin them!

TeddyPickleStick Wed 07-Aug-13 19:45:41

I shave all body hair every other day - bar on my head of course grin

I prefer to be smooth all over. Ill leave the natural look to other women

ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 19:50:09

OK, a few things:

1)All our decisions are influenced by many things. In the case of people’s physical appearance (including body hair), what we see on people around us influences our aesthetic judgments massively. Numerous psychological studies indicate that familiarity/experience influence preference, even when we’re not aware of it. So saying that we’re each making our own decision, whilst on one level is true, is simply not enough to explain our behaviour. We are not “sheep”, as one poster has said, but we are very much not operating in a vacuum. Let’s be honest about this.

2)Unfamiliarity can lead to disgust. Consequently, people increasingly experience disgust about female body hair. This is only getting worse with increased depilation and internet porn (which is, incidentally, primarily driven by male sexual preference). One way to reduce this is to let our children experience the sight of female body hair, repeatedly and early on.

3)If I grow the hair on my legs (which is thick and dark), some people are disgusted, and make this rather obvious. This limits my personal choices to: a) spend time, money and effort on depilation or b) experience hostility and disgust. I think this is a pretty crap choice. The only way I can see it changing is by exposure to female body hair as an acceptable option within society at large.

4)The relief I felt, on returning to this thread, at reading some of the recent insightful posts means I’ve fallen a bit in love with some of you (hope you don’t mind).

Jux Wed 07-Aug-13 19:59:37

While I don't shave, dd (13) does, because the girs at school who don't get the piss taken by the girls at school who do.

Perhaps, when she's older, she'll decide she can't be bothered.

MadBannersAndCopPorn Wed 07-Aug-13 20:02:38

I don't think we should have to modify the ways in which we treat our bodies cosmetically for our DC or anyone else.
We definitely don't 'owe' them it.
Unless they lead a very sheltered life, they'll meet all sorts of people from all walks of life at some point and realise that everyone is different- If anything we owe it to our children to teach them not to judge/ be judged based on looks.... IMO anyway

MadBannersAndCopPorn Wed 07-Aug-13 20:14:21

I agree that our children need to be exposed to things outside the social norms- Different body shapes and sizes, tattoos, facial hair, cultural dress, what abuse can do to you (even down to sunburn), races, abilities... bla bla bla
They need to see it all but it doesn't mean we have to be the ones that do it ourselves (unless we want to)

LeBFG Wed 07-Aug-13 20:20:12

Good point about all our lovely men being hairy and, strangely, not smelly. Perhaps women could, too, not shave and not be smelly?

Littleen Wed 07-Aug-13 20:21:33

no thanks!!! hairy armpits are not for me :p

LazyFaire Wed 07-Aug-13 20:30:50

Jux - yes maybe. My mum shaved haer armpits but never her legs. At 13-16 I would blush and cringe if she wore a skirt. Now, I'm sure mostly thanks to her, I have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. It's definitely for comfort not style.

(But as a teen, not being stylish makes you uncomfortable.)

Splitheadgirl Wed 07-Aug-13 20:43:05

I shave if I feel like it and don't if I don't. My husband doesn't care at all (he for some reason finds me completely gorgeous whatever) although my children do stand at the shower and stare at me like I am some unheard of or previously-thought-extinct species whenever I am in it. I don't worry about other people really and if they think I am gross or not.

Viviennemary Wed 07-Aug-13 20:54:32

I don't really agree with this children will think all women should be hairless. After all most men shave their faces or else they'd look like Father Christmas or worse.

KaseyM Wed 07-Aug-13 20:57:33

I shave because it's social convention. Don't particularly like it but am certainly not brave enough to flout it.

perplexedpirate Wed 07-Aug-13 21:01:17

I want to grow mine and dye it blue, but I'm a wuss so I'm going to wait until winter.
If I like it, it's coming out, weather-permitting.

MrsKoala Wed 07-Aug-13 21:02:07

I'm an absolute yeti, so shaving is out for me - it's a bit like painting the forth bridge. I have legs, stomach and undercarriage waxed monthly but rarely bother with underarms. I don't sweat under my arms so don't bother (i don't need deodorant either). So my dc will see me bald and hairy as i wait for the regrowth. My parents think hair on women is disgusting - in fact all of the people from their generation (60s) i know are so much more anti hair than anyone i know from mine (30s). I think underarm hair is quite sexy really. And i love beards and hair on men.

TallulahBetty Wed 07-Aug-13 21:14:29

No thanks. Everything off below the neck for me. I do it cos I want to, no social/man pressure. Just don't like being hairy.

VileWoman Wed 07-Aug-13 21:55:23

I thought this was going to be about armpits for august.

I do shave my armpits but keep thinking I should stop, DH doesn't do his after all. I'm very lazy about doing my legs, I don't do them from September to April and really only do them when I'm going to wear a skirt because of the social pressure. I'm lucky that I'm not hairy so I've only done them once a week during this nice weather. Would never do my bikini line and have never plucked my eyebrows, as someone who grew up as a teenager in the hairy 80s hope that the fashion for such extreme hair removal will change back again. After all in the 70s eyebrows were plucked to oblivion and then in the 80s we had Brooke Shields.

Agree that it's important to counteract all the negative media influences about women and girls being judged by their appearance. The DDs have asked about me shaving my legs and I've just said 'some people shave and some people don't. Daddy shaves his face but I don't' and left it at that for the time being (they are only little).

MrsMelons Wed 07-Aug-13 21:56:03

ICBINEG thank you, my issues have never come from the media, really from dancing and my dance teacher, also from just normal teenage stresses, I just didn't deal with it very well at all. I have to spend a certain amount of time looking after myself otherwise my issues would be worse but I make an extra effort to ensure my DSs do not pick up on it.

I actually get quite cross with my mum if she goes on about what they should or shouldn't eat as I really don't want them to have food issues and I would love them to be happy just being themselves.

Maybe if I was happy just being myself my opinions on other things, such as body hair, would be different?!

Daddoinghisbest Wed 07-Aug-13 22:31:14

It's not easy for us men either: I'm happy with shaving my face, chest, back and even my head, but count me out of the back, sack and crack wax brigade. Ouch!

MrsMelons Wed 07-Aug-13 22:48:17

ooh - don't blame you, sounds too painful!

HoikyPoiky Wed 07-Aug-13 22:49:43


I think I owe it to my children to show them it is perfectly OK to shave if you want to.

My Italian DH and one of my DS's would have Denis Healy style eyebrows if they were left to their own devices. It looks a million times better it they are kept in check. Am I meant to tell my son its NOT ok to care! He doesn't give a shit about looking trendy or having fashionable haircuts but he wants to keep his monobrow trained grin

Likewise, my DDs DON'T wont to support moustaches and the like. Am I meant to tell them its wrong to deny their hirsute'ness or should I just get them the required hair removing stuff and let them get on with it.

It doesn't mean we are obsessed with looking prepubescent. What a ridiculous and deeply insulting idea! It also doesn't mean any of us are obsessed with our looks. It's just normal grooming.

myroomisatip Wed 07-Aug-13 22:53:59

lol I would love to comment but I have promised myself not to post anything after having two glasses of wine! grin

Daddoinghisbest Wed 07-Aug-13 22:59:14

Myroom. Will a third glass tempt you? :-)

ICBINEG Wed 07-Aug-13 23:44:26

MrsM Maybe if I was happy just being myself my opinions on other things, such as body hair, would be different?!

Maybe, but maybe not. It is more of a social conditioning thing than a self-image-confidence thing....some people feel the societal pressure much more acutely than others regardless of their level of confidence... and that's not to mention the vast swathes that think they came up with the idea that body hair is 'dirty' all by themselves and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the media....<sighs>

Anyway you sound lovely, and like you are focusing on the bigger issue of food give yourself a break on this one smile

ICBINEG Wed 07-Aug-13 23:51:22

By the way I can confirm that female armpit hair will get nice and silky and soft (even nicer than a blokes - although I may be biased)...but it takes a month from the last shave....and there is a horrible bit a few weeks in when it gets scratchy and stinky for a few days....but if you battle through you can abandon deodorant forever pretty much straight after that bit.

I spent so many years shaving weekly and using deodorant and smelling slightly anyway and leaving sweat patches....once I let the hair grow all the problems disappeared. Seriously, you are meant to have armpit hair!

If nature had intended us to have hairless armpits we would have built razors...or um.... no hair growing in our armpits or something.

ItsNotATest Thu 08-Aug-13 00:03:07

I just don't get the constant angst about body hair on here. If you like it, keep it; if you don't like it, get rid.

Surely personal choice is what you should be emphasising? Along with gentle encouragement to make a choice, then use brain energy on things more important and never to have an opinion on anyone else's fluff. With the exception of someone you are shagging. Then you can have an opinion as long as its kept in proportion grin

ICBINEG Thu 08-Aug-13 00:10:05

Itsnotatest maybe there is angst because people do get abuse for armpit hair atm?

I know I look awesome in my swim suit...but I still get called names by the it is an angst inspiring issue for me...

Does that help explain?

MrsKoala Thu 08-Aug-13 00:35:15

and that's not to mention the vast swathes that think they came up with the idea that body hair is 'dirty' all by themselves and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the media.

I don't think hair is dirty, but the blood clots and poo which cling to it makes it much more difficult to keep clean and not smell bad. As i'm not going to stop bleeding or shitting it's easier to remove the hair. And i came up with that conclusion all by myself and have had it off since before it got all mainstream to do so. i remember waxers being shock

capitola Thu 08-Aug-13 00:45:38

No thanks.

I have just today parted with £55 to have my legs (& feet, sadly) & Brazilian done.

Hairiness is not for me.

Guerrillacrochet Thu 08-Aug-13 06:43:41

Well wine o'clock has been and gone and the thread remains lovely; hairy and smooth living together in harmony. smile
OP in you post upthread you said this:
2)Unfamiliarity can lead to disgust. Consequently, people increasingly experience disgust about female body hair. This is only getting worse with increased depilation and internet porn (which is, incidentally, primarily driven by male sexual preference).
I am interested in this one as I wonder if it is a bit chicken and egg. I read somewhere that the main reason for the rise of hairlessness in porn was practical and that it was easier to film and photograph a hairless fanny. Whether this is true or not I don't know. But now that it is more normal it is now desirable? Because in all my years shagging I have never, ever had one comment from a man about my bush. Has anyone else? Is it because older men (anyone >30) are aware of what a hairy vag looks like and frankly don't care?
I'm not saying women are removing hair to manplease, not at all. The comments here say as much. It's just an often touted reason that it's the men that want this... I just wonder if the majority are bothered at all?

TallulahBetty Thu 08-Aug-13 07:28:24

LOLOLOL at the assumption that if we don't like hair, it MUST have come from media pressure, or the evil menz telling us to get rid. hmm

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 08-Aug-13 07:33:16

Lebfg - that was me - my oh is a very hairy man -- weirdly before I met him I hated hairy chests/backs-- and I love snuggling up to his fur smile

Yet he doesn't have sweaty smelly pits but I do if I don't shave

Fwiw - this blonde waxes tho name for some says otherwise lol

£12.50 yesterday sorted out my lady garden pmsl

nooka Thu 08-Aug-13 07:40:37

I don't generally shave under my arms. Four main reasons

- I am very shortsighted and find it tricky to see them properly
- I have a skin tag on one side and a mole on the other and worry about nicking them
- I find it very uncomfortable after shaving (sticky and prickly)
- I am quite lazy and don't see why I should have to

All well and good, each to their own you might think, but even though I personally find my hairy body perfectly aesthetically pleasing, I still feel very uncomfortable if I think that my armpits might show in public because there is a very very strong ethos that under arm hair (in women) is gross, and women that don't shave are in some way aberant. So every now and then I shave, remember why I hate doing it and stop again.

I've not been able to persuade dd that shaving/hair removal is a hassle that she really doesn't need to bother with, but she knows it is an option. Not for now though I think as the pressure to remove her hair started almost before she had any. Which I think is very sad really.

As for the men, dh usually has a beard and ds is longing for his mustache to really show so that he can be super 'manly'. It's just not the same thing.

bergedorf Thu 08-Aug-13 07:42:10

My daughter Hates it if she catches me using hair removal cream on my legs. I've had to promise not to "WASTE" my money on it anymore!

I have to admit it though- she's right! Why DO we spend so much money on taking off hairs that will just regrow in a few days!

mignonette Thu 08-Aug-13 08:02:32

Although I have thick wavy head hair I have very little arm and leg hair and frequently go weeks before needing to shave. I hate the chemical methods because of the problem of multiple cross contamination (Is that the right term?) with all the other chemicals in our home/body products. Hair removers seem particularly toxic.

DH couldn't mind less about whether I have body hair or not and my previous partner adored the full 70's bush thing so although I have never totally defined what I do by what partners prefer, it must surely have an influence. I couldn't bear DH's Movember so he shaved it off. I also get bad rashes from his stubble so he is considerate in that respect wink...

I like that 70's aesthetic anyway- it is the spirit of my age^.....

Guerrillacrochet Thu 08-Aug-13 08:24:41

migonette I'm still reeling from that hairy doll you linked to! A baby doll shouldn't need a crack wax. I think we can all agree on that! grin

MrsMelons Thu 08-Aug-13 08:48:39

I do think men notice though Guerrilla , I was with a bloke (he was dumped pretty quick) who went out with someone I knew before me, we were only about 16ish and he was in his early 20's. In front of me and his mates he was slagging her off for having a big bush. I felt mortified on her behalf - how awful, I didn't have much hair but at the time would not have thought to trim it other than the actual bikini line. This was a long time ago and way before media pressure like it is now so I think the expectation has been there for a long time.

mignonette Thu 08-Aug-13 08:57:00

That was terrible wasn't it Guerilla (like your name BTW)? I couldn't resist then thought Christ, they are going to think I am taking the piss out of a sensible debate and flame me. That was not my intention. But it raises an interesting question. What if Barbie had armpit hair and pubes? Mind you seeing as Barbie has no genitalia or nipples, that's not going to happen....

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 08-Aug-13 09:02:17

For all those who don't shave their underarms. Do you actually wear sleeveless clothes? Or swimwear? Do you have bushy dark haired pits, or just soft short and blonde?

Because from reading this thread, I see quite a few who doesn't shave, but I actually have never seen anyone on the street with hairy armpits in sleeveless tops. If you aren't having it on show, then it's not that big a deal to not shave is it? As long as you and your DH/P is happy with it.

Same with hairy legs. I've never seen anyone with hair legs on show. And I mean again dark coloured and very visible hair. (Blondes have it easier as really no one can see their hair unless they look very closely. I'm Chinese so it's a big contrast between skin and hair colour).

Guerrillacrochet Thu 08-Aug-13 09:05:24

Melons he sounds horrible. It was a genuine question- it hasn't ever come up for me but maybe I've been lucky on that front? I guess my point was that for a lot of women here the desire to remove hair isn't for men or for societal reasons, and I was saying from my own experience the men I've known haven't commented or appeared bothered by it anyway.
FWIW I do legs, pits (and toes blush) because I prefer the smooth look there. I certainly don't feel under any pressure though and wouldn't judge anyone else. I suppose the blush shows I am a bit cringey about my toe hair, but I have such big feet I already look a bit mannish ankle-down!

Guerrillacrochet Thu 08-Aug-13 09:10:40

Migonette I was trying to work out what it was about. I can only think it is a wind-up. It does remind me of the hairy babies in Father Ted though smile
I think if anything Barbie would be vejazzled, no? wink

LeBFG Thu 08-Aug-13 09:30:09

I have dark, bushy hair One. It's hot wear I live - I wear shorts and sleeveless tops and go feral grin. I went back to the UK last year and bought a camera case in a shop. The young boy serving was awfully nice but you should have seen his face when I lifted up my arm to lean over and pay grin. My sisters are also shocked to see it (they are more 'civilized' than me) but think it's really funny. The more I 'expose' my hairy bits actually the more comfortable I am with it and the more I think it bizarre that women shave. I'm also very hmm with comments like upthread about making people feel sick. I's just hair!

mignonette Thu 08-Aug-13 09:32:23

It must be a wind up Guerilla. The mind boggles at who might buy this shock

OneLittle I do not have very much armpit hair but I rarely wear sleeveless out and about as I just do not like showing too much flesh. I do shave though if i am going sleeveless and for example on holiday a week ago in Corisca/South of France I noticed a lot of local women who had not shaved but not many tourists seemed to be going au naturel. I don't bother shaving my legs diligently because you truly would need to get very very close to my leg to notice the very fine hairs there. If I had very dark hair I know that I would likely shave it more frequently even though it does not bother me to see it on others at all. I loved the photo of Julia Roberts showing armpit hair and here are some others all looking gorgeous-

here, here, here, here, here (Julia Roberts is often photographed with unshaved pits) and the supermodel Doutzen Kroes here.

What do people think?

mignonette Thu 08-Aug-13 09:34:15

BTW I do not agree with the negative tone of the link above but the examples are good, all intelligent women with something to say.

Cheeseatmidnight Thu 08-Aug-13 09:35:05

I don't care about body hair at home but do shave armpits if I am going to be wearing a vest top or swimming etc. dd does see me with full hairy legs and an un groomed bikini area...

I am concerned she will think shaving is what you have to do, but am not brave enough to stop removing hair altogether. Anyway, I would have a beard if I didn't pluck those whiskery blighters away.

CoteDAzur Thu 08-Aug-13 09:48:42

"there is a horrible bit a few weeks in when it gets scratchy and stinky for a few days....but if you battle through you can abandon deodorant forever"

I wonder if that is about when you stop smelling your own body odour, because you certainly don't stop producing it.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 08-Aug-13 10:12:26

LeBFG yes, it's social pressure isn't it? It's so truly rare in the UK to see hairy women that people can repulsed by it. Mignonette I remember all the negative press on Julia Roberts sadly sad. I'm not so brave as her. I don't get why people feel sick looking at women's hairy pits? Do they get the same with men's?

mignonette and cheese I guess many are in the camp of shave if on show, and that confirms why I think I never see anyone au naturel in the UK.

MrsMelons Thu 08-Aug-13 10:35:17

Guerilla - he was vile, he was out with my dad and his mates one night and was talking about 'muff diving' (npt with me) - how pleasant AND in front of my dad.

AlfalfaMum Thu 08-Aug-13 10:37:40

I think it would be good if there was a real sense of personal choice. I don't think there is though; you can choose to go natural, but sadly most people think it's disgusting to have any visible body hair and aren't shy about letting you know.
Regrettably my self-esteem is not strong enough for me to make a stand. I do think they (ie my visble body parts) look better without hair, but I'm not actually concerned with my appearance all the time. It's not my priority.
I have had filthy looks from other women when I've gone out with (nicely toned yet) hairy legs. That's not a nice feeling.

DiamondDoris Thu 08-Aug-13 10:39:16

I don't bother shaving armpits in winter and I've always been in a relationship and no one's minded (and if they did, I still wouldn't). It's societal pressure indeed, which I unfortunately play along with in summer when pits are on show. I still don't shave that often so stubbly bits are on show and I don't care. Same goes for legs. It's all so silly. Hygiene wise, hair gets a good lather, like washing head hair - my head hair doesn't smell, neither does my armpit hair.

ICBINEG Thu 08-Aug-13 10:49:48

CoteDAzur Do you know me?

Are you saying I smell?

LeBFG Thu 08-Aug-13 10:54:57

Perhaps we should have a hairy fb mob thing whatever those things are called grin.

Alfalfa, as others have said, very few people can really brave the gaze and judgement of others about this. I think you need to be a little indifferent to societal norms (hence my joke about being slightly sociopathic) really to go hairy FT. It's not a bad thing to conform. In fact, conformity is what makes us normal and well-adjusted people wink.

CoteDAzur Thu 08-Aug-13 11:06:29

I don't have to personally come and smell your armpits to know for a fact that you body didn't just stop producing body odour just because you didn't shave for several weeks.

You still have functional sweat glands and some bacteria on your skin? The you have body odour. It has a purpose in nature, and letting armpit hair grow naturally will enhance it, not eliminate it.

You must be so used to your own armpit odour that you don't feel it anymore, like smokers thinking their clothes don't smell.

johnworf Thu 08-Aug-13 11:15:05

There is no right or wrong answer. Personal choice is what we all have and if we like shaving, then great. Do it! If we can't be arsed (like me), also great.


I bet 90% of those hairy celebrity shots were driven by agents persuading celebs to do 'wacky and far out things' to get media talking about them and their photos all over the place. They probably regret it now. It just looks odd being so polished all over and then deliberately leaving one small area untouched.

It can't possibly be a political statement with so much plastic surgery, make up, styling and general fiddling about going on elsewhere on their bodies. It also can't be because they 'can't be arsed', given how much effort they've put in to looking polished in other ways.

It's just attention seeking. Shock tactics. Silly.

If you want to let it all hang out, do it. If you don't, don't. It seems insane to say we 'owe it to the next generation' to let them see hairy armpits.

mignonette Thu 08-Aug-13 11:50:27

I thought Drew Barrymore looked great. And Juliette Lewis has a history of not conforming and going her own sweet way.

And Doutzen? She is a Victoria's Secret model as well as doing several editorial stories for Vogue. Doubt she needs the attention. She is a jobbing model with no agenda as far as I can see. She's also a young Mother.

LadyBeagleEyes Thu 08-Aug-13 11:52:00

I'm 57 and ever since I had body hair I've shaved. Well apart from pubes. I just shave my bikini line.
I love having smooth skin, legs and arms/armpits and love slathering on a beautiful smelling body lotion after a shower.
I also get Theodorakisses point, as these threads always blame the patriarchy, and tend to go on to porn as well if women shave their pubes. If it's their fault, so be it, though personally I feel I have made my own choice.
I like being hair free, so shoot me.

pussycatwillum Thu 08-Aug-13 11:55:28

Should those of us of a certain age let the whiskers grow on our chins too? After all I didn't realise women got hairy chins post-menopause until it happened to me. I think not.

ICBINEG Thu 08-Aug-13 11:56:21

cote the interesting thing about what you said there is that none of it is supported by evidence...and usually you are on the side on the evidence...what happened?

Caster8 Thu 08-Aug-13 13:42:04

Soem celebrities do all sorts to make the headlines. Do the celebrities quoted regularly go around with unshaved armpits, or just on special media occasions?

ClockWatchingLady Thu 08-Aug-13 15:41:55

Just caught up on some of this.

Alfalfamum - I agree with you. I also feel nervous about going hairy, and have had horrid comments when I have. I'd love to feel able to do it, but often don't.

Guerrillacrochet - I think this is a really, really interesting point. I think it probably is a bit "chicken and egg". Whatever the initial motivation for pube removal in the porn industry, it is, according to the available evidence, now having a big impact on male preferences (at least within certain demographics). Apparently, younger men are increasingly expecting and demanding hairlessness. This is probably then further increasing the trend for hairless porn, because that's what the consumers want, and so on. There's also a lot of female-female pressure, I think, which might be a bit more complicated to explain (any ideas, anyone?). When I've had my legs hairy, the rude comments have been from women. My DP

LeBFG - I find this so heartening: "The more I 'expose' my hairy bits actually the more comfortable I am with it and the more I think it bizarre that women shave". Perhaps persistence is the key. It really is interesting how these preferences are so strongly about what we're habituated to. I suppose that was one of my initial points/questions in this thread, really, as I think as parents we play a role in the habituation.

MrsMelons, that ex-bf doesn't sound great sad. I also had a bf a long time ago (who would now be in his 40s, and incidentally was a big online porn enthusiast) request/demand that I keep my pubes under control, and then that I have a Brazilian. He also was out the door pretty quick.

LadyBeagleEyes - I don't think anyone has any desire to shoot you smile

thebody Thu 08-Aug-13 15:48:08

waxing is a bloody gaff but personally I can't stand to see myself with body hair so its all off. pits, pubes, legs etc.

I wish I didn't mind but I do.

mignonette Thu 08-Aug-13 15:52:15

Many of those in the photos don't appear to 'court' the media only as part of their contractual obligations to studios to promote any film they are in. And that is a quid pro quo situation. I know Juliette Lewis often has unshaved bits but I will conduct a meta analysis of their photographs over the coming months to ascertain whether it is in fact a publicity stunt wink

Caster8 Thu 08-Aug-13 15:58:25

Thanks mignonette! I try to stay away from celeb stuff on the whole, so I will leave that little job up to you!

mignonette Thu 08-Aug-13 16:03:47

My pleasure Caster wink

OneLittle...I don't shave, freely go about in sleeveless dress/tops (and swimsuits at the pool) and only wear skirts. I went out a few days ago into a sleeveless short dress. My hair is very dark, though patchy on my legs. Haven't really noticed any reaction. I actually so sleeveless more now than when I shaved years ago, because certain family members would ruthlessly tease me if I had the slightest sign of hair - I wouldn't go sleeveless around them then or now (but I don't socialize with them anymore) or show them pictures of it showing. Other than them, it's been fine.

countingmyblessings Thu 08-Aug-13 16:35:37

I shave once a week. Couldn't give a flying monkey what anybody else does with their body hair. I used to shave my yoni but it got very itchy & uncomfortable down there so now I just trim.

I don't shave, as stated somewhere upthread, and I do wear sleeveless tops, spaghetti straps, and short shorts/dresses. I have yet to receive a "yuk" remark, but then again I'm seldom without a child so maybe people think I don't count smile
It's not massive and bushy, but it is dark and defo visible. I just don't care, and equally if people want to shave their entire body that's fine too. I find it itchy and uncomfy, and to be honest it does look odd to me if grown women are hairless. But, that said, each to their own.

CoteDAzur Thu 08-Aug-13 17:06:48

ICIBINEG - What evidence do you feel I need to produce? I would like to make you happy smile

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 08-Aug-13 17:35:15

One anecdotal evidence from me is that I smell well shaven or not. I didn't shave until I got to 6th form because I went to a very geeky all girl school. At 6th form, I went to a co-ed and the pressure got to me. I needed deodorant and have sweat patches before I started shaving.

Obviously ICIBINEG personal experience might be different. But your own personal experience doesn't make it a universal truth.

By the way, I use IPL at home now, and it's a huge step up from shaving. I only need to do it once every 6 weeks or so.

LynetteScavo Thu 08-Aug-13 17:50:59

My mother has never removed her armpit hair. She totally accepts it.

I obviously didn't accept armpit hair, as I removed it in 1984 and have never looked back.

I have no desire to see what my pits would look like with hair.

MrsKoala Thu 08-Aug-13 19:00:04

Anecdotally i've never needed underarm deodorant, regardless of hairy or bald. I don't sweat much and not at all under there (i can do 2 hours of aerobics/step and have sweat on my back, stomach and thighs but not a patch on my armpits. But I know others who need to wash 4 times a day and apply lots of deodorant. What i find annoying is when i say this people will always say that i do smell and that no one is telling me out of politeness (certainly not in my family or friends!). But the fact is people are different and some just sweat less.

Coffeenowplease Thu 08-Aug-13 19:20:52

I get what you are saying, about how do not look natural..but at thew same time I hate body hair. Dont like it much on men either.

I can honestly say I have never had full pubic hair or any armpit hair. As soon as it bean growing I removed it. It seems a little odd to think I have never seen my own body in its natural state but Im quite happy this way.

VitoCorleone Thu 08-Aug-13 20:35:23

My mum doesnt shave her armpits or legs, its never made a difference to me, i shave everything off.

ICBINEG Thu 08-Aug-13 20:56:57

cote well you have accused me of being smelly and disgusting, so I imagine the evidence would somehow indicate that this was actually true. I know you from so many threads where I have respected your opinions and thoughts and I am really surprised by your attitude here.

It isn't true, DH is very good about answering truthfully on this issue as after years as a stinky teenager during puberty I am actually very very sensitive about the issue of smell.

I don't like the look of my armpit hair that much but I hate the extra sweatiness that shaving causes me and the constant panic that I will start smelling.

It has made me shaky and upset most of the day to have been insulted by you in this way, and while I accept that this is mostly my problem, if you would like to make me happy then I would ask that you a) apologise for insulting me for no reason whatsoever that I can think of and b) consider the effect your future insults could have on people who already have body insecurities.

Teenage girls could well end up reading this thread, so denouncing everyone who doesn't shave as smelly is really pretty socially irresponsible.

If you do decide to apologise it will have to be by PM as I am hiding this thread now.

CoteDAzur Thu 08-Aug-13 21:19:19

I'm sorry you are offended. I have not in the least implied that you are "disgusting", only that you must smell just as much as the rest of us. Slightly more, in all likelihood, since you have more hair to disperse the smell than most.

This is not at all a judgement on you at all. I don't think you are disgusting. To each their own.

The only thing I have said is that (1) it is not humanly possible for the apocrine glands in your armpits to have stopped functioning because you didn't shave for several weeks, (2) therefore your body continues to produce your unique body odour, and (3) if you can't smell it anymore, that is probably because you are used to it (like smokers don't know that their clothes smell)

I honestly find it hard to believe that you would spend the day shaky and upset because I said those three things. They are not insulting, and to the best of my knowledge, are true for every normal human on Earth, myself included.

SuckAtRelationships Thu 08-Aug-13 21:30:37

I sweat like fuck if I don't shave. It's coming off. My mum told me before I grew any that it would happen and I could shave if I wanted. She did her job. Thanks mum grin

VileWoman Thu 08-Aug-13 22:33:03

What I don't get about the 'you smell more if you don't shave' is why is it mainly women that shave their armpits and mostly men don't. After all, men are a lot hairier generally. DH is hirsute (he's not entirely British), has never shaved any body hair, doesn't use deodorants and yet as long as he washes regularly he doesn't smell. Amazing isn't it!

AlfalfaMum Thu 08-Aug-13 22:36:18

LeBFG, oddly I used to be a lot braver on this issue, I guess it's true that we become more conservative and conformist as we get older. I never thought I'd be one of those!

CoteDAzur I'd have been upset too if your words were directed at me. I am also quite sure that my DH's unshaven armpits (which I sleep in close proximity to) are not smellier than my own clean-shaven ones, he's also a smoker and I can't stand the smell of fags off him, so I don't think it's a case of my becoming accustomed. We both shower every day and use deodorant and are equally unwhiffy (apart from his bloody cigarettes..).

Caster8 Thu 08-Aug-13 22:37:24

So a poster that is trying not to get others to shave, actually has her own personal body issues.
That is not on really. That is not really fair to people that may actually be influenced to change their own behaviour.

HoikyPoiky Thu 08-Aug-13 22:55:39

Smelliness is not to do with hairiness BUT if you are a smellier person then I am sure, if you have very hairy armpits that it must be easier to minimise your BO if you shave or trim you hair.

I have two DS's 19 and 21, one literally never has BO. He can really sweaty playing football all morning in the hot sun and still not smell. My other son has a BO problem. sad He showers, uses industrial strength deodorant but can start smelling at the drop of a hat. Luckily he is aware of it and takes action when he needs to.

CoteDAzur Thu 08-Aug-13 23:23:42

Alfalfa - The difference is your DH uses deodorant. Of course he doesn't smell.

ICBINEG says that she hasn't needed to use deodorant after about three weeks of letting her armpit hair grow because it stopped smelling. Unless her glands magically stopped functioning, that is not very likely.

I really wish people would read and properly understand a post before they get all offended.

I just cannot be arsed.

ICBINEG Fri 09-Aug-13 00:23:21

<sighs> yes cote but it isn't the sweat that smells is it?

its the skin bacteria...which happen do well in a wet claggy environment (think no hair, sweat staying on skin)...and which do not do well on dry skin...(think hair wicking the moisture away from the skin).

It make perfect sense that when you let your body function as it is meant to you don't suffer the same bacterial invasion that you do if you remove your bodies defences.

But don't let that stop you from continuing to maintain that it is totally impossible that someone you have never met might possibly smell less with hair than without....

Turns out hiding the thread doesn't work when it's in the discussion of the day and you are too stupid to stay away.

cote I can't believe you continued to perpetuate that shit after I explained it to you. You really aren't the person I thought you were.

ICBINEG Fri 09-Aug-13 00:54:48


You said:

"I wonder if that is about when you stop smelling your own body odour, because you certainly don't stop producing it."

This isn't true - you continue making sweat but sweat is odourless. It is the bacteria produce the smell. If they cease to thrive you will stop smelling. If they thrive less well then you will smell less. simple.

"I don't have to personally come and smell your armpits to know for a fact that you body didn't just stop producing body odour just because you didn't shave for several weeks. "

This isn't true. Empirically (as confirmed by a number of witnesses or theoretically (see above).

"You still have functional sweat glands and some bacteria on your skin? The you have body odour. It has a purpose in nature, and letting armpit hair grow naturally will enhance it, not eliminate it. "

This isn't true as previously stated, your hair acts to remove moisture from the environment the bacteria want it in..on the skin. That's the whole fucking point of armpit hair, to stop the bacteria getting totally cooked up on your skin.

"[you smell] Slightly more, in all likelihood, since you have more hair to disperse the smell than most. "

Which isn't true as there is little or no smell to broadcast.

Maybe you might try posting true things in the future...just a thought

ICBINEG Fri 09-Aug-13 00:57:30

vilewoman yes amazing that isn't it...although cote will no doubt be back to explain that it is "physically impossible" for your DH to not smell if he does't use deodorant and doesn't shave...presumably you too have had a nasal bypass of some sort. hmm

MrsKoala Fri 09-Aug-13 01:59:47

As i said, I don't shave, don't use deodorant and don't smell a bit. But the thing is i never have. What i understood from Cote's post was it is impossible for your sweat glands to be influenced by shaving. So if you USED to sweat loads when you shaved, it is impossible that you stopped sweating loads when you decided to stop. Something else must have happened to stop it. Vilewomans husband has presumably never smelled so it has nothing to do with shaving or otherwise. It's a bit like saying cutting/shaving your hair on your head will make it curly/stronger/courser. Of course it wont, your hair is a dead product, how would the root (or sweat glands) know what had happened to the end? What happens is it appears different for another reason, ie blunt at the ends give the visual illusion of thickness/weight lifted means the curl can bounce up/hair is cut sharp at an angle making it spikey rather than tapered if waxed/left natural etc SO the reason for you ICBINEG is perhaps bacteria naving less opportunity to thrive as you said.

nooka Fri 09-Aug-13 05:28:50

I'm another person who doesn't shave or use deodorant. I'm not very sweaty in general, and the only time I have wanted to use anti-antiperspirant is on the few occasions when I have shaved, because the sweat just felt so much more sticky and generally horrible without the hair to wick it away.

Apparently (read it here) the gene for the smelly sort of underarm sweat is related to that for dry ear wax - if you have dry ear wax then you don't have smelly armpits.

garlicagain Fri 09-Aug-13 06:48:54

Gosh, I never realised that was the purpose of pit hair! I thought it was some hopelessly ineffective anti-friction device ... or a means of distributing endocrine pong to the world at large, thus advertising our individual pheromonal cocktails to potentially desirous mates.

Anyway, this thread has come at entirely the wrong time for me. Having spent the past month educating the startled citizens of The Town That Time Forgot in the realities of female body hair (well, mine, at least,) I waxed the lot yesterday.

garlicagain Fri 09-Aug-13 06:52:56

Nooka, that's depressing! I seem to have become more whiffy and more waxy when my menopause started. What with all that, chin bristles, turkey neck and interminable periods, it really is the prime of life hmm

ClockWatchingLady Fri 09-Aug-13 08:38:21

caster8 - I don't understand your post. Please explain. Unless I've missed something, I don't think anyone here is trying to persuade anyone else to do anything. Can you enlighten me?

Caster8 Fri 09-Aug-13 08:40:41

Of course there are posters here trying to get other posters and encouraging other posters to stop shaving.

TheSunTheMoonTheTruth Fri 09-Aug-13 08:41:49

I have a female colleague who does to shave her arms, never has. She also does not use soap or deodorant, or any cleaning products that are not organic and made from natural stuff. She drinks lots of water. She cycles in to work (not gruelling, just a plod).

She does not smell. At all. Not even a tiny weeny little bit. And I have been up close and personal with her in a small meeting room in summer on many occasions.

TheSunTheMoonTheTruth Fri 09-Aug-13 08:42:16

Who does not shave her arms that should have said.

ClockWatchingLady Fri 09-Aug-13 08:50:35

OK, I just genuinely missed that, caster8!

ICBINEG Fri 09-Aug-13 08:57:54

Well I think the title of the OP hints that maybe the OP thinks people shouldn't shave as a default position....doesn't it?

MrsK yes indeed....I haven't stopped sweating, but the smell has gone.

Unless I play badminton in a sauna of a sports hall for 2 hours like I did last night!....that pretty much overloaded the hair system....and certainly made me smell. (unless cote has an explanation for my nasal function being linked to exercise, this further proves I have not lost my ability to smell the products of bacteria breaking down sweat).

ICBINEG Fri 09-Aug-13 09:01:57

It's strange isn't it that people don't think that head hair is dirty, or that it makes your scalp more sweaty....obviously it isn't and doesn't...but then neither does any of the rest of your hair....

Oh wait! Shampoo industry = £billions.....

People would lose money if they convince you all of your hair is dirty....the trick is to convince you that almost all of it is...and then keep a bit to sell shampoo for...

They have this so very precisely stitched up.

I would be in awe if it didn't make me so angry......

And to think people worry about the government manipulating what people think....rank fucking amateurs compared to Unilever and P&G.

Minifingers Fri 09-Aug-13 09:05:09

Just feel it can't be good for my body to be slathering antiperspirant chemicals onto freshly scraped skin very day.....,

And that was before reading articles about the huge number of breast cancers that appear to appear in the upper outside quadrant of the breast (not aware there's any research linking anti perspirant use with breast cancer but still....)

Minifingers Fri 09-Aug-13 09:08:34

I go through phases of being smelly but most of the time I'm not. I shower every day but notice that I smell more when I'm premenstrual or stressed or both.

CoteDAzur Fri 09-Aug-13 09:23:35

Thank you MrsKoala, that is exactly what I said.

nooka's link is interesting. Apparently, about 2% of UK population don't smell and never have because they just don't have the gene for it. I know two people like this who don't use deodorant and never smell.

What I find improbable with ICBINEG's story is that she says she smelled when shaving but doesn't smell at all now that her armpit hair is long. So she has the gene, her apocrine glands are secreting the sticky stuff as before, but... no smell?

This reminds me of people who say their hair self-cleans and doesn't smell since they stopped washing it.

CoteDAzur Fri 09-Aug-13 10:02:31

Re hair on your head vs armpit hair - These are different and have different purposes.

Armpit and groins have pubic hair - coarse, short, oval, and curly texture. Armpit and groins also have apocrine glands, which make the substance that bacteria likes to turn into body odour. The purpose of this hair isnt certain but seems to be to enhance the dispersal of your unique body odour by increasing the surface it's spread on.

Dispersed primarily from armpits, body odour serves an important purpose (or used to, before we masked/confused it with deodorants) - to attract us to more compatible sexual mates, and to steer us away from close relatives. Weisfelt et al showed that the less someone smells like you, the more attractive & less repulsive you find their smell.

All to say that body odour has an important function in nature and that armpit hair is part of it, especially when you leave it au naturel.

CoteDAzur Fri 09-Aug-13 10:17:02

garlic - re "a means of distributing endocrine pong to the world at large, thus advertising our individual pheromonal cocktails to potentially desirous mates"

Yes, that seems to be the purpose of armpit hair, and also why it stays short and is rather curly (more surface to disperse the smell).

CoteDAzur Fri 09-Aug-13 10:18:13

And re cancer & deodorants/antiperspirants:

Antiperspirant use and the risk of breast cancer

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 10:44:00

Keep starting this post and getting baby interruptions!!

The pheremone/MHC thing is not a clear cut story at the moment. I feel the dispersal idea can work both ways wrt smelling. Hairy armpits disperse our lovely body smells, but surely also dry quicker so wet, clammy skin promoting baterial growth and that dreaded BO would seem a very possible outcome. Ancedotally, I have not noticed a change of smell with or without hair tbh. If there is a difference it's small for me. The only time I smell is when I'm stressed or if I don't wash. Same with DH.

I think sometimes people get smell and BO confused tbh. My sister insists she 'smells' if she doesn't actually stink of deoderant and perfume (and scented moisteriser, and smelly shampoo etc).

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 10:45:16

very possible outcome *of shaving hairy pits.

Guerrillacrochet Fri 09-Aug-13 11:01:49

I agree with LeBFG. To me when I think of 'person smell' I think of the smell of a bed after a few nights in it. Not an offensive smell to me. My husband is a hairy bugger and sometimes smells like this before a shower. It is a lovely snuggly smell to me (the thought of it makes me want to cuddle him).
BO is different- that to my mind is stale sweat which has a rank stink smell
I have no problems believing that both shaved and non-shaved people can produce smells at both end of the spectrum.
<runs off to go home and sniff husband's hairy chest >

HellonHeels Fri 09-Aug-13 11:05:55

For those saying we don't see head hair as "dirty", so why regard other body hair as "dirty" I don't quite understand the reasoning. Head hair is dirty and supports bacteria growth if sweaty / unwashed. I wouldn't want to find a head hair on a plate of food.

Many people go to great efforts to groom their head hair - washing every day, drying, styling, colouring, cutting, applying product. Some shave their heads. Most of them presumably do this not just because of hygiene but also due to social constructs/fashion. Perhaps there should be a case made for letting head hair go feral?

ClockWatchingLady Fri 09-Aug-13 11:31:19

Icinberg - yes, I suppose my op suggests that, although it was intended as a question for discussion, not persuasion. As I said, my own behaviour with respect to this is very varied, but that's because it's something I'm not sure about (hence wanted to discuss). Is this what you mean, caster8? If so, I certainly wouldn't class myself as having "body issues". I rather like my body and am generally confident and carefree about it, I just wonder about this particular issue, and feel a little pressured by those around me/"society" (my lovely DP excluded) to shave.

kimimimi Fri 09-Aug-13 12:17:56

Oh dear.. People wax/shave their body hair since ancient times, Egyptians and Romans done it, is nothing new about that..

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 12:31:30

What's all this about smelly hair? Hair doesn't get smelly because it's not been washed. I have long hair and it only smells if I've been near a smoker. I don't get hair BO if I don't wash it for a few days. It isn't itchy or unsightly.

My DH has sensitive skin and finds long hair after a day working in the sun makes his head very itchy. That's normally a sign for me to get the scissors out and trim it. The same for facial hair. But now I think about it, it is not the same for his armpits and legs. Hmm <merits further investigation>.

Style-wise, people can do what they like of course HellonHeels. THe problem is plenty of people feel they have to shave when they just don't want to - they can't do what they like because of social pressure.

squoosh Fri 09-Aug-13 12:35:24

Of course hair gets smelly if it isn't washed, the only people who say otherwise are those who don't wash their hair.

SoniaGluck Fri 09-Aug-13 12:46:04

TheSunTheMoon What you said about your colleague is very interesting.

There is a theory, isn't there, that what you eat affects how much you smell when you sweat?

"Meat sweat" is quite a well known phenomenon, i.e. you smell more strongly if your diet is high in meat. I have had this at Christmas sometimes; generally a period of several days when I tend to eat far more meat than normal.

I eat sprouted fenugreek from time to time. The resulting sweat smell is akin to maple syrup, not unpleasant, and lasts 24 hours or so.

I think there may be something in the idea that diet affects how strongly you smell due to my exhaustive experimentation smile

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 12:55:04

Tis true about the eating/smelling connection. I worked with some Chinese in a small and very hot lab. They had a really horrid smell which I mentioned to my friend who had worked in China. He had done the reverse - worked in a small hot lab in China - and his co-workers had complained about HIS smell. Apparently, us westerners smell of rotten milk envy. Must be all the dairy we eat.

SoniaGluck Fri 09-Aug-13 12:59:48

Yes, I have heard of the 'westerners smelling of sour milk' thing before. I think that I must have read it somewhere but I can't remember who was saying it or the context.

HellonHeels Fri 09-Aug-13 13:12:24

My hair gets smelly if I don't wash it. If I leave it for a few days (or more) the colour of the water when I do wash it certainly suggests it gets dirty grin

Perhaps plenty of people also wash/style/cut/product their head hair when they don't want to because of social pressures. I imagine that's certainly true of colouring hair for women who are greying. I've seen quite a few 'reclaim the grey' type threads on MN.

But to come back to the OP's question, do we therefore owe it to our children not to colour/wash/style our head hair?

Garlic is my problem. If I eat more than a certain amount, the result is garlic smelling sweat/skin. Mum is the same, and DS is markedly so. I put him in the bath after a meal containing garlic once, and the warm water made the whole bathroom stink of garlic grin.

Of course, he's 9 years old, so he thinks this is hilarious, same as poo and fart jokes, etc hmm

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 13:23:22

Hmmm, should we encourage hippy natural styles? I'm not sure this is the same as not shaving. Dyeing hair punky colours is an expression of sorts. As are various hair styles. Just as I might choose to wear DMs or Gucci.

But covering grey would be a similar thing to shaving I suppose - with a whole lot more judgement about not shaving than not dyeing grey hair. Grey haired people are not pointed at and whispered about - they aren't embarrassed to go into a pub, or on a bus or to the beach - I wouldn't be embarrassed to teach teenagers with grey hair but would be if I had hairy legs.

It is possibly akin to bf <hides under something flame-proof> something that for a long time we weren't accustomed to seeing everyday in the open, then we made a fuss about it for while and now, of course, we accept it as being natural and normal.

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 13:24:30

Your DS sounds like my DH Fry hmm <sympathises>

Well, we get it from mum. I once went to her house and the whole place stank of garlic. Turns out she too had eaten a lot of the stuff, and went for a hot bath...... Whiffy!

Going back to the OP though, DD is 13 and is beginning to remove her armpit hair because she is finding it uncomfortable to have there.

I have brought her up top realise that removing hair is a personal choice, that it's totally up to her what she chooses to do.

I dye my hair, but then I've had a significant amount of grey hair since I was 23. Once the very back is also white I'll be letting it all grow out white.

It's all about choices. And as long as DD isn't feeling pressured in her choices then I'll be happy that she's making her own choices.

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 14:47:42

Not the garlic the fart jokes. DH is inculcating DS into his fart cult.

garlicagain Fri 09-Aug-13 15:00:19

Perhaps there should be a case made for letting head hair go feral?
hair gets smelly if it isn't washed, the only people who say otherwise are those who don't wash their hair.

Heh! I didn't wash my hair for two years once - a whole bunch of us tried it. It works! The first six weeks or so, though, were minging. You have to keep brushing it to distribute your own oils through the hair: we all got horrid, greasy, fishy-whiffing locks. Most of us were smokers, which made things worse. BUT ... ! The transformation was sudden. End of week six, the smell had gone to be replaced by a nice 'hair smell' (think toddler hair); our locks were full, glossy, bouncy, and generally everything the makers of hair products promise with their "naturally healthy hair". Added to which, non-smokers kept telling me my hair didn't smell like a smoker's!

"Garlic is my problem" - Couldn't let that pass without a grin, FOFM.

theodorakisses Fri 09-Aug-13 16:23:30

I may have not agreed with the thread initially but I do agree about deodorant and shampoo. When I used to be a nurse we used to administer drugs such as hrt through the skin, my pcos has improved since using natural shampoo, conditioner and bath stuff. I was introduced to this viaMN. Wouldn't not wash though, when district nursing saw people suffering from that too, but I do agree that anything I do every day (except wearing a bra but that is another thread) will have an affect on my physiology. Some of them, like drinking smoking and eating, I enjoy but the others that are just day to day DO make a difference and do not reduce my fun or enjoyment of life.

Despite having a problem with garlic, we certainly eat enough to scare away the vampires grin

Meanwhile, I can't let my hair go more than 3 days without washing. It's not really the hair, but the scalp. I have psoriasis on the scalp and the itching is dreadful if I let it go too long without washing. I now use shampoo and conditioner without all the chemicals like SLS, etc, and it's really made a difference.

Same with body products. I use stuff as natural and gentle as possible and I get clean without all the dry, sensitive skin I had previously.

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