I have been neglecting my baby, The Embiggens Projects, as of late, so I have decided to try an experiment. I am going to see if I can examine a new topic every day, instead of intermittently tackling three. Bear with me. Each day will be very different from the previous one. Don’t ask me why, but I have decided to kick this new idea off with armpit hair. It’s something we all have, but rarely talk about. So, here is my diatribe dedicated to the follicles that try to live in the pit at the base of my arm.
In case you haven’t heard–which I hadn’t, but I live under a rather large slab of granite–women have taken to growing out their underarm hair for charity. Yes, men have movember. And women have Armpits4August. Yes, luxurious locks are sprouting under an arm near you in support of the little known condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). One of the symptoms of this disease is excessive hair growth.
The Great Underarm Campaign:
North American women have only been shaving their armpits en masse for about 100 years. Yup, Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet, Catherine Earnshaw, and all of our other favorite literary heroines likely had armpits like brillo pads. And they probably smelled like horse.
In 1915, Harper’s Bazaar featured a shocking photo of a woman wearing a sleeveless dress that revealed a smooth and silky underarm. This was followed by an advertising campaign by Wilkinson Sword to convince women that it was non-hygienic to have hairy pits. I’m sure that sword sales were waning. The sales of razor blades doubled in less than two years as women become self-conscious of having manly underarms–heaven forbid. I wonder when mass-produced deodorant came onto the market?
“Mum” was the word and Pens saved our armpits:
So, mystery solved. The first deodorant was invented in 1888 and was called, Mum. Strange name. In the 1940’s an intelligent woman–is there any other kind?–joined the team and stole the roller-ball idea from the production of pens to create a roll-on. This deodorant was called Ban. Who knew?
Well, now you know a wee bit more about your armpits and the hairs that call them home.
Do you think long armpit hair on women is natural, sexy, or does it send you screaming in the opposite direction? Inquiring minds want to know.
And, in case you want to read more riveting armpit facts, here are some fellow Wordpressers that have something to say on the topic.
A Kaur’s Thoughts: http://kaurthoughts.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/part-1-to-shave-or-not-to-shave-a-history-of-shaving/
…Said the Blind Man http://semiblind.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/smooth/
Tanya’s Armpits4August 2013 http://tanyasarmpits4august2013.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/almost-there-all-the-hair/Images: arm pit hair (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2404374/Armpits4August-Did-YOU-grow-underarm-hair-charity-These-women-did-.html), Harper’s Bazaar (http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2008/05/24/anxiety-about-objectionable-hair-money-in-someones-pocket), BAN (http://www.flickriver.com/photos/roadsidepictures/7640666640/), 1933 device (http://www.the-beheld.com/2012/04/conundrum-of-body-hair.html), laser “hare” removal (www.cartoonstock.com), deodorant misfits (http://fuffer.wordpress.com/2007/12/05/shipwrecked/), octopus (http://www.toonpool.com/cartoons/deodorant_194243). https://plus.google.com/117290101799547312394/posts
when i first saw this I thought it might be a topic for Kim’s editorial for the local paper…
Hehe. Too funny!
My Lord, this was hilarious!
Thank you. Ironically, I just finished posting a comment on your blog. You are a comic genius.
Good Lord who would have thought so much thought was put into armpit hair back in the day! Brilliant 99 Red Balloons!
Thanks Ginger! I found it a tad bit discomfiting that it was started by a sword company. How bloody long did the early 19th century’s armpit hairs grow? I keep picturing someone scything their way through it like jungle weeds.
Must have plaited it I s’pose
Im busy, im studying, im tired and yet here I am reading about armpit hair! What is wrong with me?
Armpit hair is oddly compelling. It’s gross, yet riveting at the same time.