This year I am taking part in Armpits 4 August.
Armpits 4 August is like a feminist answer to Movember. The idea is that anyone who self-identifies as a woman (whether cis or trans) can take part by growing their armpit hair for the month of August. As with Movember, the goal is to raise money for charity, and raise awareness of an illness that is rarely talked about. Armpits 4 August’s chosen charity is Verity, who are the UK charity for people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
I first heard about Armpits 4 August a few months ago, via social media. As a relatively newly-found feminist, I was intrigued, and decided to read more. I had never even heard of PCOS before, and I think that that alone is enough reason to take part. According to their website, approximately 10% of women suffer from PCOS, and yet I didn’t even know it existed!
A big part of events like Armpits 4 August are not only raising money, but also raising awareness. There’s lots of helpful information about PCOS on the Armpits 4 August website here.
But Armpits 4 August is an important event, not just for people with PCOS, but for everyone. The amount of misogyny levelled at women (or those perceived as such) on a daily basis is simply staggering, as shown by the Everyday Sexism project.
A fairly major part of this sexism revolves around societal standards of ‘beauty’. From a startlingly young age, girls are taught that they will start to grow more body hair around the age of 12, or whenever puberty decides to strike, but that this is disgusting and they should shave it off as soon as it begins to grow! Combined with fat-shaming, and all the other body-shaming tactics that the media and society churn out, women are constantly bombarded with images and ideas of how they ‘should’ look. This unrelenting pressure to look and act a certain way, this idea that a woman’s body is not even her own, is damaging beyond belief.
Well, I’ve got news for you. It’s MY body. There is nothing disgusting or shameful about having body hair, or spots, or blemishes, or not wearing makeup, or not having perfectly coiffed hair, or not wearing high heels. If I want to shave, or wear makeup, or do any of those things, then I will, but it is my choice, not anyone else’s.
So, this year, I am taking a stand, and taking part. I have been growing my body hair for a few months now, partly in preparation for Armpits 4 August. I have decided to keep my existing pit hair, instead of shaving it off and starting over, as I intend to try dying it, and wanted to make sure the hair would be long enough!
If you would like to sponsor me, you can do so here. Anything you can give would be very much appreciated.
Alternatively you can visit the main Armpits 4 August justgiving page.
If you would like to find out more about the charity Verity itself, please check out their website.